How to repair wallpaper

  • Article by: ROSEMARY SADEZ FRIEDMANN , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Updated: April 27, 2013 - 3:55 PM

Popped seams and holes can be fixed with the right tools and a little careful effort.

Wallpaper with popped seams and tears can be easily repaired with simple tools and materials.

Photo: Joel Koyama • jkoyama@startribune.com ,

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How’s your wallpaper doing? Any seams popping open? Well, don’t fret, because there is an easy solution.

Just go to the hardware store and buy a tube of wallpaper-seam-repair adhesive. All you need to do is dab a little of the adhesive (the key word here is little) where the seam is open, then with a sponge or clean white towel, smooth the seam closed. You might want to hold it in the closed position for a few seconds so the adhesive sticks. That’s it. Job done.

What if you have made a change in the wall, such as removing a wall switch or something that leaves a hole in the wallpaper? That can be fixed, too, as long as you have a little leftover wallpaper. Follow these steps:

First, get your supplies. You will need a paste brush and a clean rag or a sponge and scissors to cut the paper to the right size and shape. Painter’s tape and wallpaper adhesive are necessary, too. If the hole is high on the wall, you will need a ladder.

If the hole has left the wall in a messy condition, either sand it smooth or, if necessary, fill in holes with spackling compound. Clean the wall with a damp sponge and let it dry.

With the leftover paper, cut a piece that not only fits the hole but also matches the surrounding wallpaper pattern. Be sure to cut it perfectly — a triangle or ruler can help. Position the paper and hold it in place temporarily with painter’s tape. Stand back and look to be sure the paper is lined up perfectly.

Now take the patch piece of wallpaper and put wallpaper adhesive on it. (If the paper is self-adhesive, skip this step.) Some paper hangers suggest letting the adhesive sit for about 5 minutes so it absorbs into the paper before applying it to the wall.

If the paper is self-adhesive, follow the installation instructions. If you no longer have instructions, don’t worry, because self-adhesive paper installation usually means you need to wet the back of the paper to activate the adhesive.

Carefully position the paper on the wall and make sure the pattern matches up perfectly. Use a paste brush to smooth the paper and wipe up any seeping adhesive with a clean rag.

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