Erfurt MAV

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Understanding Fire Ratings.

The fire rating system in regard to wallpapers can be difficult to understand and obviously for absolute accuracy and certainty you should always consult an expert in the field such as a Specifier, Trade Body or Testing Body. What I am providing here is my personal overview of how to look at fire ratings and what they may mean for you.

Whilst the last thing I want to do is give a false sense of security or give the impression the fire rating of your wallpaper is not very important - it is worth bearing in mind that having properly maintained and positioned smoke detectors in your home is arguably far more important than the fire rating of your wallcovering because we all inevitably have lots of other combustible and smoke generating products in our home.

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The problem of Bubbling Wallpaper, Gaps appearing at seams and Lifting of the paper...

Hanging most wallpapers, including traditional wallpapers such as embossed papers, lining papers or prints, is not ‘rocket science’ and a beautiful finish will result so long as a few basic steps are followed. As with any other decoration work investing time in the preparation and using good quality materials will pay dividends in the end.

One of the most common problems encountered when hanging wallpaper is bubbling, shrinkage and lifting; this article is meant to be a practical aid, (rather than an exhaustive technical article) to avoiding the issue or at the very least to understand in all likelihood what has gone wrong. Understanding the basic science of what is happening helps in preventing all the above.

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Recognising Damp

  • Staining to areas of walls or ceilings
  • Areas of black mould often accompanied by an earthy odour
  • Salt crystal deposits forming on plaster work
  • Peeling wallpaper (although there can be other reasons for this)

In terms of damp problems there can be many different causes but there are three main groups:

Rising Damp

In this case moisture from the ground is soaked up into the lower levels of the walls by capillary action. Because of the physics involved there is a natural limit to how far up the wall moisture can travel which is approximately 1 metre. Typically recognised by a tide mark along a wall at around 1 metre high and obvious signs of damp below this.

Penetrating Damp

This occurs when rainwater is constantly forced onto external brickwork or finds its way into internal surfaces because of defects. Causes are most commonly poor maintenance or design – blocked gutters, missing roof tiles and defective render.


This is possibly the most common cause of damp problems and is caused by moisture in the air condensing on cold surfaces. Classic tell tale signs of damp are the formation of mould in the coldest areas of a room where condensation is most readily formed, such as in corners and around window reveals.

Tackling the Causes

In the case of rising damp and penetrating damp the problems can often be addressed by repairing and putting right defects – such as repairing a damp proof course, simply replacing a broken tile or clearing gutters regularly.

Condensation problems can occur for many reasons. Many properties including older properties can suffer from condensation because the walls never reach room temperatur, which can lead to condensation forming on the walls. This effect can be exacerbated when the heating is turned on and off frequently, creating repeated cycles of condensation formation. In such cases internal wall insualtion such as Wallrock® Thermal Liner can be very effective in allowing much faster heat retention at the wall surface, thus alleviating the condensation problem as well as insulating the room. Non breathable surfaces such as paints and wallpapers with high vinyl contents prevent the wall from breathing and can lead to a more rapid build up of condensation. It is also important to provide adequate ventilation, especially where moisture levels in the air are likely to be high, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Older properties - a note: Older houses in particular need to breathe, having been built when lifestyles where very different from today. In such cases it is important that the materials used to combat damp are compatible and will not make problems worse especially in regard to allowing walls to breathe.


How to hang Paste-the-Wall lining papers

Hanging lining paper has been popular for decades due to its low cost and effectiveness at covering damaged and imperfect wall surfaces, or creating a perfect base for applying a further decorative wall covering. Paste-the-Wall lining papers simplify the process by making the job faster and easier: with the added benefit of hugely improved tensile strength, paste the wall lining papers like Wallrock Fibreliner will also reinforce and cover old, tired and imperfect plaster work.

Required Tools

  • Sharp good quality snap off blade
  • Decorators scissors
  • Steel rule (long straight edge)
  • Pencil
  • Plumb Line
  • Decorating adhesive application brush
  • Medium roller
  • Paper hanging brush

The key to ensuring a problem free job is taking the time necessary for good preparation and following the application instructions, also make sure you have all the tools and recommended products to enable a seamless job. 

What is the difference between paste the wall lining paper and conventional lining paper?

