Should I wallpaper myself?
Here’s what you need to know before attempting to hang wallpaper yourself, from equipment, budget, pros and cons – what to expect with a DIY Wallpapering project!
Whether you’ve just moved into your beautiful new home, or looking to update your living space, office area, or maybe even your snug or children’s den, you may be considering the pros and cons of DIY or employing a decorator skilled in the art of wallpaper hanging.
Before we delve deeper, let’s start by taking a look at the brief answer as to whether you should try your hand at wallpaper hanging or if you should employ the expertise of a professional decorating practitioner.
Pros and Cons of DIY Wallpapering!
It can be cheaper to complete a DIY wallpapering project, but you will ideally need the right tools and experience. A trained professional wallpaper hanger will have the skills, professional-quality tools and equipment, along with experience to be able to offer the latest design assistance.
Now that we’ve given you the definitive answer as to whether you should be donning your overalls, ladders and a pasting brush or to sit back and let a master decorator bring his specialist skills to your wallpapering project, let’s start by looking at the pros of hitting the DIY store.
Pros of DIY decorating
Decorating your home can be a daunting task, and many of us prefer hiring an interior wallpaper specialist despite any potential budget constraints.
So let’s begin by looking at why some people decide to take on this task themselves.
Bring your own ideas
Having the creative freedom to implement your own ideas when decorating your home interiors yourself is a plus. You can convert waste, upcycle old pieces, and reinvent flea market finds into useful and decorative items reflecting your tastes.
DIY interior designing and decorating means you can personalize your home interiors in a way only you can!
Renovate in stages
Decorating your spaces yourself does give you total control over your budget. For instance, you may need to budget on certain projects in stages that fit better with any financial constraints.
Any results from your hard work will truly reflect your personal taste, and you’ll be able to take full credit for them.
Obviously, if you’re planning a DIY wallpapering project, you’ll not have to pay out for professional services and Labour. So a budget can form a part of the pros list for doing it yourself. As long as the time, costs, and final results stack up then the project is a good idea.
Let’s look at what those are . . .
Where possible, provide your best guess. Or, calculate the number of hours the job is likely to take you. This will give you some idea of labour costs – how much are you worth per hour? And what’s the total?
Once you have that, plus the costs below, that should enable you to compare the DIY costs against the cost of hiring a professional.
Don’t forget to add in the time you’ve spent planning the project and the time spent shopping for the supplies!
If you don’t have the necessary tools already, then you’ll need a budget for that too. You’ll need a budget for tool you If you plan on pasting the wallpaper yourself, then you’ll need something like the following shopping list of tools, should you decide to wallpaper yourself.
- Your chosen wallpaper
- Lining paper
- Filler to fill any cracks and holes
- Filling knife
- Wallpaper paste
- Wallpaper paste brush and/or roller
- Wallpaper pasting table
- A bucket of water and clean cloth/sponge
- Floor covering and painters tape
- Knife or sharp blade
- Plumb bob
- Tape measure and pencil
- Smoothing brush or plastic smoother
- Steps or ladders
Unless you have them already, shop around for these tools. Once you have your purchase list, add that cost to the labour cost.
As well as labour and tools, in any DIY project there are almost always incidental costs – you need more filler, that extra wallpaper roll – or another brush. So add in some contingency budget to cover potential incidental costs.
What if, two rolls into the project, you decide you’re maybe not that good at it after all? This is where the realization that there is already a budget spent on the job, and you might then also have to employ a professional.
So now you have to put what you’ve spent so far into the “sunk cost” pile, and give someone like me a call so we can make it look perfect for you.
We’ve seen some of the budgetary reasons that you might decide to take on the job of wallpapering yourself. If you’re happy that the numbers add up to make it worthwhile, let’s look at some of the basics you’ll need to cover in order to paper like a pro!
Begin by looking at why some people decide to take on this task themselves.
How to wallpaper like a pro
While beginning to learn how to wallpaper a room, you need to invest in the right tools – see above for our go to list.
