Wallpaper Removal

Wallpaper removal can be a dreaded task. However there are some tips that will make it much easier.

Are the walls you want to faux finish covered with wallpaper? Not a problem. I've hung wallpaper for years. That also means I've stripped wallpaper for years.

Stripping wallpaper is necessary if the wallpaper is coming loose and the seams are not tight.

When you take a good look at it and the seams are tight and smooth and barely noticeable, you might be able to get away with priming over the paper. Once the primer dries, you can simply faux finish right on top of the paper.

If you are going to do some kind of texture over the wallpaper, then you can just strip what's loose, then prime over the paper. In most cases the texture you choose will hide imperfections.

One note you might want to make is to buy a primer designed to bond to vinyl and paper wall covering. Just ask the paint store clerk and he will guide you to the right primer. For a little more discussion on paint primer that may help you, click here on our paint primer page.

If the wallpaper has to be stripped, try first to peel the top layer off dry. Just start in a corner and gently pull the top layer off. This layer is usually vinyl. Often this layer will come off in larger sheets. That may not be true if the wallpaper is very old.

If the top layer only comes off in tiny pieces, this may make you want to pull your hair out. Well please don't. I have a recommendation that may help your wallpaper removal. First you can get a spray bottle or even a small garden sprayer if you protect the floor. Fill it with hot water first. Spray the walls and let it soak for about five or six minutes.

Now try to pull off the top layer. You may want to wet it again, to keep it wet, before trying to peel off. Often doing this has replaced the moisture that was missing from the top layer and it will be easier to remove.

You will notice that now you have a paper layer still on the wall. This is easier to remove. Spray the wall again, saturating the paper layer. This is the layer that held the paste when the paper was applied. So by spraying this layer, the water is soaking through to the glue and softening it so the paper will come off.

Sometimes water alone does not loosen the paper layer. If that is what's happening, you might want to add a wallpaper removal solvent to the water in your spray bottle. There are several good ones, and your local paint store should be able to recommend what you need.

If you use any of the removal solvents, be sure you have plenty of ventilation and follow the products safety directions.

Remember to keep your paper wet. You want to allow your solution to soak into the paper. But if it dries again, wallpaper removal may still be difficult.

Once it's soaked for a few minutes it should pull off the wall. If it still does not peel off with your hands, you may have to gently scrape it off with a six inch taping knife. Be very careful though not to gouge the wall. Each time you do, you would be creating a spot that will have to be repaired with spackling putty.

After all the wallpaper is gone, congratulations! The hard part will be over. However, the wall will still have a glue residue. This has to go too. The glue residue will affect the paint. But all you have to do is spray the surface again with the same solution, and sponge off the walls with clean water to remove the glue.

I usually use a primer after stripping the wallpaper because it gives a nice sealed surface to start fresh.

Now you are ready to proceed to the faux finishes you've been looking forward to.

Return from wallpaper removal to wall preparation.

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