A.Tish Iorio, a member of the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers and owner of Creative Endeavors in Annapolis, Md., responds: Drywall has a paper face, so wallcovering pastes adhere to it just as well as they do to wallpaper. Unless drywall has been properly primed, wallpaper paste doesn't have the ability to release from it when it is rewetted, resulting in the damage you describe.

Designed to be nonrewettable, wallcovering primers contain acrylic polymers that provide a barrier between the paste and the paper face while at the same time promoting adhesion of the wallcovering to the wall. They are more expensive than regular paint primers, which are designed mainly to provide a uniform wall color (usually white) that won't...

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