HOW TO AVOID BUBBLES AND LUMPS OF GLUE WHEN APPLYING WALLPAPER
It has happened to all of us, to those who are new to wallpaper and to professionals with years of experience. When applying the strips it is possible that bubbles appear, small blisters of air that can set off all the alarm bells.
But don't worry. As we say, it is very common and, moreover, it is not too complicated to solve. The most common cause is that a little air has been left under the wallpaper when you put it up, or you have added too much adhesive paste. Let's first take a look at how they form and why.
Why do bubbles form in your wallpaper?
One thing no one likes when they place decorative wallpaper in their home is that it doesn't look neat and perfect. This can happen with the appearance of small air bubbles, which can form for four different reasons.
Insufficient soaking time
Paper-based wallpaper is prepared with cellulose which, like wood, reacts to moisture and water. When we apply adhesive paste to the back of our strip, it gradually expands, hence the reason for the recommended soaking time.
When this time is not reached, the paper will continue to expand once it has been placed on the wall, when it has absorbed all the liquid. This will create a wrinkled surface with some bubbles, as it will continue to grow in size.
We can also find air pockets in our wallpaper when the surface does not have the right conditions. For example, if the wall has a waterproof or plastic coating it does not generate the necessary adhesion, but the same is true at the opposite end. A very absorbent wall will leave the wallpaper without adhesive paste.
This is why the surface to be worked on must be prepared, to maximise the wallpaper's hold and to avoid unsightly elements.
Inadequate paste or poorly prepared mixture
Using materials that are not specific for wallpapering or mixing them differently from the manufacturer's instructions can lead to a lack of adhesive strength. This means the appearance of air pockets as the wallpaper will not be able to stick completely.
We must create an even layer of adhesive paste, which is neither too thick nor too thin. Proper distribution will prevent some areas from having too much paste and others from being completely dry.
Drying the wrong paper
Although you may think otherwise, there are several factors that affect the drying of wallpaper on the wall or ceiling. Draughts, temperatures that are too high or too low, excess humidity...
Always try to work at a temperature of about 15 degrees Celsius, in a cool room but where there is no constant draught. Ventilate the room every ten minutes to renew the air inside.
How to remove bubbles from wallpaper
We have already seen what to do to prevent air pockets from appearing on your wall, but sometimes it is impossible to achieve this completely. You should bear in mind that many of these bubbles may disappear when it is completely dry, but this may not be the case with all of them. We will now look at three methods to remove them:
Brush the bubbles towards the ends: If the wallpaper is not yet dry (and you suspect excess paste), use a dry cloth or a soft roller to direct these pockets outwards. Do not use brute force, as you may damage the paper, and remove the excess adhesive when you are done.
Inject adhesive paste into the bubbles: In the opposite case there are bubbles formed due to a lack of adhesive. If this is your case, get a wallpaper syringe (similar to a medical syringe, with a metal tip) and fill the inside with some paste. Allow the necessary soaking time and smooth the wallpaper in the direction of where you injected it.
Use a cutter or knife: For larger air pockets, the only solution is usually to cut in a cross shape with a wallpaper knife or cutter. Once you have opened the mark, apply a little paste and let it sit for as long as necessary before pressing from the corners towards the centre.