How to Wallpaper a Bathroom

How to Wallpaper a Bathroom

Even people who wouldn’t attempt to wallpaper a larger room will tackle a bathroom without hesitation. Perhaps because it’s small, folks assume it will be easy to wallpaper a bathroom and that it won’t take a huge investment.

Most bathrooms can be wallpapered with one or two double rolls of wallpaper. However, bathrooms, while small, require an investment of time for many reasons. For starters, bathrooms are jampacked with obstacles such as the toilet, tub and sink. It’s difficult to find the space to open a ladder.

You’ll find almost every strip that gets hung has a special problem: a corner, a door, a window, the shower, tub, toilet, sink, mirror, towel and toilet tissue holders and the light fixtures. Anticipate these problems and you’re less likely to want to tear your hair out once you start the job. That said, here are some tips on how to wallpaper a bathroom to help your job go a little easier.

Be careful selecting the wallcovering for your bathroom. You don’t want delicate or fabric papers. Vinyl-coated wallpaper is the best bet. It will repel surface dampness.

Prime the walls with a specially formulated “primerizer” that contains a fungicide, to prevent the growth of mildew. Remove switch plates, outlet covers, towel bars and toilet tissue holders before priming. Apply the primerizer with a roller just as you would apply paint and use a brush to cut-in around the corners and ceiling.

Even if you’re using a pre-pasted wallcovering apply a special adhesive manufactured just for bathrooms to prevent peeling paper in this moist environment.

Apply the paste to the back of the wallcovering and then “book” the paper. To do this, take the bottom and bring it to the middle (paste side in) and take the top down to the middle. Then let it sit on your work table for five or 10 minutes. The moisture from the paste will activate the adhesive on pre-pasted wallpaper so that it will not be necessary to dip it in water.

If you’re hanging paper over towel rod or toilet tissue brackets, first hang the strip and then touch the paper gently to find the bracket beneath. Use a utility knife to cut an “X” in the paper directly over the bracket. Now, press the paper flat against the wall around the bracket and trim the paper.

Use this same technique to wallpaper a bathroom around light switches and outlets. Always turn off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box before you start papering near switches or light fixtures. All that moisture from wet paper makes a great conductor of electricity.

When you get to the toilet, hang the wallpaper from the top and then slide the bottom half behind the toilet. Wrap a yardstick in an old, thin towel and use it to smooth the paper in the area behind the tank where it is too narrow to use your hand. Spend some time doing this so you don’t get bubbles.

To apply the wallcovering around the plumbing pipes, use a utility knife or sharp scissors to make a neat, vertical cut from the bottom of the paper to the center of the pipe. Make slashes in the paper radiating out from around the pipe to relax the paper so it can be smoothed against the wall, then trim the excess.

If you want to wallpaper your bathroom with vinyl paper, apply a vinyl-to-vinyl seam adhesive wherever the paper overlaps. When using a seam roller, always be gentle. Light, even pressure produces the best finish. Too much pressure or excessive rolling back and forth will squeeze the adhesive right out the seams and when it’s dry your new wallpaper might start to peel.