The inevitable has happened. The wallpaper failed. Turns out, it wasn’t our walls or wall prep that were the problem — or at least they weren’t the sole source of the problem. Unfortunately, the wrong type of adhesive was used in the paper’s application. The instructions that came with the wallpaper state that a heavy-duty, low-water-content vinyl adhesive is supposed to be used with this type of wallpaper. Instead, our contractor used a thin water-based adhesive.
The only areas that successfully adhered to the walls were (ironically) those that failed immediately after the wallpaper was installed. Our contractor reattached those areas using a heavy-duty vinyl-to-vinyl wallpaper paste. In the end, we had 90 percent failure (where the water-based adhesive was used) and 10 percent success (where the vinyl paste was used).
A 90 percent fail is still a complete fail where wallpaper is concerned. And to make our fail even worse, the areas glued back on with vinyl adhesive required a great deal of time and effort to remove because they adhered to the wall so effectively.
I removed all the paper over the weekend and have started priming the walls with two coats of white-pigmented shellac. Then we’ll have the walls skim-coated so they are ready for paint. I don’t think I’ll ever choose to have wallpaper in another house after this experience. Between the paper and labor for this room, coupled with the time and expense of removing the paper and starting over with bare walls, we’ve wasted thousands of dollars — money we couldn’t spare and didn’t anticipate spending.