How to seal the seams of vinyl wallpaper?

by Marie

We are renovating our guest bathroom. We put up vinyl wallpaper along the tub/shower wall. I am not worried about the wallpaper itself getting wet because it is vinyl and water resistant. I am concerned about water getting in between the seams and the paper lifting.

I researched varnish and sealant and found that an oil based varnish will not adhere to vinyl, and water based will eventually bubble and peal.

Now I am wondering if there is a glue I can run down the seams that will not dry glossy and can be easily applied? Would modge podge work? What would a boat builder use on the submerged part of a boat that is not caulk-like?

If I can find a solution I would like to do this again when we renovate the master bath.

  16 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Sep 30, 2021

    Hi Marie, a boat builder would use an epoxy resin so that might work for you in this case too.

    • Marie Marie on Sep 30, 2021

      Thank you I'm afraid epoxy resin may be to glossy.

  • William William on Sep 30, 2021

    Never heard of sealing the seams of wallpaper. If you butted the seams together the adhesive should hold. They sell wood/plastic rollers to go over the seams. I have an old wood roller my dad used and I have used. I also found a credit card held at a 45 degree angle works. There is a possibility seams can lift over time then just some glue behind the separation and smooth with a credit card. Wipe off any squeeze out.

    • Marie Marie on Sep 30, 2021

      Thank you William I just might not bother with the seams until they begin to lift. I can't seem to find an easier answer. So maybe their isn't one.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Sep 30, 2021

    Get your self some silicone seal it’s water proof and you just rub it on it’s in a bottle like sho polish

    • Marie Marie on Oct 01, 2021

      When it dries is there a sheen or does it dry clear?

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Sep 30, 2021

    Use a small amount of wall paper adhesive

  • 17335038 17335038 on Oct 01, 2021

    If the wallpaper panels have been installed properly and are not overlapping anywhere, just butting up against each other, as William noted, there should not be any additional reason to seal them.

    I agree that pressing over the seams with a narrow rubber (not plastic) brayer would not be a bad idea.

    It is not clear however where exactly 'along' refers to as to where you put up the paper. I hope that it is not inside the tub/shower area.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Oct 01, 2021

    The only way I could think to do this would be to take flat furring strips and cover them with the vinyl wall paper and nail them to the walls (have seen this technique in mobile homes) at the seams of each border of wall paper. The seam of the wall paper on the furring strips would be on the underside of them. As other Hometalkers have said, there is really no need to seal them.

  • Wallpaper, including vinyl, doesn't need to be sealed. If you go the seams tight together and adhered well, you should be good to go for a good long while. Just try to keep water off of it as best you can in general and you'll be fine.

    • Marie Marie on Oct 01, 2021

      I am hoping so. Like I said if this works I plan to do the same in the master bath. It's so much easier and less expensive then tile.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Oct 01, 2021

    I used glue for pre pasted wallpaper and have never had any issues, even in a bathroom that has zero ventilation.

  • Dee Dee on Oct 01, 2021

    If the wallpaper was installed correctly with the proper paste you should not have to worry about the sealms. I Had vinyl in my bathroom for years never had problems even with very hot showers

  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 01, 2021

    Acrylic Wallpaper Sealer

    Clear, acrylic wallpaper sealer coats the whole surface with a water-resistant film that bonds with wallpaper, doesn’t stain and, in some cases, leaves no visible evidence. The best time to seal wallpaper is right after it’s installed. Tight seams and no surface buildup gives acrylic the best chance to bond and keep the wallpaper looking new. Manufactured by several major paint brands, acrylic sealer comes in cans like paint and rolls on with a paint roller. A short-nap or foam roller with light pressure and slow strokes applies sealer evenly without introducing air bubbles. If bubbles appear, popping them with a toothpick before the sealer dries keeps the surface uniform. Shiny or matte, sealer resists damage from cleaning and keeps water out.

    Clear Acrylic Panel

    In high-use areas where water is a constant issue, the best protection might be installing a clear sheet of acrylic over the wallpaper. Home-improvement centers sell acrylic sheets in different thicknesses, and usually cut them in the same area where glass is sold. Measure the area that you need to protect, and the retailer cuts it to your specifications. Installing clear acrylic requires a few screws or mirror-mounting corner brackets. For screws, you’ll drill pilot holes through the acrylic near the edges. Whether screws or mirror brackets mount the acrylic, clear silicone seals all edges to keep water from seeping underneath.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 02, 2021

    You could try Mod Podge or use vinyl lathes down the joins as part of decoration!

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Oct 04, 2021

    Hi Marie, you could use a silicone sealer between the seams.

  • Marie Marie on Oct 28, 2021

    Thank you Betsy

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 13, 2022

    I have heard of people using seam sealer on grass cloth wall paper.