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Applying wallcovering is very much the province of do-it-yourselfers. Technical advancements make “paper-hanging” a relatively easy redecorating job.

Self-adhesive or pre-pasted coverings simplify the job; paper- or fabric-backed vinyl wallcoverings handle more easily than paper coverings.

Self-adhesive coverings, similar to, but heavier than shelf linings, have an adhesive applied to the back side, protected by a paper covering which peels away. Although these coverings adhere almost immediately, there is time to adjust them before the adhesive hardens.

A “light-tack” adhesive permits numerous re-positionings during the 30 minutes after application required for the bonding to become permanent; the covering can be removed later, leaving no residue.

Pre-pasted coverings are impregnated with paste, must be soaked for several minutes and applied wet.

Many of these coverings are described as “strippable” or “dry strippable,” which means that the covering can be pulled off years after application. The bond between adhesive and wall is stronger than between adhesive and paper, permitting paper to break away. It also means the wall must be washed to remove the adhesive.

Although an adhesive must be applied in most cases, fabric-backed vinyl coverings offer the advantage of being flexible but strong enough not to tear, as could happen with paper backing. Vinyl coverings can be adjusted to match a pattern before the adhesive hardens.

Most wallcoverings come in rolls from 18″ to 28″ wide; each contains 36 sq. ft. of covering, regardless of width.

Because of the loss resulting from matching patterns, cutting into corners, etc., each roll is estimated to cover 30 sq. ft.

To calculate the amount of paper needed, find the total square footage of the area to be covered; deduct one roll for every two standard-sized doors or windows.

Tools necessary include trimming knife, plumb line and chalk, scraper, seam roller, smoothing brush, paste brush and water tray (for pre-pasted coverings). If the job requires paste, check the kind of paper before you purchase the paste. Some coverings require wheat paste, while others use liquid-vinyl adhesive or a vinyl paste.

As with painting, walls must be thoroughly cleaned before applying new covering – dirt, grease and grime washed off, old paint scraped and washed down, cracks filled and smoothed. It is also best to remove old coverings.

Depending on the kind of wall surface involved and the kind of covering, other preparations may be necessary: Walls should be washed with disinfectant before applying vinyl; enameled walls scrubbed with a trisodium-phosphate cleaner; sizing or primer sealer applied to either wall or covering.


Window shades are made of heavy paper, treated fabric, fiberglass or vinyl. Vinyl shades are washable, as are better-quality fabric ones. They should be washed with damp sponge or cloth rather than by dousing in sink or washtub.

Some shades, like those made of fabric, ensure privacy while allowing light to filter through. Others, like the vinyl, shut out light as well. These can also reduce hot or cold air coming into the room and help cut demand on air conditioning or heating.

Size is a major feature of window shades. Some have steel rollers that adjust to the size of the windows; others are precut and packaged in standard sizes up to 6′ wide for large windows; still others are scored for the customer to cut to desired width at home.

If windows are not standard widths, shades must be cut to size. Most shades are pre-hemmed at 6′ long. Accessory items include mounting hardware and pulls.

How to Estimate for House and Interior Paints
Distance Around HOUSE in Ft. Average Height 12′ Average Height 15′ Average Height 18′ Average Height 21′ Average Height 24′
60 feet 1-1/2 gal. 2 gal. 2-1/4 gal. 2-1/2 gal. 3 gal.
92 2-1/4 2-3/4 3-1/2 4 4-1/2
124 3 3-3/4 4-1/2 5-1/4 6
140 3-1/2 4-1/4 5 6 7
172 4-1/4 5-1/4 6 7-1/4 8-1/2
Distance Around ROOM in Ft. Ceiling 8′ Ceiling 8-1/2′ Ceiling 9′ Ceiling 9-1/2′ Paint for Ceiling
30 feet 5/8 gal. 5/8 gal. 3/4 gal. 3/4 gal. 1 pt.
40 7/8 7/8 7/8 1 1 qt.
50 1 1-1/8 1-1/8 1-1/4 3 pts.
60 1-1/4 1-1/4 1-3/8 1-3/8 2 qts.
70 1-1/2 1-1/2 1-1/2 1-5/8 3 qts.
80 1-1/2 1-5/8 1-3/4 1-7/8 1 gal.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.