How To Fix Bubbling Wallpaper?

Don’t Let Bubbles Burst Your Bubble: Fixing Air Pockets in Wallpaper

Wallpapering your home can be a transformative experience, adding a touch of personality and style to any room. But encountering air bubbles during the hanging process can be frustrating and put a damper on your project. Fear not, fellow wallpaper enthusiast! This comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge and techniques to tackle those pesky air pockets and achieve a smooth, flawless finish.

Understanding Air Bubbles: Why They Happen

Air pockets can form under wallpaper for several reasons:

  • Improper Surface Preparation: A dusty, greasy, or uneven wall surface prevents the wallpaper adhesive from fully adhering, creating pockets for air to get trapped.
  • Uneven Application of Paste: Inconsistent or insufficient adhesive application can leave areas where the wallpaper doesn’t fully bond to the wall, allowing air to become trapped underneath.
  • Trapped Air During Hanging: If you don’t squeegee out air pockets as you smooth the wallpaper onto the wall, air can become trapped between the wallpaper and the surface.

Prevention is Key: Avoiding Air Bubbles in the First Place

Taking preventative measures during wallpapering is the best way to minimize air bubbles:

  1. Surface Prep is Paramount: Ensure your wall surface is clean, dry, and free of dust, grease, or loose debris. Wash the wall with a mild detergent solution and allow it to dry completely before hanging wallpaper. For uneven surfaces, consider using filler to create a smooth canvas.
  2. Adhesive Application Matters: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your chosen wallpaper adhesive. Apply the paste evenly to the back of the wallpaper, ensuring a consistent coat across the entire surface. Pay particular attention to the edges and corners.
  3. Squeegee with Care: As you hang the wallpaper strip, use a wallpaper smoothing tool or a clean, damp cloth to gently but firmly press the wallpaper onto the wall, starting from the center and working outwards. This motion squeegees out any trapped air bubbles.

Pro Tip: Invest in a high-quality wallpaper smoothing tool. These tools come in various materials like plastic or felt and are designed to effectively smooth out wallpaper and eliminate air bubbles without damaging the material.

Battling Existing Bubbles: Techniques for Taming Trapped Air

Even with the best intentions, air bubbles can sometimes sneak in. Here’s how to address them:

  1. The Gentle Press: For small air bubbles, a gentle but firm press with your smoothing tool or a clean cloth can often push the air out towards the edges of the wallpaper. Work from the center of the bubble outwards.
  2. The Pin Prick Approach: For more stubborn bubbles, a small pinprick can be used to release the trapped air. Carefully insert a straight pin perpendicularly through the bubble and into the wall. Don’t push the pin too far, just enough to create a tiny hole. Then, use your smoothing tool to gently press out the air bubble, working from the hole outwards. Wipe away any excess adhesive that may seep out with a damp cloth.

Pro Tip: When using the pinprick approach, place a small piece of clear tape over the hole after smoothing out the bubble. This helps prevent the wallpaper from tearing at the pinhole and ensures a clean finish.

  1. Syringe Solution: For larger air bubbles or those that persist after the pinprick method, a syringe can be a handy tool. Fill a clean syringe with some of the leftover wallpaper adhesive. Carefully insert the needle’s tip (without the plunger depressed) into the bubble, pushing it through the wallpaper and into the space between the wallpaper and the wall. Slowly inject a small amount of adhesive through the needle. Withdraw the needle and then use your smoothing tool to press out the air bubble, working from the injection point outwards. Wipe away any excess adhesive with a damp cloth.

Important Note: Always test any technique on a small, inconspicuous area of the wallpaper first to ensure it doesn’t damage the material or cause discoloration.

Beyond the Basics: Additional Tips for Success

  • Work in Sections: Don’t try to hang a large section of wallpaper at once. Focus on manageable sections, allowing you to carefully smooth out any air bubbles as you go.
  • Sharp Tools are Key: Use a sharp utility knife to trim excess wallpaper at the edges. A dull knife can snag or tear the wallpaper.
  • Patience is a Virtue: Don’t rush the process. Take your time to ensure proper surface preparation, even adhesive application, and meticulous smoothing to minimize air bubbles.
  • Consider a Seam Roller: A seam roller, a specialized tool for pressing wallpaper seams together, can also be helpful for smoothing out any air pockets that may form along the seams.