Tips For Easily Removing Wallpaper

Stripping off that old wallpaper

Or, “Why did I ever put that up?”

Most homes built in the 80’s and 90’s have wallpaper in them somewhere. I know, because I installed a lot of it in Northwest Arkansas during those years. But, like the hairdos of the 60’s, we are ready to put that behind us. So, how do you remove wallpaper?

To start with, be assured that what went up can come down. Some of it is just a little more difficult. Do yourself a favor and go to Lowe’s or The Home Depot and buy a wallpaper steamer.It will cost you about $50.00 to $75.00. This is the secret sauce, the Genie in the Bottle, the magic wand. With this tool, most wallpaper will submit and turn loose the death grip it has on the walls.

The reason most wallpaper will not strip easily is that nobody wanted to use a primer on the sheet rock before hanging the wallpaper. And some even thought if they used a wall size, that would do the trick. Well guess what, it did the trick alright. Wall size just made it stick even more. So, get the steamer and a 6 inch metal scraper and this should help remove the wallpaper.

When you use the steamer, the wallpaper will peel off of the wall down to the sheet rock. Sometimes the front layer of the wallpaper will peel off and then you can soak down the backing that is left. Do this with a pump up sprayer with a wallpaper mixture in it and pull or scrape the backing off. Take your time, and try not to gouge the wall too much. Each time you gouge, you have to fix it. More work.

Use a wallpaper stripper solution in the sprayer as mentioned above. NOT VINEGAR, NOT SOAP! You can buy wallpaper stripper in a concentrate. It was created for just such an occasion. It will work better than anything else you might be tempted to use.

Sometimes, though rarely,wallpaper just will not strip off. In such an instance, you will have to skim over the top of the wallpaper, particularly, at the seams with sheet rock compound to make it smooth. This is because if you just paint over the wallpaper, you will see the seams. They will just be a different color.

After you have stripped the wallpaper or skimmed over it, you will need to texture the walls. This will produce a look that we all desire on our walls. All walls are textured with one type of finish or another. Once this is done, a good coat of primer and 2 coats of paint and you are finished. It is hard work, but the result is a room or home with “up to date” wall finishes.

Some wallpaper is coming back in style, but it is expensive. And, the more expensive the paper, the more expensive the installation. The sad truth is that as a wallpaper installer, there is no way I am going to install $100.00 a single roll wallpaper for $20.00 bucks. I do not think that wallpaper will ever come back into style or be as popular as it was before. I know, bell bottom pants are back and those colors of the 60’s are in, but wallpaper has received the death stroke in my humble opinion. And painted walls are much easier to change than wallpaper. There are some borders with themes on them for kids rooms, but no one carry’s wallpaper in stock anymore. That’s a clue.

Well, on with the subject at hand. Make this a family project and get as much help as you can. Most rooms can be stripped, textured, primed and painted in 3 to 4 days by the “DIY”. Professionals are much faster, so you might consider how much your time is worth. Try not to stress out and just work at a steady pace. No paper tigers!! It is a tool that is on the market that claims to assist in stripping wallpaper. All it does, is damage your walls. Save your money. Use the steps and tools I have mentioned, and you will get the results you want.

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