As people search the internet with questions about wallpaper removal or about wallpaper border removal, you will often see people ask about ‘wallpaper glue’.
Well; in general, that is a misnomer. For, you see, wallcoverings are most usually put up onto walls, ceilings and other surfaces (like columns) with ‘wallpaper paste’. There is a huge and important difference between ‘paste’ and ‘glue’ – one that may impact your wallpaper removal situation.
This is the most common means of securing wallcovering of all types to any surface. Wallpaper pastes are water-based and are SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to permit later removal through use of water / moisture.
Wallpaper pastes fall into several groups:
- Cellulose-based dry mixes
- Wheat-based dry mixes
- Clay-based ‘pre-mixed’ pastes (water and other additives have already been added and this is sold in 1 gallon to 5 gallon cans)
- Wheat-based ‘pre-mixed’ pastes (water and other additives have already been added and this is sold in 1 gallon and 5 gallon cans)
Wallpaper ‘glue’ is a rather recent development and is primarily of two types:
Seam adhesive is meant to help hold the edges of wallcoverings in difficult bonding situations such as on an inside corner where wallcovering materials overlap about 1/4″. Quite often, wallcoverings (other than plain paper) do not ‘stick’ to each other when using plain paste… this is most true with vinyls, foils, some fabrics, etc. Vinyl adhesive, although not ‘sticky’ when first applied, does dry into a very good bond that is similar to ‘white glue’ – and, like white glue – is water resistant / water proof.
Border adhesive is meant to enable one to hang a border over another wallcovering that ordinary wallpaper paste will not ‘stick’ to, such as: vinyls, foils, some fabrics, etc. Border adhesive often dries with the consistency of ‘rubber cement’ – and, like rubber cement – is water resistant / water proof.
PLEASE NOTE: Very often, wallpaper borders have been incorrectly hung using ‘Border adhesive’ directly upon painted wall surfaces. This is NOT what this material was made for! It is an incorrect use by the paper hanger. Your border is now ‘glued’ onto your walls and must be handled in one of two special ways as outlined in my E-book under WALLPAPER BORDER REMOVAL and under When Bad Things Happen to Good People