Friday, May 7, 2010

House Renovations - Wallpaper Nightmare

Are you trying to remove wallpaper?

We just finished room after room of removing wallpaper, and we developed some great tips along the way!

We purchased a fixer upper to do some renovations on, and all the walls were stuck in the 80's, with the shiny stripes and pink borders and blue trim, complete with the puffy fabric valances that matched the pattern of the wallpaper. I am sure this was expensive at the time, and felt bad destroying it, but it was time!

We started off purchasing all those expensive concoctions that are suppose to remove wallpaper. You know the ones, the bottles with the pictures of people who don't look like they have done any work, all made up with perfect fingernails, pulling back the wallpaper with ease after using these products!

NOT, this did nothing for us. Maybe for others, or for different wallpaper, but not for us.

We went searching online, in hardware stores, and asked everyone we knew, and we were almost to the point of having the drywall taken down, and taking this house renovation back to the stud walls, when I came across two ideas that seem to work well.

1. STEAMER. You can purchase these or rent them. We chose to purchase it, since we had so many rooms to deal with. Every room including closets were wallpapered.

You fill the steamer with water, and wait for it to boil like a kettle, then they give you this plate (plastic or metal, your pick) and you place it over the wallpaper and after scoring the wallpaper a bit, the steam gets in behind.

This worked well in a few rooms. The floor in the center, filled with HUGE mounds of discarded bits of wallpaper. At least with the steamer, we were able to remove big pieces rather that the chewing gum sized ones from before with the wallpaper removal stuff. Although be ready for a bit of a steam bath, not the day to get your hair done!

2. FABRIC SOFTENER This works well too, especially for that backing paper that you sometimes get left with. A lot of the wallpaper from the late 80's and 90's was considered dry strippable, which means the color part comes off dry, but leaves behind the brown paper backing, that "supposedly" is to come off easily. NOT for us. But we added fabric softener to a bucket of water and washed the walls with a thick sponge. Be ready to get wet here.

We waited a few minutes and then the paper started coming off quite easily. This fabric softener idea was the best for the paper backing.

Once we got the wallpaper off, we then discovered why they probably wallpapered wall to wall in the first place, tons of little potholes from years of picture hooks, dents, bangs and bumps.

Make sure, if after you remove wallpaper, and you plan on fixing any holes and then painting, that you wash the walls well. That glue residue left behind from the old paper will give you that crackle look from the 80's. So, give it a good wash, let it dry then fix your holes and paint.

I am still dreaming about this wallpaper!

FOLLOW OUR RENOVATIONS and get FREE tips along the way. We are now experts at wallpaper removal! Article and website by Diane Palmer.

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