Should I Use Lining Paper Before Wallpapering?

While home decorating beginners often overlook the importance of lining paper, it can be the difference between an uneven appearance and a smooth, professional finish. Using lining paper before wallpapering will boost the appearance of any DIY project as well as increase its longevity within your home. 

There are many additional benefits of applying lining paper before wallpapering, ranging from energy efficiency to improved durability. That’s why most professional decorators and wallpaper manufacturers recommend the use of lining paper when decorating your walls.

Put simply, creating a ‘blank canvas’ effect will provide a flawless surface that will make your wallpaper easier to apply and mask any wall imperfections that you may have encountered. If you have any more questions on the usage and purpose of lining paper, then this post will give you all the answers you need.

Why should I use lining paper?

Taking on a DIY project can be a daunting task. Your goal is to achieve the best possible finish and as a result every process needs to be accounted for in terms of preparation. Lining paper is a necessary step in preparing your wall and will lead to the flawless finish that your project needs.

Lining paper (sometimes called wallpaper lining) is an additional wall covering designed to prepare your wall for decoration prior to applying wallpaper or paint. Applying lining paper is different to plastering, as plastering your walls should only be considered if your walls are too damaged to repair or if your walls are severely crumbling.

Lining your walls with lining paper before hanging wallpaper is a key component to an even finish. You (or your clients) will be surrounded by your finished walls every day, so it is important to minimise cracks or faults that are noticeable and hard to ignore. A smooth wallpaper finish is easy to accomplish with the right preparation.

What is the purpose of lining paper?

As homeowners and renters come and go, walls will be painted with all different kinds of paint. They will experience cracks and multiple fillers will be applied throughout. This means that many areas of your walls will exhibit different levels of porosity resulting in poor absorption of your wallpaper. The result? Your wallpaper would dry at different times, creating a multitude of problems.

If you were to hang finished wallpaper straight onto your wall without lining paper, you are at risk of seam-splitting edges and bubbles spreading throughout. No matter how much time you have put into your preparation (such as filler and sanding), without lining paper you are at risk of an unsatisfactory finish and wallpaper performance that is subpar.

Like all paper, when wet, wallpaper will expand. When it dries, it will shrink. Once wallpaper is applied to an untouched wall, the natural process of expanding and shrinking will cause the seams to pull apart, resulting in an uneven finish that is displeasing to the eye. Lining paper prevents this from occurring as your lining paper and wallpaper will mesh together and become one. This is one of the most beneficial aspects of lining paper.

If you’re applying wallpaper on top of lining paper, it’s good practice to apply the lining paper horizontally. Known as cross-lining, this process prevents joins coinciding. With lining paper being applied first, the absorbent qualities of the paper help to anchor the wallpaper pasted on top and lock the wallpaper into its expanded place, preventing shrinkage and seam-splitting.

When finished wallpaper is applied without lining paper, the expanding and shrinking that takes place will pull on any paint or filler that it has been exposed to underneath, causing the wallpaper to pull away from the wall. Lining paper and wallpaper pull against each other, creating a force that has nowhere to go. In other words, it stays intact and remains aesthetically pleasing.

Other advantages of using lining paper

As well as creating a smooth finish for your walls or ceiling, lining paper can help disguise small imperfections on the surface of walls and reduce the likelihood of stains or marks appearing through your wallpaper. Other advantages to using lining paper include:

Smoothing – Lining paper is commonly used to smooth out your walls to achieve a good, flat finish so your wallpaper can be applied easily whilst reducing the risk of splitting edges. It also helps to disguise hairline cracks in walls as well as noticeable plastering imperfections.

Durability – As your wallpaper is applied to your lining paper, it is more likely to stay in place and less likely to peel off than if it was applied directly to a bare wall.

Reduce staining – Substances on the wall may leach into the wallpaper once it has been hung directly onto the wall. Lining paper reduces this risk as it is not in direct contact with the wall.

Insulation – Every layer that you apply to your walls creates an extra layer of insulation for your home. The air that is trapped in between your lining paper and wallpaper is energy efficient so it keeps your home warmer for longer.

What is the best lining paper for me?

There are two types of lining paper available – conventional lining paper and paste-the-wall lining paper. Conventional lining paper is made of pure paper. It has to be soaked with adhesive for a recommended amount of time before being hung on your walls. This step must be carried out to avoid bubbles and a bad finish.

Paste-the-wall lining paper is a tougher, more resilient product. It is quick and easy to apply due to the added textile fibres. There is no need for the paper to be soaked, simply paste the adhesive directly onto your walls and apply your lining paper. The result will be free of bubbles and lead to a better finish.

Once you have decided on the lining paper that you need, Cover Your Wall stocks a wide range of high-quality lining paper for all of your needs. We offer free next day delivery on orders over £100 to mainland UK addresses and a price match guarantee. Our team is available for further assistance using the email address or telephone 0800 009 6474. And if you have any questions, don't forgot to try our lining paper FAQ guide

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