First, you need to make sure that the surface is totally clean. If the wall has been papered before, it’s essential that you remove all traces of the old paper.
Ensure you fill all cracks and holes with filler before starting to roll out your new wallpaper for hanging.
Top Tip: Using a paint roller instead of a brush to apply your wallpaper paste is more efficient and wastes less paste.
Where do I start?
Prior to removing wallpaper, it’s important to protect the other surfaces in the room from the water you’ll be using during the process.
Be sure to use painter’s tape to completely cover top edge of the skirting boards and I always recommend using polythene cover sheet on the floor to protect your floor surfaces.
How do I remove old wallpaper?
One of the chief considerations when hanging wallpaper is making sure you prepare your surface immaculately. Hopefully, if the previous wallpaper had been hung with the correct type of primer and paste, the old wallpaper should be removed quite easily.
- Remove by hand: In some cases, your old wallpaper might already be starting to pull free of the walls. You can start the process by trying to remove the wallpaper by hand without any water.
- Spray the paper: Warm water will help separate the paper from the wall. Any generic spray bottle will do, but a vacuum garden sprayer might speed up the process. In tough cases, a steamer will work best
- Start scraping: After letting the water soak in for a few minutes, you can start to scrape off the paper. Use a scraper to gently strip the wallpaper, either left-to-right or up-and-down.
- Only remove one layer at a time: If you find another layer of wallpaper, finish the first layer and then move on to the second—you can only remove one layer at a time without causing damage.
- Be careful not to scratch your walls: This can cause problems with the finish of your finished wall
Okay, we’ve seen some of the pros of DIY wallpapering and given some tips on how to get a professional finish. Let’s look at some of the reasons you may decide to employ a master craftsman to complete your wallpaper project.
There are often many more steps involved in giving a professional wallpaper finish, especially when removing any existing wallpaper. Any damage to exposed plasterboard seams, for example, will need professional attention.
Some projects may also require different steps …depending on the type of wallpaper and the method originally used to install it. Will steam be required, or special chemicals? Can the wall be peeled or will it have to be scored and scraped? Will the wall have to be sealed before skimming and texture?
“Any damage to exposed plasterboard seams, for example, will need professional attention.”
Lack of the right tools and equipment
Rather than buying outright all the necessary tools and equipment to do a one time only job, it makes sense to utilise the cost absorption of employing an expert who will already have the necessary equipment. In fact, they will have more of the right equipment, that’s probably better quality too . . .
Often the equipment sold in DIY stores will not be of professional quality and will affect the overall finish of the project. The cheaper ‘home’ use wallpapering equipment will also not be a quality product and will not give a professional finish or last as long as those which an expert wallpaper hanger will have in his kit.
Lack of professional assistance
As part of a professional decorator package, you will also have expert assistance included.
He will also be able to help with using the right kinds of paper for your projects.
Risk of wall damage
Attempting to remove layers of wallpaper on your own might result in serious wall damage. This could result in spending more time and money on putting things right. Not to mention the poor finish that is achieved in damaged walls.
Hiring experts means you can ensure the job gets done right the first time with minimal damage done to the walls. A professional wallpaper hanger will fix this damage as part of their service.
“Attempting to remove layers of wallpaper on your own might result in serious wall damage.”
We touched on this earlier when making your budget, but while that might seem like it belongs on the “Pros” list, it can also be on the “Cons” side.
Perhaps one of the most convenient reasons to hire professionals for home improvement projects including wallpaper hanging is that it will save you precious time.
Weekends and evenings are often spent tackling tricky jobs, hitting difficulties, or having to make trips out to DIY stores in order to get your project finished. Make the calculations on this as best you can.
I hope this article has helped you to explore the pros and cons of either tackling a wallpaper project yourself or making the decision to hire a master wallpaper hanger in order to free up your precious downtime to spend with your family and friends while taking advantage of the expert knowledge of employing a professional to complete your wallpaper project.
If you’d like any more information or would like to book a consultation, please do get in contact with me and I’ll be more than happy to help you with your interior decorating journey – whether you’ve started your project already or not!