Paperhanging Tools and Equipment

As for painting, there are 2 distinct groups of tools, equipment and materials to deal with wall coverings.

Stripping tools

The basic: technique for removing an old wall covering is to soften the paste used to stick it to the wall so that it can be scraped off and discarded. To strip porous materials such as ordinary printed paper and the hacking paper left behind after dry-stripping vinyl wall covering, use a bucket of water and a sponge or a garden spray gun to apply the water, dust sheets (drop cloths) to protect floor coverings, and abroad-bladed scraping knife to remove the softened paper.

To remove wall coverings with a water-resistant plastic or painted surface, it is necessary to pierce the surface film and so allow the water to penetrate. This can be done with a serrated wallpaper scraper or preferably a toothed roller or wheel, which is rolled backwards and forwards over the surface to create hundreds of little perforations. The water will take longer to penetrate this type of wall covering.

Stripping can be sped up dramatically on coated wall coverings(and also on paper-backed fabrics and texture paints) by using a steam stripper. This consists of a perforated steaming plate and a water reservoir heated by electricity or bottled gas. Steam penetrates the surface far more quickly than water does, enabling the covering to he stripped more quickly and effectively.

Paperhanging tools

‘There are 4 separate operations involved in hanging a new wall

covering: earring to length, pasting, hanging and trimming.

For cutting, the tools are a retractable steel tape measure, a pencil and a pair of scissors (or a sharp utility knife and a steel straight-edge).

For pasting the wall covering, there should be a bucket in which to mix the paste (unless using ready-mixed tub paste), plus a stirrer and a brush with which to apply the paste. A standard10 cm/4 in wide paintbrush is usually satisfactory, but special pasting brushes can be bought.

When choosing the paste, follow the instructions for the wall covering concerned. In particular, remember that a paste containing a fungicide should he used for washable and vinyl coverings, to prevent mold from growing in the paste as it slowly dries under the impervious covering.

A special overlap adhesive is needed for lap joints in internal and external corners when using washables or vinyls.

All that is needed when hanging a ready-pasted wall covering is a large plastic soaking trough in which you can immerse the rolled-up lengths of wall covering.

Before starting hanging, a plumb bob and line are needed to mark it true vertical line on the wall against which to hang the first length.

Most wall coverings are applied with a special soft-bristled paperhanging brush. These are generally between 19 cm/71/2 in and 25 cm/10 in wide, and have a slim handle. The soft bristles help to make the wall covering follow the contours of the wall surface beneath, and also eliminate undue hand contact with the lace of the covering, which might mark it.

A sponge can be used instead of a brush for hanging washables or vinyls, especially if they are ready-pasted, since here the sponge helps to mop water from the surface of the wall covering as well as smoothing it into place.

The final stage is trimming, and the best tool for this is a special pair of paperhangers’ scissors. These have blades up to 30 cm/12 in long for making long, straight curs.

For papering walls, a stepladder is needed which should be tall enough to enable the ceiling to he easily touched. For papering ceilings, set up a proper platform across the width of the room at a comfortable  height, using scaffold boards or staging on trestles or other low supports to ensure complete stability. Do not step trout chair to chair or set up similar dangerous makeshift arrangements.

A flat surf tee is needed to lay the paper on while it is being pasted. It is best to use a proper pasting table. This is a lightweight folding table covered in hardwood or plywood on a softwood Mime, and is usually about 1.8 m/6 ft long and just wider than a standard roll of wall covering. If you cannot buy, borrow or hire a pasting table, one can be improvised by cutting a standard sheet of plywood or chipboard (particleboard) down to the same width and supporting it on trestles or sawhorses.