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    sizing walls before papering

    I’ve had a few enquiries recently, asking about the best product to size walls prior to hanging lining paper or wallpaper. I think this rush of interest may be related to reports that Dulux Decorator Centres are no longer stocking conventional glue size, due to lack of demand?

    If you have a lot of filler on a wall, or a wall that has been patch plastered in the past, or a bare plaster wall surface, it is vital to prepare the surface before hanging paper.

    You should coat a wall with a suitable product prior to hanging paper to ensure that a) the paste isn’t sucked out the wallpaper too quickly, and b) there is sufficient slide to hang the paper accurately and tight to the last piece.

    Size has served decorators well for centuries. Add hot water, stir and apply the gluey coating. Diluted wallpaper paste is a poor man’s substitute for size. PVA is a great choice for “size” if you like to gamble!

    Beeline Primer Sealer is my preferred “size”- a multi-use water-based coating that looks like PVA, dilutes up to 3:1 with water.

    - It seals porous surfaces to prevent paste from drying too fast

    -It binds dusty surfaces to create a solid base

    -It provides a uniform surface with “hooks” to maximise the sticking effect of paste.

    All-in-all Beeline (as I refer to it) provides a great surface for papering over. Just like size, it offers good slip and extended / even drying out time. In addition to olde worlde size, it also offers problem-solving characteristics. I wrote about how to prevent lifting edges using Beeline Primer Sealer.

    For wallpaper, I apply it to walls by brush or roller. Over conventional plaster prior to lining, I would dilute Beeline Primer sealer 3 to 1. On glass or laminate, it works 1 to 1. It dries quickly, it hasn’t let me down, ever.

    For priming MDF Beeline Primer sealer would also work a treat as a primer. Glue size is used by some woodworkers for sealing end grain. 2 versatile products to prevent suck and improve stickability.

    Beeline is a european version of Gardz

    Beeline Primer Sealer is similar to Zinsser Gardz, another “go-to” product for many painters in the US and UK. Gardz has the advantage over Beeline PS that you can fill over it, whereas all filling and sanding has to be completed before using Beeline PS. You can also mix Gardz with water-based wall and ceiling paints. I haven’t contemplated doing that with Beeline Primer Sealer.

    Decorator merchants cutting down to size

    If DDC have stopped stocking size, that just about sums up the state of play these days in many “specialist” merchants. It looks like the bean counters are turning many mainstream decorator merchant businesses into generic has-beens who no longer stock “specialist” items! Which part of demand don’t they understand? Anyone employing a wallpaper hanger should expect the walls to be sized properly. With the millions of rolls coming out of Graham and Brown alone every year, that sounds like a lot of demand for a decorator size?

    And if big sheds can’t provide what professional decorators need, there is a big internet shopping world out there for those decorators who care to plan ahead to get stocks of decorator size or Beeline Primer Sealer from online decorator suppliers. And a few small sheds too, like Broken Cross in Macclesfield, can fill the growing gap and make it possible for decorators to do a good job, not a make-do and mend one.

    What do you size skimmed plaster walls with for example? Where do you buy from?

    You can read a lot more info and background to sizing, sealing and priming over on the forum



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    One comment to “sizing walls before papering”

    1. Charles Budd

      I use Gardz now – fast drying and does the job brilliantly.

    Please ask a question or leave a comment

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    Recent Comments

  • simon m. { Thanks Andy. :-) } – Jul 29, 9:20 AM
  • Clair { Andy thank you so much for the quick response. I will try it out tomorrow. Your help is much appreciated! :) } – Jul 27, 7:59 PM
  • Andy Crichton { There are a few options for sealing decoupage, the original medium is thinned down wood glue, or it could be a polyurethane or an acrylic... } – Jul 27, 5:24 PM
  • Clair { Hi, Thanks for all the tips and advice about chalk painting. I’m just wondering- I have a piece of finished wooden furniture that’s a cherry... } – Jul 27, 4:58 PM
  • Sam { Thanks for this, I sanded with a 180 phew! And have applied 2 coats of the primer undercoat so ready to start painting tomorrow. The... } – Jul 24, 8:40 PM
  • Andy Crichton { Hi Sam, in short, as long as you don't break through clear lacquer on the pine furniture when sanding down, you do not need to... } – Jul 24, 8:24 PM