How to Repair Peeling Wallpaper
It can be tricky to get wallpaper properly secured the first time unless you're a professional. If you've just wallpapered part of your home, or have moved into a new home with some wallpapered rooms, and you find that it's coming away from the wall, you will be wondering if there's any way to fix it. Fortunately, repairing loose wallpaper is much easier than you may think.
Step 1 - Assess the Situation
Peeling is nearly always caused by poor adhesive application, with seams and edges being the most common culprits. Make sure you check over the entire room to identify all areas where the wallpaper is coming off the wall. In some situations, your adhesive can also fail in the middle of a piece and the wallpaper will bubble in the middle. While fixing bubbles is a bit more complicated than edges, it's still a very manageable repair.
Step 2 - Peel Back Edges and Glue
For loose edges, start by pulling the wallpaper away from the wall. Continue to pull until you reach the point at which the peeling ends and the rest is still securely attached. Next, take a small paintbrush and apply a thin layer of repair glue to the loose piece's back end. Applying too much glue is liable to result in the formation of air bubbles, so when performing this step, thinness is key. Once your glue has been properly applied, firmly press the loose piece of paper back into place, and wipe away any excess adhesive.
Step 3 - Tighten the Seal
Having reattached the loose paper, you will now need to gently smooth it out with the aid of a damp sponge. Get rid of any air bubbles and run a seam roller over the newly reattached piece of paper in an up-down motion.
Next, place pieces of painter's tape along the sides of the paper piece. Allow it to sit for 24 hours. Once your adhesive has had ample time to dry, remove the tape. Should the peeling reoccur, repeat the re-gluing process.
Step 4 - Add Adhesive to Flatten Bubbles
If you have a lot of bubbles in your wallpaper, you should consider stripping it completely and laying new pieces instead. On the other hand, for just a bubble or two, you can simply use adhesive to smooth them back down.
Run your hands over bulges so you can determine whether they are filled with air or whether they are the result of debris trapped beneath. If it is nothing but air, you can use a wallpaper adhesive syringe to inject some glue into it, and then just smooth it down as you would normally. In the case of vinyl wallpaper, you will have to cut into the bubble with a small utility knife, in an "X" pattern. Peel back the edges slightly and apply new adhesive underneath with a small paintbrush. Then, smooth over it again with a damp sponge and wipe away any excess adhesive.
Debris beneath the wallpaper will need to be cut out. Slice into the wallpaper in an "X" pattern like before, and scrape out whatever is causing the bubble. Paint the back side of the paper with adhesive before smoothing it into place with the roller.
The next time you have a problem with loose wallpaper, just remember these easy steps and you'll be able to complete the job in a timely and stress-free fashion.