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Papering ceilings

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The techniques required for papering a ceiling are the same as for papering a wall. You are more likely to be dealing with longer lengths rather than more difficult sections containing pieces to cut out for windows, switches and plugs.

Papering a ceiling hides an uneven plaster surface. It can be transformed into a smooth, decorative surface which is often painted for a smart, clean finish.

The surface must be prepared beforehand to provide a good base. A lining paper can improve the final appearance, but it is important to fill any cracks and smooth the surface first.

It is usual to work parallel to the window wall. Work away from the window to allow the maximum light to be available as you paper the lengths across the ceiling.

Use a ruler to mark the ceiling along its length to get the first straight edge. Allow a few millimetres extra to be cut away if the wall meeting the ceiling does not form a perfect line, which is very common. Measure the length required adding an extra few millimetres to be cut where the length meets the walls at each end.

Remember that the length will be difficult to handle once pasted, so gentle overlap the sections pasted, to allow the length to be easily transported into position.

  1. If you are working alone you require a working platform across the room, which needs to be secured at a comfortable height to work from. Then support the folded sections while placing the first end against the wall-line.

    Allow a slight overlap for matching with the end of the wall, and work across the room, unfolding sections as you move along the platform, brushing the rest of the length in place.

  2. If someone can help, use a broom, with the brush end upright. Cover the brush with a cloth to protect the paper. When you are positioning the first section, allow someone to gently hold the remaining sections of the length against the ceiling while you brush away the air bubbles from the beginning section. This allows the other person to take the weight of the paper while you brush the section into position.

    The broom must not be pushed against the ceiling, but gently held in position. Then as the sections are positioned on the ceiling, smaller and smaller sections need to be supported.

    This method is particularly useful if you use a ladder, which you need to keep re-positioning along the length of the paper.

Brush each section out from the centre to remove air bubbles. Once the length is in place, brush and check the surface is smooth, before trimming the ends. Sometimes it is necessary to trim the side of the first length if the walls are uneven where they meet the ceiling.

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