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How To Remove Wallpaper

By Edited Mar 21, 2016 0 0

Do you ever wonder why we use wallpaper? I know it can look nice, but one day, you will have to remove the wallpaper! That is when the fun begins.

Right now, we are working on a house renovation project, that has entailed some big renovations, such as new kitchen, some tile flooring, new tub, new vanities etc. But we were, and are still hoping to save the drywall in many of the rooms. This house was wallpapered head to toe! Right from the baseboard up to the ceiling, with an additional border on top of the wallpaper

I thought, no problem, I will just remove the wallpaper!. But I got the heavy top layer off with a scraper. But am left with that brown paper backing. So, I tried some of the "toxic soup chemicals" that you spray on the wall, that are suppose to magically remove the wallpaper (like some of the pictures show!) but this did NOT happen in this case. Actually NOTHING happened when I used these expensive products. I am not beating up these products, but I really hate it when they show a perfectly made up person, or a beautiful set of hands, scraping off the wallpaper with such ease. By the end of the day, I am full of dust, wallpaper and dirt.

At the end of the day, I went to the local Home Depot, wall paper department, and asked them what they would do, other than replacing all the drywall, which would be HUGE work. I did not want to get into paneling overtop, which was another suggestion, so the one girl assured me that a steamer would work.

 

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I thought, of course.. I remember when I was a kid, having to help my mom and dad with decorating, and using the kettle and a sponger to get rid of wallpaper. But that paper seemed to be thinner, this was pretty thick stuff. I am sure it cost them a arm and leg at the time for all of this wallpaper, but, it was stuck in the 80's, along with the poof pink valances in the bedroom, that they had puffed up with bags in the seams!

I went to the rental department, and they had this HUGE metal contraption. He took one look at me, and said "don't be wearing any makeup when you use this" he assured me that when I was done with this machine, not only would the wall paper be on the floor, but I would look like a steamed lobster. When I saw the price tag of 35 dollars per day, I thought forget it. I have room after room of this stuff.

So, back to the paint and paper department, and found a slightly smaller one you could purchase for 75 dollars. At this point I figured it would be a good investment. I then asked the girl. Why do you even sell wallpaper. She goes, well it covers up "not so nice walls" and people like it, and it is dry strippable. Well guess what? So was this, but all that means is the patterned part comes off dry, and then you have to attack the backing with a vengeance! It is still stuck to the wall. Then she says to me "yes but the glue is water soluble and comes off when wet" This is true, but unless you are planning on turning the hose on or the sprinkler in your bedroom, then it is not going to get wet enough to come off at all. It literally has to be soaking wet with steam.

Anyways, I drag home my steamer, fill it up, plug it in, and wait. It has to come to a boil, just like a big kettle. But once it gets started, it really does make a big difference. It has a long hose and basically a plastic plate with sides, that steams a one foot area at a time. You hold it there long enough, and then with a scrapper, you scrap off the wet gluey mess, in the one area, while steaming another. You have to be able to multitask!

By the time I was done one wall, I was covered in dried up gluey bits of paper, and a sea of it on the floor. The room was totally steamed up, and I was down to my short sleeve shirt. (Keeping in mind that it is winter right now!). I had to open the window, then had a neighbor show concern that maybe we had a fire, as some steam escaped the window!

After about two hours, the steamer had removed the wallpaper. It was very satisfying, and I felt better for not using chemicals. I did purchase a wallpaper score tool. It is basically a round tool with short little blades in it, that just scores the surface of the paper so that the steam can get in behind. That helped a lot.

Although there will be some drywall repair with spackle to do, I was glad I did it. I have got one room, done. Yippee! Lots more to go. But I discovered something when I took down that wallpaper.

It was a time capsule in a way. Before the original home owner, put up this wallpaper, they let their kids paint their names and the date on the wall, so did the parents. There were big pink hearts, and who loved who, and pictures. I actually hate to cover them up. But I bet they never thought all those years ago, that one day someone would uncover their time capsule.

They did the same on the kitchen floor, just underneath the old linoleum on the sub floor, names, pictures, dates.. it was really neat. These creations stood the test of time, and all the effort that goes into removing the glued on layer of linoleum, and also withstood the wallpaper steamer on the walls.

It appears that any decorating project they undertook, they all wrote something.

I am glad I didn't just rip down the drywall. We all stood back and read all these messages, it actually gives me something to look forward to in the next room. I wonder what I will uncover there while removing that wretched wallpaper!

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