Better to wallpaper over plaster or emulsion?

6 Mar 2013
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United Kingdom

I've had the walls of my living room skimmed and have painted them with thinned-down PVA to seal them as advised by the plasterer. My plan now is to paint three walls white and wallpaper the other one.

My question is... would it be better to paint all of the walls before papering one of them, or to leave one of them bare and paper straight over the plaster + PVA?

I also want to make sure that the wallpaper can eventually be stripped again without too much difficulty as we've already had so much trouble with crumbling plaster coming off with the wallpaper in this 1930 house!

Many thanks for any advice you can give
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Well right away you are in for trouble because the PVA is a water based glue that will soften as you paint (assuming you are using emulsion). Your plasterer told you a load of rubbish, sadly. What you ought to have been advised to do is to apply what's called a mist coat ie watered-down emulsion instead of the PVA layer.

A pro deco will be along in a while to advise as to how to proceed.

Paint the three walls before papering the fourth, obviously.

As for painting that wall before wallpapering, its a waste of paint. Size the walls using thinned down paste first.
As above. A paste size is far better because when you strip the paper off in the future it wont pull bits of paint with it which creates a pitted effect requiring prep. Zinnser gardz is the best thing to use because it primes plaster and creates a protective barrier for future removal without damage. But having PVA'd it you're going to have to sort that first.

Please pass on the message to your plasterer about the PVA, he's a naughty boy and has dropped you in it somewhat. There's a recent post about what to do next by Joe 90.
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