By Cassandra Balentine
Part 2 of 2
Digitally printed wallcoverings are increasingly popular as consumers want to customize décor. There are two primary methods for installing these graphics. In part one of this series we focused on peel and stick. In part two we look at the more traditional pasting method.
When it comes to installing pasted wallcoverings, whether a separate paste applied to the wall and paper or the ‘spray-and-up’ variety, Jay Kroll, product management, cut, transit & wall solutions, General Formulations, says it requires a bit more control and expertise to successfully install. “There are more tools, more setup, and significantly more cleanup with these materials versus their peel-and-stick counterpart.”
Roy S. Ritchie Jr., president, Dreamscape, points out that pasted wallcoverings are not difficult for people willing to do a little research, watch a video, come up with a plan, and use a little patience. “When you consider the actual skills required to do pasted versus self adhesive, they are probably equal in terms of difficulty level, but many times self-adhesive applications are smaller, more temporary, and less critical,” he asserts.
“I would never recommend a first time installer to take on a high-profile job, or a large job where failures could be too costly,” admits Ritchie Jr. “Much like any skill, it’s all about a few simple techniques and building some confidence. One flat wall is usually very easy, but add in multiple door frames and windows and now you need more advanced cutting techniques.”
In some regards, Michele Pistone, marketing manager, Neenah, feels that pasted wall paper is easier than self-adhesive media. “Using a high-quality paste allows for maneuverability once on the wall to aid in proper placement. Most other aspects of pasted wallcovering are more complex and certainly more messy than self adhesive,” she offers.
Pistone notes that while a confident, adventurous DIYer can successfully install pasted wallcoverings, it is important to weigh the effort and mess versus hiring a professional. The items to consider are the need to purchase and manage gallons of paste, rollers, and troughs. Additionally, most commercial pasted wall panels are 48 inches or wider making the project more challenging for those with shorter wing spans. “The last area that is more challenging than sel adhesives are the seams and edges. Paste wallcovering is often thicker, which means trimming and seams are more critical. For anyone that wants the challenge and to learn a new skill, it’s a fun project. If you are just looking for a simple means to add a new exciting element to your home, spare the supply expense and hire a professional.”
Pasted wallcoverings are typically used on a new wall that only has a primer on it. Michael Aldrich, product manager, FDC Graphic Films, Inc., says the paste will help with positioning the material giving some flexibility and allowing the material to float on the wall until it’s where it needs to be. Squeegee it in place once lined up to where it needs to be.
Because pasted wallcoverings tend to be more permanent than peel and stick, Pistone suggests selecting a material you will want for many years. “This means it should be beautiful and uniquely you, while at the same time being safe, PVC free, and easily maintained.”
She also suggests choosing a high-quality paste/wallpaper glue and buying more than you think you need.
Use high-quality absorbent rollers to apply paste evenly to the back of the panel and the wall.
“Take your time and position the panels perfectly. Use a damp sponge to smooth the wallpaper as you install. Carefully work your seams. I have always utilized the undercut method of applying the next panel overlapping the first and using the straight edge of the panel cutting the underlying panel and dropping the following panel into place making a smooth seam. You can use a hard roller or rolling pin to stretch the paper to fill any gaps up until the glue is hardened,” explains Pistone.
For high-value wallcovering jobs it may be smart to partner with an installation professional. However, it is a skill that can be learned and mastered. This is true for both peel and stick and pasted installations.
“Depending upon the product, a novice could install with a few simple directions and general understanding. If installing wallpaper in a large commercial space, an experienced install would be recommended simply for the level of difficulty in such a large-scale project,” adds Amanda Lowe, director of marketing, Drytac.
Whether or not to partner on installation depends a little on the size of the job, but mostly on the quality of finished product you hope to see. “If you’re wrapping a single wall in your bedroom at home, I would give it a shot and try installing on my own. For a large corporate job, I would partner with an experienced installer for the peace of mind knowing that I have a qualified professional on my team to make my graphics and print work look its very best,” offers Kroll.
Joey Heiob, technical service representative, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, agrees, pointing out that the experience of the installer depends largely on the type and complexity of the application. “For interior wallcovering installations that cover a significant amount of wall space and numerous surfaces, an experienced installer is recommended. This is because when installers do large interior wallcoverings, there are typically going to be multiple panels involved ,which means they will have to seam the panels. The recommended overlap seam width is one-inch. When working with textured films, the use of either adhesive promoter or banner hem tape is required to provide extra hold for those types of film seams. An experienced installer will understand the level and attention to detail these large-scale installations require.”
If you’re looking to get started, Ritchie Jr. says there are many videos online to help guide step by step on how to install commercial wallcoverings. “When a client asks me if they can do it themselves, I always advise ‘yes,’ but recommend hiring a professional for the first job so they can observe the process and then apply it themselves in the future.”
However, Ritchie Jr. says if the install is for a commercial application like a restaurant or retail space, it is well worth hiring a professional.
“Using a professional really is determinate upon what you are looking to get out of your home upgrade. If you will enjoy the project and the reward at the end it’s a great project to take on,” comments Pistone. “If your only goal is a beautiful new wall and you are dreading the install, hire a professional. There are a wealth of professional installers that will do a fantastic job of your install. In the peel-and-stick space, many vehicle wrap installers will do home walls. Pasted walls can be done by many contractors and wallpaper experts and there is a wallpaper association that is a great resource as well.”
“If someone has no experience in full wall applications I would recommend getting training on wall applications or having someone experienced in wall applications help do the first one or two installs,” notes Aldrich.
Wallcoverings are gaining popularity in the décor space, even amongst amateur DIYers. Depending on the media, application, and environment one can determine whether or not to install it on your own or bring in the help of a professional.
Read part one, Mastering Peel and Stick.
Dec2022, DPS Magazine