Liner papers are applied to a wall before wallcovering is applied. Most types of liners are used to cover up the roughness of a bad wall and to bridge cracks. These are known as bridging liners.
When high end pulp papers are used, the type of liner paper specified by the manufacturer is called blankstock liner. This liner is not like the “bridging liners” often composed of polyester, non woven material, reinforced plaster, or fabric backed vinyl. Blankstock liner is plain absorbent paper, usually manila colored, and it is almost always described as “crosslining” in British sample books. Traditionally, the British like to hang blankstock horizontally, but in the USA lots of professionals hang it vertically as well as horizontally. The main thing is to position the seams of the pattern paper so they never line up with a seam of the blankstock underneath. Among the British manufacturers that call for this added installation step are Sanderson, Osborne & Little, Cole & Son, Farrow & Ball, Zoffany, Brunschwig & Fils to name a few.
Blankstock lining is used for four reasons:
1. It is absorbent paper. It wicks up the moisture from the British pulps and helps to avoid watermarking or paste staining on the pattern wallpaper.
2. Pulp papers expand when wet and exert a shrink tension on the wall as they dry. If they are hung on a wall that has a layer of cheap paint on it (or even a wall with a bad coat of paint several layers beneath the current one) the tension can slowly pull the bad layer off and pop the seams. Blankstock acts as a surface strengthener since the pulp paper on top bonds to the blankstock below to form an extremely strong lamination.
3. It serves to act as a smooth under layment to hide wall roughness and “orange peel”—the existing paint texture left by paint that was applied by roller.
4. Many high end manufacturers call for it in their hanging instructions and will not warranty their product if it is not used.
Blankstock does add to the cost of a job. Wallcovering installers usually supply the blankstock material since they often have brand preferences. Even though the room needs to be wallpapered with blankstock before the pattern paper is applied, most paperhangers charge a reduced rate for wallpapering with blankstock.
A great online source for blankstock liner can be found at www.wallliner.com.