These are some of the most frequently asked questions that Eastern Massachusetts wallcovering installer Bill Archibald is asked on a regular basis. If you do not see what concerns you as you prepare to contract Bill to hang wallpaper in your Mass. home, please do not hesitate to contact him. It would be considerate of Bill's busy schedule if inquiries were limited to those who are in a position to seriously consider Bill as your paperhanger in your Massachusetts home:
How much paper should we buy?
Bill will come to your house, measure, and record pertinent information about the paper. He will then calculate and send you costs for installation and amount of wallpaper needed. It is strongly recommended NOT to order any paper until Bill has provided you with an accurate roll count
What information about paper does Bill need to estimate
Roll width, roll length, pattern repeat, pattern match (drop or straight), type of paper, and if there is a selvedge that needs trimming.. Knowing the manufacturer and the pattern number would be very helpful
What if we have not chosen a pattern yet?
Bill will be more than happy to take measurements and wait until you have all necessary information.
Different wallpaper sizes? What’s with that?
There are no industry standards. For residential goods, the most common widths are 20.5”, 27”, and 36”. Some papers are priced by the single roll (lengths of 5.5 yds , 4.5 yds, 4yds, 3.1 yds) but are packaged and sold by the double roll or even triple roll. Some papers are priced and packed by the bolt of lengths 11yd, 9 yd, 8 yd, or 6.3 yd bolt. And some are priced by the yard.
This is very confusing, how do I prevent an ordering error?
When he has all the necessary information, Bill’s estimate will spell out clearly what you need to order.
Selvedge, what is that?
Selvedge is unprinted excess area on the sides of wallpaper that needs to be trimmed. Some wallpapers are already factory trimmed, but many screen prints are shipped with the selvedge still on. Bill trims this by hand for the best pattern match.
Paper is here or paper is already ordered, does Bill need to measure?
Yes, to make sure there is enough. Sometimes people use quick wallpaper calculators which are not always accurate.
Calculators wrong? Why?
Most quick calculations are based on square foot figures. Bill uses the “strip count” method. His formulas figure out how many strips a room needs, how many strips can be cut from each bolt, and then how many rolls are needed.
What if we have already ordered too little?
More will need to be obtained from the same run or dye lot.
What if we have too much?
Better too much than too little. Also, it never hurts to have an extra bolt on hand to repair possible future damage.
Damage? Bill can repair wallpaper damage?
At least once a year, Bill replaces damaged wallpaper. The most common is water damage, either from human error or mother nature. Door knob holes are also common. And the most unique instance was a bathtub that got away from the remodelers and slid down the stairs into a wall (no one was injured, so we can laugh). Please do not attempt any repairs with glue, mending tape, or staples. Call a professional wallpaper hanger like Bill Archibald
Cost to hang per roll? We know approximately how many rolls we need, can he tell us how much it would cost to hang?
Unfortunately not. Wallpaper hanging is not priced by the roll. There are different size rolls and too many architectural variables to consider. It would be like asking a painter, "how much do you charge per can of paint".
Can Bill give a "ballpark" estimate ?
Sure, usually very rough figures for labor and number of rolls can be generated quickly, but they should NOT be considered accurate. It is STRONGLY recommended that no paper be ordered until he provides an accurate final estimate.
Is Bill’s estimate free?
Does Bill sell wallpaper?
No. In the “old days” it was common for paperhangers to carry a few books and offer that convenience. That is no longer possible with all the costs and variety of papers there are today.
Buying paper. Where should we buy wallpaper?
For the personal touch and help, visit your local paint and/or wallpaper store. Most have dedicated personal that know their collections and can help you find something within your taste and price range. If you want to go the inexpensive route, but also the time consuming route, there are many online wallpaper sellers. But you will need to order a sample from them to see the real color and size of the pattern. I will plead with everyone NOT to borrow books from a brick & mortar shop, and then order online at a cheaper price. The stores are forced to buy the sample books, they are expensive ($75 average). The store has invested money, time, personal, and shelf space for the wallpaper books. This is their income producing resource. Many wallpaper stores are out of business because their books and personal were used and no orders were made.
Pre-pasted vs unpasted wallpaper, should we look at pre-pasted or unpasted paper?
It doesn’t matter. Buy the paper for it’s pattern and how it suits your taste. Hiring a professional wallpaper hanger like Bill Archibald removes those concerns for you.
Stripping old paper. Does Bill strip existing paper.
Yes. He will need to test a small area to determine the ease or difficulty in order to provide an accurate estimate.
Balance. I see this word on this site, what does it mean?
Many patterns have strong distinct elements. A wide blue and white stripe is good example. A wallpaper installation looks best when the same color stripe is at each corner. If there is a fire place or a window in the middle of a focal wall, it is best to have the same stripe at either edge of the fire place or window. Some papers will “panalize”, like grasscloth, where each panel will, by nature, always be noticeable. Bill will do all he can to cut each strip on a wall of equal widths. There will always exceptions depending on many variables, but Bill Archibald is forever mindful of the question of balance.
Paneling, can wallpaper be hung over wood paneling, brick, cinder block, or other rough surfaces?
Yes and no. In order to achieve a smooth surface of the final installation, something will need to be done. There is no one answer that solves each scenario. There is a liner called “bridging liner” that will bridge some holes, gaps, and panel seams, but not all. It would be best to have Bill look at the particular situation .
Painting. Does Bill paint?
Not any more. He has dedicated himself to doing one craft well, wallpaper hanging
Paint, should we paint before or after the wallpaper is hung.
Before. The best sequence is to strip any old paper, repair any wall damage, paint all surfaces needing paint, and then hang wallpaper. Where the walls meet a surface to be painted, the paint should come over on the walls a little and be brushed out.
Wall Prep. How should the walls be prepared for wallpaper?
Please read Bill’s Article “Wall Preparation” on how new and previously painted walls should be prepared before wallpaper is installed
Wall Size? Is it necessary to size the walls
Please read Bill’s article “Wall Size, what’s it all about”. It explains the difference in “glue size” and modern wallpaper “prep coat”
Liner, what is wallpaper liner and do we need it?
Some papers recommend the use of a blankstock liner. The choice and responsibility is all yours, but please read Bill’s article, “Why a liner?” before deciding
Hang new paper over old, will Bill hang our new paper directly over the existing wallpaper?
Bill discusses this subject in his article, “Can't You Hang New Wallpaper Over Old Paper ?”
Grasscloth, is there anything special about it’s installation?
Back in the 70’s, Bill learned some invaluable lessons about installing grasscloth, please read his “Grasscloth Lessons from The Mother”