How To Use Fibre Lining Paper on a Cracked Ceiling

I wanted to share a product which we used at a client’s property recently, just because it was so darned good and I think you’ll like it too, especially you reader-renovators working on period properties with all their cracks and fissures. It’s been around for a few years but because I’m not a full time, every week decorator, I haven’t had call to use it before now.

Say hello to your new best mate – fibre lining wallpaper, designed to cover a multitude of dodgy plaster sins. Now I’ve used regular lining paper before, but on his supplies shopping foray Mr M came back waving this roll at me, saying our go-to indie decorating store has recommended it for the job. I suspect that meant he’d been in there having a moan about all the cracks on the ceiling he thought he’d have to fill and they found him a solution….

Wallrock 75 Fibre Paper.jpg

There are other fibre liner brands on the market but this is the Wallrock one we bought so this is the one I’m telling you about. It was just under £18 and 75cm wide by 15m long, making it double the coverage of the average wallpaper roll. Wider widths help if you’re wallpapering over the top of the liner as the paper joins are in different places, plus obviously they’re faster to cover a room with!

Ok, why was it recommended? This is why. The ceiling from hell. There were literally cracks everywhere. Part of the room had been re-skimmed, part not, part was lath and plaster, part was covered with patchy dried adhesive. The sort of ceiling which can make grown decorators cry, especially when they were expecting it to be prepped for painting…

IMG_4142There was no budget or time to strip everything back and re-skim, plus also the original mouldings were in great condition, though under many layers of cheap paint. Skimming would have ruined the edges of the mouldings and the whole thing would take days to address with filler and sanding paper. Days we didn’t have.

One solution to these types of horror walls and ceilings is lining paper but regular lining paper can struggle to cover the worse type of cracks or imperfections, especially lower grade papers (under 1000). If the walls move, as they can in some old houses, then the paper can split and tear over time. Higher grade paper (1400 to 2000) is thicker but can be pretty unwieldy to work with and best left to professionals in my opinion, unless you’re a super capable DIYer.

Step up fibre lining paper. Made from (usually) wood pulp consisting of short fibres of wood, the fibres allow flexibility  and extra strength, plus gives super coverage of flaws. The Wallrock brand which Mr M brought back has longer fibres which are meant to give even more flexibility and tear prevention, plus all the wood/paper is sourced sustainably.IMG_4171Unlike many lining papers, the Wallrock 75 is paste the wall – or ceiling! – meaning an easier life for the decorator. No faffing around soaking papers or folding wet rolls over your head. For someone with a bad back that’s a big bonus!

I found it REALLY easy to work with. I mean really easy. Did I say really easy? I’m a professional renovator but I don’t decorate every day and the competent amateur can nail this product. It cut beautifully and I had no problems getting the curves of the ceiling mouldings spot on. We’d rough sanded the ceiling to remove bigger lumps but didn’t bother filling hairline cracks as there was simply no point. Just like lining paper, this stuff doesn’t wave a magic wand to make bumps disappear and good prep is still key, but it’s the covering of the cracks which brings it into it’s own.

The below image is 24hrs after lining the ceiling and after one coat of Valspar ‘Lancelot’, hence the slight patchiness. Well impressed with the finish and smooth surface though, and did I say I found it easy to use? 😉

IMG_4193Lots of you who send me messages via social media are renovating older houses and are working with budgets which don’t always allow for full replastering. I feel your pain after my own three year and still working on it reno. On a still sound plaster wall which maybe just has lots of cracks or surface imperfections, I’d really recommend this product.

Here’s a word of caution re fibre papers however. I’ve used it on this ceiling in a room with very little natural light so the ‘problem’ didn’t really arise, but if you use it on well lit walls, remember that there are fibres in the paper which can show up. Some decorators don’t like the very lightly textured finish which fibrous paper gives, so there is a more expensive Wallrock Premium range which gives a surface finish like skimmed plaster. Alternatively you can cross line it with regular paper then paint but that seems a bit excessive to me. Some decorators recommend a coat of paint over the fiberliner then a light glass paper sand. Anyway, it’s something to consider when you make your choice.

I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it again on a similar job or for a ropey wall and have no hesitation recommending it to you guys. I paid full price for it and this isn’t a review post as I’d never even heard of Wallrock before I stood for three hours with their paper over my head. Let me know if any of you have tried it and what you think, or if you’ve anything to add!

Happy decorating 🙂

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