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How to wallpaper a stairwell without scaffolding

by | Mar 1, 2023

Wallpapering a stairwell without scaffolding can be a difficult task, but there are a few tricks to make it easier. For examples of stairwells, click here to see what mean.

Before getting into the main tutorial make sure you have followed the steps you can take to make things easier for yourself including using a friend’s and help you and making sure you have bought repositionable wallpaper paste.

How to prepare yourself to wallpaper a wall

Follow the below steps to make sure you’re able to wallpaper a stairwell effectively without scaffolding. This is true for adding wallpaper to a wall in general but be sure to follow these suggestions as they can get difficult with stairwells.

Preparing the wall

Stairwells often have mounted objects such as pictures or photos on the wall so it is a good idea to remove these before you begin. In addition, you may also have handrails or bannisters that also prevent you from wallpapering effectively.

Before you begin, it is a mandatory step to remove these things from the wall before you begin the process of wallpapering. If not, you may have to re-glue a wall and scrape off to dispose of the glue as it would have dried by the time you find a new place to add the wallpaper.

putting up wallpapaer without scaffolding

Putting coverings on the wall

When putting down wallpaper you may find that the angle of the stairs makes it hard to create a cut in the paper that will leave a finish without any gaps.

Therefore, before you put down any paper it is a good idea too to mark in pencil on the wall where you think the wallpaper strips will end up.

Preparing for tall walls

One of the problems with stairwells is that the height from the top of the ceiling to the bottom of the stairwell can be extremely long. Often, this is longer than the length of the wallpaper.

Hence, you need to make a note of the maximum length of a wallpaper and make sure you are not applying adhesive to places where the wallpaper will not fall on.

Generally, it is easier if you start in the higher part of a wall and work your way down as the lower parts are much easier to do.

But due to the methods in the following steps, you may  have to go against this methodology and start from the bottom.

Wallpapering with a paint pole

Next, comes the step of wallpapering without scaffolding. The process involves you buying a certain set of tools that allow you to place wallpaper without compromising how professional the job is done.

Tools you will need to wallpaper without scaffolding

Before you begin, it is vital you have all the correct equipment available to you in order to do the job correctly.  In this process, you will be using long tools to stand on the stairs and wallpaper up a wall.

Therefore, tools like the paint pole and line edger which should be bought as long as possible are mandatory in order to complete this tutorial.

  • Paint pole
  • Line edger
  • Long roller
  • Wallpaper scissors

Begin by applying wallpaper paste

A head wall is the tallest wall on a stairwell in most cases. Therefore, you should start here. Begin by using a long roller to apply the wallpaper paste to the wall as high as you can.

In order to get to the edges of the wall where it meets the ceiling you may need to use your paint pole which is a paint brush on the edge of a long pole that you get to the harder to reach corners of the wall.

It is recommended to do this in strips, applying glue for one wallpaper strip at a time. This ensures the glue that you apply doesn’t dry before you get around to applying the wallpaper.

Cut the wallpaper sheets

In order to glue the wallpaper to the wall, you need to cut out the precise length of the wallpaper beforehand because it is very difficult to cut paper when it is glued to the wall and out of reach.

To measure the wallpaper and what you should cut it, using a tape measure stretch the length of the tape measure up to meet the ceiling and don’t stop until it hits there. Then using the other end of the tape measure see where it hits the stair.

Apply the wallpaper

Wallpaper can be added to the glue in this step.  

Using the roller, start at the bottom of the stairwell and carefully press the wallpaper sheets you cut in the previous step against the wall and work your way up, pushing out any bubbles as you go.  

If you have followed the previous steps correctly your wallpaper should sit flush against the ball and a line perfectly using the measurements you have done.

You can start from the top or the bottom of the wall but it is useful to note that if you start from the bottom you may end up with a gap at the very top if you haven’t measured precisely.

man using ladder for scaffolding

Create scaffolding with wooden boards and scaffolding

If you don’t want to buy or hire scaffolding, there is a chance you already have the equipment in your house to create your own. But, if you do want to hire scaffolding, click here.

If you have access to a couple of ladders and some wooden boards, you can set them up accordingly to make sure you can step on the wooden boards and access the hardest to reach places on your stairwell.

As you go about doing this you may need to temporarily nail boards into the floor to secure ladders in the palace and prevent them from slipping.

If you don’t do this, ladders could fall as you climb on the scaffolding you’re making and this could result in severe injury, especially if you’re high up and there is the potential to fall down the stairs. 

You may want to use this method to remove wallpaper instead because using long poles attached to tools is probably not sufficient to scrape it away. Using some sugar soap here too could also be an option for you.

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Donnell Bailey

Property expert

Donnell is a property expert focusing on the property market, he looks at a combination of legislation, information from property managers, letting agents and market trends to produce information to help landlords.