Wallpaper Installation Suggestions

Curators’ Corner

Wallpaper Installation Suggestions

When applying wall graphics, or Self Adhesive Vinyl, a number of techniques should be used to ensure the best surface and adhesion possible. The ideal wall texture for successful graphic application is super smooth wall that has been primed, painted and cured properly. Little or no surface variation is necessary to ensure proper adhesive contact. Graphics should not have a stiff laminate, as they will not adhere evenly.

Wall surface preparation and painting:

1. Begin by repairing any existing wall damage such as holes, loose wallboard joints, chipped or peeling paint to return it to like new condition.

2. Clean the wall prior to priming and painting.

3. Make sure to prime the wall with a primer that is compatible with the top paint coat. Two coats of primer may be needed.

4. Paint the wall with a quality, semi-gloss top coat. Do not use matte paint or paint with silicone, graffiti-resistant, or texturizing additives

5. Using a short nap (1/4 inch) roller, paint the wall with a quality, semi gloss topcoat. Do not use matte paint or paint with silicone, graffiti-resistant or texturizing additives.

6. Let the final coat of paint dry for at least three days before applying graphics to the wall.

Remember, do not apply graphics to any wall that does not have excellent paint−to−substrate bonding, AND do not apply to wallpaper.


As a wall finish dries, it releases certain gases until it is fully dried and cured, also known as “out-gassing.” Applying a graphic before the finish has dried can result in lifting, bubbles and the early failure of your graphic.

Test your paint and primer, as some characteristics (low luster, matte, satin, silicone or graffiti resistance) may inhibit good film adhesion.

What kind of primer is best?

The best primer choice would be oil based, high-quality primer that provides good coverage.

Tinted primers may bleed through certain films or be stained by the film’s adhesive, so use the highest quality paint to reduce staining or bleed through problems.

What kind of paint is best?

The best paint choice would be semi-gloss, universal painted surface. Baked enamel paints also feature excellent film adhesion and removability.

When possible, we recommend using primer and paint from the same manufacturer, since the products are usually designed to work together. The goal is to achieve a good bond between the substrate, primer and paint.