Conventional lining paper is essentially manufactured entirely from wood fibres (cellulose) and a few stabilisers; this means that when you apply adhesive to the back of the paper the wood fibres soak up the available moisture until they are swelled to saturation point, causing the length of lining paper to grow in width from anywhere between 3 & 10mm - this is why it is so important to soak conventional lining paper for the prescribed period of time recommended by the manufacturers, usually 4 – 10 minutes. Premature hanging of conventional lining paper will result in expansion on the wall causing overlapping joints, elongated bubbles and creases. Paste-the-Wall paper has masses of long strands of water proof polyester fibres interwoven into the sheet: this important addition stops the wood fibres from expanding and ultimately makes the paper dimensionally stable, and the clever mixture of these fibres eliminates soak times and also greatly increases the tensile strength of the paper.

Paste-the-Wall lining paper is increasingly available in what is called contract widths - Wallrock Fibreliner for example is available in roll widths of 75cm and 100cm, both 20 metres long providing 15m² and 20m² respectively.

Wall or ceiling preparation is often overlooked by many who undertake hanging lining paper/paste- the-wall paper: poor wall preparation can cause problems with the paper adhering, unsightly specks in the surface and a general poor finish. First, ensure that the wall surface is dry and free of any damp patches or mould (damp in the plaster work should be resolved at source before starting any decoration). The wall/s should be clean and free of any build-up of dirt or grease from cooking or smoking etc. To improve the end result it is advisable to use a medium sandpaper to remove any protruding specks of paint or filler etc, cracks should be bridged using an appropriate filler. To ensure good adhesion, it may be necessary to size a wall surface, especially if the wall is freshly plastered. Sizing a wall is carried out to reduce the porosity of the plaster work: plaster that is overly porous will steal the majority of adhesive applied to the wall and prevent the paper from adhering properly, resulting in lifting edges and poor adhesion. Sizing a wall can be carried out using a specific size available off the shelf or watered down adhesive. Traditionally paint was commonly used as a size, though today this should be avoided as most modern paints contain vinyl polymers that allow painted surfaces to be washable, as well as stopping substances sticking to the surface, which is exactly the opposite of what we want to achieve. Sizing, however, is only really necessary on new plasterwork - walls that have been decorated before or painted do not need to be sized and by sizing a wall that has already been decorated or sized, you will be inadvertently doing more harm than good as the size will interfere with the stronger adhesive being applied to wall or paper and stop it from doing its job effectively.

If the wall is already painted we advise vigorously sanding the surface to create a key for the adhesive to work effectively.

Choosing Adhesive: all paste-the-wall wallcoverings should be used in conjunction with a good quality ready mixed adhesive - this will ensure a high strength bond.

Hanging Paste-the-Wall Paper

Once you have carried out the necessary preparation work it is time to start hanging the paste-the-wall paper. Make a straight line on the wall surface using a plumb line if hanging vertical drops in preparation for the first length of paste-the-wall paper; if cross lining and hanging horizontal lengths we recommend starting at the top of the wall and working down (contract widths can greatly reduce labour times).

Use a medium roller to liberally apply adhesive to the surface of the wall; it is advisable to apply adhesive 15-20 cm wider than the width of the paper making sure not to miss any areas (it may prove easier to use a brush at the top and bottom of the wall).

Because no soak time is required the paste-the-wall paper can be hung straight from the roll, halving the application time and eliminating the need to use a pasting table. Now you will need to trim the excess paper from the top and bottom of the length; there are two methods of achieving this, either with a sharp, good quality snap off blade, or good quality decorator’s scissors with a long edge. Use a decorator’s straight edge to keep the paper taught, now proceed to cut along the edge using the knife, to ensure nice smooth cuts, snap the blade regularly to maintain a sharp blade as paper will quickly blunt a blade. Alternatively use the straight edge as a guide for the pencil to mark the paper, peel back slightly and use the decorator’s scissors to carefully and accurately cut along the pencil line; it might be necessary to use a small, additional amount of adhesive to stick the edges back down.

Butt join the lengths and ensure that any adhesive on the surface of the paper is removed with a sponge and clean water. Allow the paper to fully dry before applying the final wall covering or coating of suitable paint; this drying process usually takes between 24-48 hours - we strongly recommend that all heating sources in the area of decoration are turned off to allow the paper to dry naturally.

This is a simple wallpaper calculator and should be used as a guide only. You can find the roll width and roll length you are after on the specific product page.
Roll widths are provided in meters (such as 0.5 x 10mtr) so your wall widths and heights should be inputted in meters also.
If you are purchasing an offset match product then you may need a little extra as there may be some waste. If you have any windows or doors in your walls you can simply ignore these. This will give a good estimate of required roll numbers.

Wallpaper Calculator