How to Waterproof Wallpaper for Long-Lasting Walls? (Step-To-Step Guide)

Wallpaper is the best way to make dull walls interesting. If you’ve ever wanted a beach in your home or a forest in your bedroom, this is it. The right wallpaper lets you express yourself in any space. Except for those wet rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, that is. But fear not! Waterproofing wallpaper is actually pretty simple.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process, from selecting waterproof wallpaper to properly varnishing for maximum protection. 

The Right Wallpaper for Wet Areas

The first step to waterproofing success is choosing a wallpaper designed for moisture resistance. Don’t worry, you have plenty of fabulous options:

PVC Wallpaper: This plastic wallpaper is basically water’s worst enemy. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is incredibly moisture-resistant, making it ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms – anywhere splashes and humidity like to party.

Self-Adhesive Waterproof Wallpaper: Perfect for the DIY crowd, these peel-and-stick styles come with a built-in adhesive backing. No wallpaper paste required! Just stick ’em up and enjoy a seamless waterproof look.

3D Waterproof Wallpaper: Want to get dimensional? 3D wallpapers add mind-bending depth and can even help camouflage annoying wall flaws. They’re pricier but totally worth it for a wow-factor space.

Vinyl Waterproof Wallpaper: Another heavy-hitter against moisture, vinyl wallpapers defy water while offering endless patterns and colors to suit your style. They’re a fantastic option for bathrooms, kitchens and other humid areas.

Step 1: Prep that Surface

With your waterproof wallpaper selected, it’s time to prep the space! First, give those walls a serious cleaning – mop, wipe, whatever it takes to rid them of any dust or grime. You don’t want uninvited particles ruining your waterproof masterpiece.

Once sparkling, let the wallpaper hang out for 1-2 days to fully dry before moving to the next step. Patience is key!

Step 2: Smooth Out Imperfections

Now for a little wallpaper triage. Carefully inspect for any cracks, peels or lifted areas and do your best to smooth them out. These little imperfections can allow varnish to seep underneath, weakening the waterproof protection from within. Take your time on this critical repair step.

Step 3: Apply that Varnish

The waterproofing magic happens when you break out the varnish! There are typically three finishes to choose from:

Matte/Dead-Flat Varnish – A smooth, non-reflective finish with a luxurious velvet-like look.

High-Gloss Varnish – Hello, shine! This ultra-glossy finish adds a brilliant, mirror-like effect.

Satin Varnish – Not too flat, not too shiny, this happy medium has a soft, subtle sheen.

Once you’ve picked your desired finish (or finishes – layering is encouraged!), start brushing it onto the wallpaper in smooth, even strokes. Take your time and let each coat dry for 2-3 hours before adding the next.

Pro Tip: For max protection, try a high-gloss base layer topped with 2-3 coats of dead-flat varnish. Or experiment with combinations to achieve your dream look!

Step 4: Let it Cure

You’ve varnished to perfection – now exercise some patience and leave that wallpaper alone to fully cure for about a week. As tempting as it is to start using the space right away, disturbing the varnish before it’s set could ruin all your hard work. Grab a good book and wait it out!

Once that week is up, congratulations! You’ve officially waterproofed your wallpaper and can admire your handiwork. Those water-resistant walls are ready to withstand years of splashes, spills and steamy showers.

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