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sizing walls before papering

Listed under Blog, preparation, products Posted Jun 08 2016

I’ve had a few enquiries recently, asking about the best product for sizing walls before papering with 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?

sizing walls before papering

Do 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? If so it is vital to prepare the surface before hanging paper.

sizing walls before papering

You should coat a wall with a suitable product prior to hanging paper to ensure:

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.

Update The idea here was tinting gardz to enable you to see more easily where you have been. Zinsser don’t recommend it, no reason given! With the two coat coverage achievable with modern wall paints, help with coverage with a tinted sealer is not necessary. BM paints especially seem to cover really well. (Thanks Chris Montague for questioning about tinting Gardz.) Jack Pauhl goes into a lot of detail on Gardz as a “primer”

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. Decorators who care to plan ahead can 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.

We appreciate you taking the time to read this.

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6 comments to “sizing walls before papering”

  1. Charles Budd

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

  2. realpva

    Helpful info. Lucky me I discovered your site accidentally, and
    I am stunned why this coincidence did not came about earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  3. Mick drinkwater

    Hi, when you have sized walls, hall, stairs and landing for instance, how long can you leave it before you do your paper hanging, thanx.

  4. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Generally, if you coat a bare plaster wall, and have a cup of tea, when you get back, it is probably dry to the touch, so you can get on with the papering. If there are gloss painted or non-absorbent surfaces, these will take longer to dry, but same principle, once touch dry and no tack, away you go.

  5. Andy

    I sized a small section of wall two weeks ago in preperation for wall papering next day, which did not happen.

    Two weeks on and I am ready to wallpaper- do I need to resize or will the original size still be effective?


  6. Mary Ann

    I have been to Sherwin Williams, Home Depot, Walmart, and
    Lowes and no one had sizing. Where can I purchase it in
    Cincinnati ??????

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