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Can peel and stick wallpaper be permanent?

Wallpaper can be a great way to add personality and style to a room. Peel and stick wallpaper, also known as removable wallpaper, allows you to easily change up your wall decor. But can this temporary wall covering become a more permanent fixture in your home? Here’s what you need to know about making peel and stick wallpaper last.

What is Peel and Stick Wallpaper?

Peel and stick wallpaper, as the name suggests, is a wallpaper that can be easily peeled off and reapplied. Here’s how it works:

  • It has an adhesive backing, so you can stick it directly onto your walls without needing wallpaper paste or glue.
  • The adhesive is designed to be removable, so you can slowly peel it off without damaging your walls.
  • It comes in rolls or panels, making it easy to apply.
  • It’s typically made from vinyl, non-woven fabrics, or paper.

The main benefits of peel and stick wallpaper are that it’s:

  • Removable
  • Reusable
  • Easy to apply
  • Cost-effective

This makes it a popular temporary wallcovering option for renters or homeowners who want to change up their decor frequently. But while it’s not designed to be permanent, there are ways to make peel and stick wallpaper stay on walls longer.

How Long Does Peel and Stick Wallpaper Last?

On average, peel and stick wallpaper will last:

  • 6 months to 1 year on smooth, primed walls
  • 3 to 6 months on textured, unprimed walls

However, this can vary based on:

Factor Description
Wall surface Lasts longer on smooth, primed walls versus textured, unprimed walls
Adhesive strength Some have stronger adhesives than others
Application Proper application helps it adhere better
Exposure to sunlight Direct sun can cause it to lift or peel
Humidity Humidity can affect adhesion over time
Traffic High-traffic areas may start to peel sooner

While most peel and stick wallpaper is designed to be temporary, there are ways to make it last longer and become a more permanent fixture.

Tips for Making Peel and Stick Wallpaper Permanent

Here are some tips to extend the life of your peel and stick wallpaper:

1. Prepare the Wall Surface

Take time to properly prepare your walls before application:

  • Clean the walls to remove dirt, grease, or existing wallpaper adhesive
  • Fill any holes or imperfections with spackle
  • Sand down bumpy areas
  • Prime the walls with a quality primer

This helps create a smooth, uniform surface for the wallpaper to stick to.

2. Use a Wallpaper Adhesive

Some brands recommend using a permanent wallpaper adhesive or glue to affix the peel and stick wallpaper. This better secures the wallpaper for the long term. Apply the adhesive to the back of the wallpaper rather than the wall itself.

3. Seal with Wallpaper Sealer

Once applied, go over the wallpaper with a clear acrylic wallpaper sealer. This adds a protective coat that helps keep humidity from loosening the adhesive bond over time.

4. Avoid Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can cause the wallpaper adhesive to dry out and the wallpaper to lift or peel. Hang peel and stick wallpaper out of direct sunlight whenever possible.

5. Apply Firm Pressure When Installing

Use a smoothing tool or roller to firmly press the wallpaper onto the wall during application. This helps maximize contact between the adhesive and wall surface.

6. Limit Humidity and Moisture

Humidity and steam from showers or cooking can loosen wallpaper adhesive over time. Use bathroom fans, avoid long steamy showers, and turn on kitchen fans when cooking to limit moisture exposure.

7. Handle With Care

Once installed, be gentle around the wallpapered walls. Don’t scrub or pick at the wallpaper. Limit wear and tear to keep it looking good.

How to Remove Peel and Stick Wallpaper

If you do want to remove your peel and stick wallpaper after a period of time, here are some tips for safe removal:

  • Slowly peel off at a 45 degree angle.
  • Apply heat with a hairdryer or heat gun to loosen adhesive as you peel.
  • Use a plastic putty knife or spatula to help lift edges.
  • Spray walls with water mixed with a small amount of dish soap to help saturate adhesive.
  • Take your time removing to avoid wall damage.
  • Use adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol to remove leftover adhesive residue.

Test removal in a small area first before tackling the entire wall.

Pros and Cons of Permanent Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Making peel and stick wallpaper permanent has both advantages and disadvantages:

Pros Cons
Long-lasting look Harder to remove later
Withstands wear and tear May damage walls when removing
Holds up to humidity Can’t easily change style
Easier to clean More expensive upfront cost

For many homeowners, the pros of having wallpaper that lasts for years outweighs the temporary nature of standard peel and stick wallpaper. But weigh your options carefully depending on your plans for the space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does all peel and stick wallpaper eventually peel off?

Yes, all peel and stick wallpaper will eventually peel and come off walls over time, even high-quality wallpaper. But properly preparing surfaces, using adhesives, limiting moisture, and gently cleaning can significantly extend its lifespan before peeling or removal is needed.

How long does it take for peel and stick wallpaper to lose its stickiness?

On average, peel and stick wallpaper will stay fully sticky for about 1 year on primed walls and 6 months on unprimed walls. Gradually the adhesive will weaken resulting in peeling, typically starting around edges, seams, and high-humidity areas.

Can you get peel and stick wallpaper wet?

It’s best to avoid getting peel and stick wallpaper excessively wet as moisture can impact the adhesive and cause bubbling or peeling. Quick wipe downs are fine but avoid soaking the wallpaper with steam, condensation, or direct contact with water.

The Bottom Line

Peel and stick wallpaper can become a more permanent fixture in your home with proper preparation, installation, and maintenance. While no peel and stick wallpaper will stay up forever, taking key steps help strengthen adhesion and prevent premature peeling or removal. Consider your plans for the space before deciding to make your temporary wallpaper more permanent.