In this article, we’re going to look at how you can use lining paper to achieve the same finish as a newly plastered wall, without the cost or mess associated with hiring a plasterer or doing the job yourself.
Using lining paper this way hides small dents, hairline cracks and other marks you typically find on older walls. If you paint over a plastered wall full of blemishes and marks, the blemishes and marks are still visible.source
Achieving a good paintable finish on a bare wall using filler and sandpaper is a lot easier said than done.
I decided to remove the wallpaper from various walls in my home, then fill any holes and cracks, and sand the walls to obtain what I thought appeared to be a smooth surface ready for painting.
See also: Essential wallpapering tips
As soon as I started applying the paint it became obvious the finished look was going to be terrible. There was no way I could hide all the marks. In fact, painting over them made them more obvious!
I overcame the problem by using lining paper on every wall and I was very pleased with the results.
What is lining paper and why should you use it?
Essentially, lining paper is just plain old wallpaper without decoration.
Professional decorators use it for a number of reasons, including hiding imperfections on the wall, creating a nice, flat finish, reducing shrinkage, reducing staining, increasing durability and insulation.
Which grade lining paper do you need?
Lining paper comes in various grades, widths and roll lengths. You’ll be pleased to know it’s also relatively cheap and can be obtained from most decorating suppliers and DIY stores.
Expect to pay between £1.00 – £5.00 per roll for standard rolls.
Lining paper typically comes in the following grades and thickness:
- 800 – 0.21mm
- 1000 – 0.26mm
- 1200 – 0.30mm
- 1400 – 0.32mm
- 1700 – 0.35mm
- 2000 – 0.375mm
The rolls come in various lengths:
You should be able to find the standard sizes quite easily. If you’re looking for lining paper that’s low grade or high grade or you want a longer or wider roll, you might have to shop around to find a supplier (that’s what the internet’s for, right?).
For most jobs, the 1400 grade is probably the best one to use. It’s what I used to cover my walls.
They were reasonably flat but had lots of knock marks and old patches of emulsion on them. I found the 1400 lining paper like this one was easy to hang and of a suitable thickness to cover any slight discrepancies on the walls I wanted to paint.
Depending on the condition of your walls you may need to use a heavier or lighter grade lining paper.
Prepare your walls for lining paper
To achieve a good wall surface on which to hang the lining paper, fill all knock marks, holes and cracks using a filler knife and flexible filler.
Remove any loose plaster and re-plaster if necessary (this post explains how to do it if you’re not sure: how to repair cracked or damaged plaster on internal walls).
Go back over the filled areas several times as you won’t get them all on the first, and probably the second, pass.
Let the filler/plaster dry hard, then sand the wall down, concentrating on a small area at a time. Sand the filler level and remove any loose flecks of old paint and bits of wallpaper.
This does take time to do but it is well worth the effort.
I used an electric sander and sanding block (essential tools for every keen DIYer) to do this but you could always use a small block of timber wrapped with sandpaper.
Don’t forget to use dust sheets to cover furniture and floor coverings, and I would also recommend using safety goggles and a face mask to avoid breathing in any small particles of dust.
Keep children and pets clear of the walls/room being sanded down to avoid them breathing in any dust present in the air. Ventilate the room by opening windows. If possible, close the doors to adjacent rooms to avoid the dust spreading throughout your home.
If you have used a lot of filler or plaster to patch up the wall it is worthwhile ‘sizing’ the wall prior to hanging the lining paper.
‘Size’ is basically diluted wallpaper paste (the dilution ratio can usually be found on the packet), this is applied to the wall to stop the filler or plaster from removing too much water from the pasted piece of lining paper too quickly, and therefore reducing its adhesive properties.
Sizing a wall also allows you to slide the paper more easily into position when you start papering the wall.
How to hang lining paper before wallpapering – vertically or horizontally?
Lining paper is sometimes hung horizontally if it is being used as a base for wallpaper, but as I was using the lining paper to obtain a good surface for painting I hung the lining paper vertically just as you would when wallpapering a wall (see pasting and hanging post).
Should you decide to hang the lining paper horizontally across the wall, mark a level line, preferably with a chalk line and spirit level, see fig 1 below.
If your lining paper has a width of 24 inches (600mm) mark the line approximately 20 inches (500mm) below the ceiling, this should easily take into account any discrepancies in the existing ceiling level.
Measure the width of the wall and add 6 inches (150mm) to the length for trimming in the corners.
You will need two pairs of steps and a walk board or planks supported where necessary in order to reach the work area, the lining paper is pasted and folded in the same way as normal wallpaper (hanging wallpaper) the only difference being you are hanging the lining paper horizontally rather than vertically.
Safety tip :- Great care must be taken when working at height, especially as you will no doubt be concentrating on hanging the paper correctly rather than looking where you are placing your feet as you move along the walk board or planks. An assistant is invaluable, if only to watch your step for you and pass any decorating tools you may need.
As shown in fig 1 above, hang each piece of lining paper in position butting the joints together, try to ensure there are no overlaps as these will show through your wallpaper eventually and spoil the finished look.
How long should you wait before painting lining paper?
When all the strips of lining paper were hung in position, I allowed 24 hours for the lining paper to dry out.
I then filled any noticeable small gaps in the joints between the strips of lining paper using a filler knife and flexible filler. Where the joints had overlapped a little I cut out the excess paper using a Stanley/craft knife and filled the gap, again using the filler knife and flexible filler.
Allow the filler to dry out fully, then lightly sand the filler surface flat. If you are not happy with the finish, refill the joint and repeat the process until the joints have a level flat finish.
Now you can start to paint the wall and hopefully, you will be pleased with the results. I used an inexpensive base coat of white emulsion, as the first coat tends to soak into the lining paper, then finish off with two coats of coloured emulsion using a paint brush around the edges and a roller for the larger surface area.
Preparing the walls, filling the paper joints etc, does take quite a lot of time and patience, but the difference to the end result is very impressive and well worth all of your efforts. When I finished my walls, several of my family members thought the walls had been re-plastered prior to painting.
Hanging lining paper vertically (video)
If you’re using lining paper as a base for wallpaper, you typically hang it horizontally. If you’re using lining paper as a base for paint, hang it vertically.