How to apply wallpaper to newly-plastered walls

Giving your home a brand new look is exciting, but in your haste have you considered whether or not your plaster is ready to accommodate your wallpaper?

If you fail to give the plaster enough time to dry, you could have major problems further down the line. That being said, plastering methods have evolved over the years, and it’s easy for homeowners to be fed false or outdated information. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always have to wait ages for your plaster to be ready. Read on and you’ll find out why.

The art of plastering has been around for thousands of years and it’s thought that the famous Egyptian pyramids display evidence of this decorating process.

As we’ve already alluded to, things have changed and it would be foolish for homeowners to think that there’s one single generic way to hang wallpaper on new plaster. Much depends on the thickness of your plaster. In the past, you’d expect your plasterwork to be around an inch thick, so it could take weeks, if not months, to dry.

In older homes in particular, you will find that thicker plaster dries in stages and this is where many decorators come unstuck. Just because the top layer of the plaster looks and feels dry, it doesn’t mean that the layers underneath are ready to go.

Moisture can continue to seep through, and you could be left with peeling or bubbled wallpaper, or even mould. This is not a good look!

However, it’s now far more common for walls to be “skimmed”, rather than coated in an inch-thick layer of plaster. If this is the case, the plaster will dry out far more quickly - maybe in a matter of days - so you can get cracking with your decorating project sooner than you may have thought. If you’ve done the plastering yourself, check the instructions on the product you’ve used to see how long it will take to dry. Don’t be tempted to speed up the process by putting your heating on high or standing next to the wall with a hair dryer. Plaster that dries at different temperatures is prone to cracking, so be patient and let it dry out naturally!

Sizing your walls

This is a quick, easy and extremely important step that many homeowners forget about. You should coat your walls in a sizing solution, which essentially acts as a barrier to ensure your wallpaper paste isn’t absorbed by the plaster.

You can easily make the watered-down paste mixture yourself (check the instructions on the packet). This seals your new plaster and allows for sufficient manoeuvrability when you come to position your wallpaper, which is particularly handy for traditional wallpapers that require you to paste each sheet before hanging.

Once you’re sure your plaster has completely dried (little signs such as condensation on your windows will help you determine when it is ready to go) and you’ve sized your walls, you can finally get down to the fun part - giving your room the perfect look.

Graham & Brown’s wallcoverings - especially from our Superfresco Easy range - are thick and made to last, making them ideal for covering up any blemishes in your walls.

Superfresco Easy is designed to be as durable as possible and is also easy to apply, with users pasting the wall rather than the paper itself. This cuts your decorating time in half. It’s also far easier to remove than traditional wallpaper, which is handy if you decide to go for a new look in a few years’ time.

Don’t just assume that you cannot touch your walls for months after they have been plastered. Times have changed!