Lining Paper FAQs: All Your Questions Answered

Depending on the state of your walls, lining paper is an important or even essential step in the renovation process. But like any home improvement product, it comes with a range of questions. How does it work? What benefits does it have? What are the different types?

Whatever your query, we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about lining paper.

What is lining paper and what is it used for?

If you’re still wondering what lining paper is and what it is used for, let’s start at the beginning. Lining paper (sometimes called wallpaper liner) is a wall covering that’s designed to prepare your wall for decoration, prior to applying your chosen wallpaper or paint.

There are many benefits of lining paper. Its main use is to mask any imperfections on your wall beneath, in order to create a smooth canvas that looks perfect when fully decorated. A great side-effect is that it also increases your energy-efficiency. By creating an extra layer beneath your wallpaper, it helps trap heat, effectively boosting the thermal and sound insulation of your home.  

Lining paper can also be used to hide damage on your ceiling. From hairline cracks to crumbling plaster, it will hide any wear and tear and make it much easier to paint or paper. However, make sure the damage is just surface level – you don’t want to ignore structural damage that could get worse over time!

What are the different types of lining paper?

The two main types of lining paper are conventional lining paper and paste-the-wall lining paper.

Conventional lining paper

Put simply, conventional lining paper is made of pure paper. When it comes into contact with the adhesive, it will expand because it gets wet and then shrink when it dries. Because of this, it has to be soaked with the adhesive for a recommended amount of time before being hung on the walls.

Failure to carry out this step, or do it for the right amount of time, will result in bubbles, lifting of the paper at the seams and a bad finish.

Paste-the-wall lining paper

In contrast, paste-the-wall lining paper has added textile fibres. This makes it a much tougher and more resistant product. The main benefit of paste-the-wall versus conventional lining paper is how quick and easy it is to apply.

Simply paste the adhesive directly onto the walls then put the paper straight onto them. It’s dimensionally stable, so it won’t expand or shrink. That means a better result, which is free of bubbles and lifting.

It’s worth noting that pasting the wall is only an option with paste-the-wall lining paper and not conventional lining paper. Many have tried applying adhesive to the wall before applying conventional lining paper, and it’s fair to say the results are disastrous.

Which is best for me?

Conventional lining paper has been used by decorators for years, in many cases with great results. That said, the clear advantages of paste-the-wall lining paper can’t be denied.

The best option for you depends on your decorating experience and ability, as well as how much time you want to spend on the project. Because it can be applied directly to the wall without a delay, paste-the-wall lining paper is much quicker than conventional alternatives. It’s also much easier to use if you haven’t mastered the skill of wallpaper lining, which can take years to get right with conventional lining paper.

What are lining paper grades?

As well as the distinction between conventional and paste-the-wall, lining paper also varies by its thickness or ‘grade’. The different grades are:

  • 800
  • 1000
  • 1200
  • 1400
  • 1700
  • 2000

At the lowest end of the scale, 800 grade lining paper is the thinnest one you can buy. 1700 and 2000 are more heavy-duty, and often just stocked by specialist shops. At Cover Your Wall, we stock a range of 1700 and 2000 grades, which are perfect for covering severe signs of damage in old or badly-renovated properties.

There is also a number of more specialist types of lining paper. Whether you want to fireproof an apartment, protect your walls against damp, or cover woodchip wallpaper or another textured surface, you’ll find what you need on our site.

Lining paper vs plastering – how do they differ?

If you’re redecorating your walls, you may feel confused about which processes you’ll need to do. Lining paper vs plastering, lining paper vs skimming – how can you tell which will give you the perfect finish you’re after?

Plastering is the process of preparing your walls using plaster. This generally means filling in cracks by applying plaster to your wall, and using a hand float (smoothing tool) to spread it evenly across the surface.

As with lining paper, the result is hopefully a perfectly smooth wall that’s ready to be decorated. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that plastering is an alternative to lining paper or vice versa.

Plastering is a vital step if your walls are so damaged that you can easily pick off chunks of old plaster. 2000 grade lining paper may hide visible damage, but leaving severely crumbling walls is never a good idea – they’ll only get worse, so no matter how good your walls look initially, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay that way. At Cover Your Wall, we’d always recommend replastering your wall before using lining paper, if the damage is severe.

Lining paper vs skimming – how do they differ?

Skimming is the act of using a finishing plaster to ‘touch up’ your walls, creating a smooth surface for paint or paper. It sounds similar to lining paper, but if you’re torn between the two, there are number of key differences you should consider:

Pros of skimming

  • Skimming can last longer than lining paper
  • It won’t have to be removed along with the wallpaper if you want to redecorate in the future

Cons of skimming

  • Skimming is often more expensive
  • You may need to remove your skirting boards and cornices prior to skimming

What is the best lining paper for painting?

If you’re planning to paint your walls, you don’t need to use a specialist lining paper. Simply choose the most appropriate grade for the level of damage you need to hide. That said, Wallrock Fibreliner Smooth does have a smoother finish which allows paint to go further. Whatever the case, lining paper should be butt joined rather than overlapping, so the paint has an even surface.

Any more questions?

If you’ve got a question we haven’t covered above, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call us on 0800 009 6474 or email Our team of lining paper experts will be happy to answer questions about any of our products, their benefits or uses.

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