How to Hang Textured, Paintable Wallpaper

Older homes with wall damage can get a fresh look with textured, paintable wallpaper. This type of paper – also called anaglypta – originated in the 1800s and was originally made of wood pulp and cotton. 

It became popular because of its durability and the way it covered imperfections in a wall that were too difficult to repair prior to painting. It is still popular today and frequently used in the restoration of old buildings.

Textured, paintable wallpaper is:

  • Available in paper and vinyl 
  • Installs like most wallpaper
  • Can last up to 30 years 
  • Can be painted numerous times before replacing

It comes in many patterns and textures, from smooth to ornate, giving you almost limitless design options. However, you will need to take care during the installation to prevent damaging the wallcovering. Here are some helpful tips.

Prepping The Wall To Hang Paintable Wallpaper

Preparing the surface to receive any type of wallpaper is the most important step in the process, especially if you want to be able to remove it easily in the future. Textured wallpaper is the perfect product for covering damaged or previously textured drywall, however, you need to eliminate any surface imperfections that would bleed through. The following preparations are recommended:

  • Repair any holes with drywall filler or joint compound and sand smooth.
  • Wipe down all the walls to remove any dust with a damp sponge and allow to thoroughly dry.
  • Remove all outlet and switch covers.
  • Apply a professional grade wallpaper primer to ensure that the paper adheres to the adhesive and not the wall surface. This will make removal much easier when the time comes.
  • Some textured wallpapers will show the color of the underlying wall if they are not painted over after hanging. If you do not intend to paint the wallpaper after it is installed, consider painting the wall a neutral color before you prime.

Choosing The Right Type of Textured Wallpaper

Paintable wallpaper comes in a variety of options:

  • Pre-pasted 
  • Peel and stick
  • Paste the wall or paste the paper

Peel And Stick Wallpaper

Peel and stick wall coverings are usually temporary, and though they may provide a paintable wallpaper surface when installed, they are not the best long-term solution.

Pre-pasted Wallpaper

Textured wallpaper with a pre-pasted backing is common, but installation can be messy. Most instruction sheets will recommend soaking the paper in water to activate the adhesive backing. Alternatively, the paper can be hung like traditional wallpaper with the use of a pre-paste activator. The paper then needs to be booked, or folded in on itself, to allow the paste to tack up. After booking, the paper can be hung and smoothed on the wall.

Paste The Wall Or Paste The Paper

These are the two most popular options for installing paintable wallpaper. The method of installation depends on the material. Most textured wallpapers can be installed using the paste the wall method. This method is great for DIYers, as it eliminates the need for a large pasting table. Just paste the wall, hang, and smooth.

Basic Tools Required To Install Paintable Wallpaper

The list of tools needed will be the same that are required for hanging most types of wallpaper, with one major exception – you will not normally use a smoothing tool. This is because paintable wallpaper can be fragile once it is completely wet from the adhesive.  The stiff smoothing tool may tear the wet textured surface of the paper requiring repair or replacement of that panel during installation. Instead, a wallpaper smoothing brush  or foam smoothing roller is recommended. You will also need:

  • Ladder
  • Utility knife with extra blades
  • Tape measure
  • 4’ Carpenter’s level
  • Paint roller frame, covers, and tray
  • 2” cut-in brush
  • Small bucket to hold water and sponge
  • High quality wallpaper adhesive

How To Apply Textured Paintable Wallpaper

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding installation. Some anaglypta wallcoverings are more delicate than others, and  should be applied by first applying the glue to the wall, and then dry hanging the paper to the wall. If you apply the glue to the paper first, you may risk tearing it before it is installed. Follow these steps for a smooth installation:

  • Determine your starting point and using the level, draw a straight vertical line as your guide.
  • Roll the adhesive on the wall in an area no larger than you can work in 15 minutes.  If the adhesive starts to dry out, reapply.
  • Measure and precut your panels allowing extra at the top and bottom for adjustment.
  • Starting at the top of the wall, hang the first panel even with your guideline and gently use your hand and the foam smoothing roller to remove any bubbles. Do not use a hard plastic smoother. Be very careful not to overwork the paper since it can distort the geometric design of the paper and make it difficult to pattern match the adjacent piece.
  • When trimming the top and bottom, lay the utility knife at a slight angle to the paper making sure that as much of the blade as possible comes in contact with the paper in order to avoid tearing it.
  • At each seam, be sure to secure the panels with the adhesive by using a seam roller and light pressure. This will help to prevent separation.
  • Continue around the room until complete.
  • For more in depth guides on preparing the room and installing wallpaper, visit our How-To Center.

Where To Get The Best Primers And Adhesives For Paintable Wallpaper

Luxury wallpaper is an investment so you should use the best primers and adhesives available to ensure expert results. ROMAN Products has been making quality wallpaper adhesive and primers for over 75 years and are considered to be the best in the industry by most professional installers. 

Contact us today and speak with one of our customer service representatives for recommendations on the right product to use for your specific situation.