Wallpaper Installation Glossary

At Wallpapers To Go, we offer a complete line of products specially designed to make wall preparation easy. Here is a list of these products and a brief rundown of their uses.

Wall Preparation

  • Deglossing Solution: A product, such as tri-sodium phosphate, used primarily for cleaning surfaces or deglossing shiny paint before refinishing or applying wallcoverings. Removes "dead" paint, grease, and old adhesive.
  • Paper Tiger: A small tool that perforates the wallcovering surface with tiny holes to allow the wallpaper remover to penetrate the vinyl wallcovering.
  • Primer/Sealer (alkyd or acrylic): Provides non-porous surface that seals new walls. Assures wallcoverings hung over it can be removed. Can also be used to seal over old paper. (Many products now include sealer and sizing in a one-step product that can save you time.)
  • Spackling Compound: A compound used for filling nail holes, cracks, and paneling grooves in drywall, plaster or wood.
  • Wallpaper Remover: Penetrates and dissolves old adhesive to allow old paper to be removed easily. 

Hanging Wallcoverings

Note: The term "wallcovering" in today's usage refers to any materials used to cover walls. "Wallpaper" is a traditional term used only for paper wallcoverings.

  • Adhesive: A paste for applying wallcovering to a wall.
  • Backing: A fabric, paper or synthetic material to which wallcoverings are laminated for strength and support.
  • Booking: The technique of folding the top and bottom of a wallpaper strip to the center, paste side to paste side. This allows the material to "relax" for several minutes so that it can assume its final dimension from the water and/or the paste. For booking time, refer to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Broad Knife: Wide putty knife used as a trim guide and also for scraping old wallpaper from walls. It may be used to spread spackle in order to fill holes or cracks in walls.
  • Butted Seam: To "butt" a seam, edges of wallcovering strips are fitted edge to edge without overlapping.
  • Deglossing: The breaking down of a glossy painted surface so that wallcovering will adhere to the surface properly.
  • Lining Paper (blank stock): A blank wallcovering used to cover a rough wall to provide a smoother surface.
  • Non-Porous: A surface that cannot be penetrated by moisture or air. Examples include solid vinyl wallcoverings or oil-based paint.
  • Pattern Match: How the wallcovering matches from strip to strip. There are three types: 1) Straight Across Match where every strip is exactly the same; 2) Drop Match where every other strip is the same; 3) Random Match where there is no noticeable repetition to the design.
  • Pattern Repeat: The length of a pattern before it repeats.
  • Plumb Line: A tool used to drop a perpendicular line on a wall to aid in hanging a strip of wallcovering vertically.
  • Prepasted: A wallcovering which has dry adhesive applied to the backing by the manufacturer.
  • Seam Roller: A tool used on wallcovering seams to ensure that the edges are firmly adhered to the wall.
  • Smoothing Tool: A tool used to remove air bubbles and to smooth a pasted strip of wallcovering onto the wall.
  • Trim Guide: A tool used as a guide with a cutting instrument to trim wallcovering evenly.