Wallpapering has come a long way since it was first used, thank goodness! Now we have paper that is easier to put up and take down. But they haven’t found a way to prevent peeling, bubbling and a few other issues that us paper-hangers have to deal with. Here are a few tips that can help you correct some of these pesky paper problems.

Loose and peeling edges probably are the most common issue. If you can carefully remove any of the old adhesive from the back side of the paper and the wall, do so. Sometimes a razor can help you do this. Just don’t cut or tear the paper. Then, use a small paintbrush to apply more wallpaper paste to both surfaces and press it back into place. Use a seam roller for better contact and adhesion.

An air bubble is easy to fix. Just fill a syringe with wallpaper adhesive and puncture the bubble with the needle and squirt a little adhesive into the space. Then use a seam roller to push it back into place.

Cleaning wallpaper is a little more difficult and depends upon the type of paper it is. Dust it to remove any loose dirt. Use a damp sponge in an inconspicuous place. If it doesn’t stain the paper, then use it where the dirt is. A Magic Eraser is a great tool, used carefully, to remove dirt.

Small tears can be glued back into place if the paper is still there. Just use wallpaper adhesive and a seam roller to press it back into place.

Larger tears need to be patched. Hopefully you still have some scraps of paper to use. If there is a pattern, cut a scrap of paper larger than the damaged area and matching the pattern. Use masking tape to place the patch over the damaged area, matching the pattern exactly, and then use an X-acto knife to cut through both layers of paper. Pull the patch off, then the damaged paper and then glue the patch in place. Roll it with the seam roller.

Spreading seams might be camouflaged with a small paintbrush and some matching paint. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but it will work.


Q: I’ve had ceiling fans for years and never thought about reversing them during the winter. Heck, some of them might already be reversed and I don’t even know it. Which direction should they be going, how can you tell and what does it actually do? – C.F.

A: During hot times of the year, you want the blades to push the air straight down from the ceiling, directly on you to help cool you down. But during the winter, you want the air to be pulled up and then pushed back down at the edge of the walls. Turn the fan on a slow speed and use a stick of incense to test the air flow to make sure it’s right for this time of the year.


Q: We have a canvas patio awning. We took it down this winter to make some repairs and to see if we could clean it. Is there something in particular that can be used to clean dark stains from it? – R.B.

A: Spot treat with warm water and dishwashing liquid. After it has dried, add a layer of fabric protector to the whole thing to help it continue to resist moisture. Good luck.


One common problem inside the house during the winter months is low humidity. It causes floors to creak, wallpaper and paint to peel, static electricity and dry skin.

Honeywell has a Cool Moisture Humidifier that looks very nice, doesn’t have a filter to clean or change and fits under a faucet easily for refilling. It can run continuously for up to 48 hours between fillings and shuts off automatically when it’s empty. Check it out at to find out if it might be a solution for your dry environment this winter.