Connect with us

Case Studies

Working With Wallcoverings Installers

Lessons in planning and communication from the WIA.



Last September, the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers (NGPP), now the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA,, held its National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, complete with classes that portrayed digitally printed products as the hottest items in the market. The digital printing process has allowed for true customization and, as a result, expansion into new markets, from retail to museum exhibitions. As more and more projects bring printers and installers together, industry differences can lead to costly miscommunication between the two. Here are some tips for bridging the gap.

How can you as a print provider form a great working relationship with your wallcovering installer? The first step is to understand the challenges wallcovering craftsmen and women face in today’s constantly evolving industry. As media changes, wall preparation products have and will continue to change. Today, installers are expected to work with any product – not just paper – and to do so properly and efficiently.

In their class “Un-Pasted Installation,” Phil Reinhard, Reinhard Wallcovering, Millville, New Jersey, and Cliff Hayes, Cliff Hayes Paperhanging Co., Beaver, Pennsylvania, noted strong similarities between digitally printed products and commercial wallcoverings. However, there are also very specific differences. One such barrier is terminology. Printers' terms, like “bleed” and “overlap,” may be unfamiliar to installers, so it's important for you to work together to avoid ambiguities in communication.

The planning process may also prove unfamiliar and more work-intensive for the installer. To smooth things out in the beginning, first obtain substrate specification and installation instruction guide sheets with useful information about wall preparation, adhesive selection, wet expansion rate, etc., all of which can affect the placement of the image. Then, provide a panel map that will help the installer identify the printed panels and the progress of their installation. Finally, have the installer confirm measurements, panel sizes, and the overall fit of the image. All information that can be gathered for use in the planning process can help to avoid an on-site disaster.

The planning process should also take the workspace into consideration. Will other trades need access to the general area of installation? Will scaffolding or lifts be used, and what are the safety concerns? Don’t forget to protect elements that cannot be removed from the work area.

Reinhard also notes that porosity and wall integrity are important factors, remembering that double cutting will be done. The introduction of wall- and paint-sealing primers, like Gardz, Draw Tite, or RX 35, is essential. The type of substrate will typically determine the degree of smoothness necessary on the wall surface. The substrate also determines adhesive selection. Generally speaking, a drier adhesive, like strippable clay, can achieve optimum adhesion. Note that some substrates need to soak for a long time in order to relax and expand; these might require a clear, non-staining premixed adhesive.


For more professional education classes and tips on working with installers, WIA’s 2015 National Convention and Vendor Showcase will be held September 10-13 at the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans.



Printvinyl Scored Print Media

New Printvinyl Scored wide-format print media features an easy-to-remove scored liner for creating decals, product stickers, packaging labels, and more. The precision-scored liner, with a 1.25” spacing on a 60” roll, guarantees a seamless and hassle-free removal process.

Promoted Headlines





Most Popular