Whoever did the interior fashion design for the pyramids should get a raise; thousands of years have gone past, and no one wants to redecorate! In most of our homes, fashion styles just don’t last that long. The wallpaper that looked fantastic in 1997 is now an eyesore, and no one’s going to want it in a museum for at least another 980 years! So, in a world where our home interiors need periodic updating, wallpaper removal is a necessary activity.
It’s an unfortunate fact that removing wallpaper is seldom easy or smooth. However, we have a few tips that you may find helpful.
Wallpaper Removal – a How-to Guide
Get It Wet!
Use a sponge to get your wallpaper damp before you try removing it. Give it a minute or two to soak in and begin loosening the glue. Work with one piece of wallpaper at a time, rather than wetting the whole wall. Some types of wallpaper have a coating that repels water. If this is the case, you will need to use a scoring tool to make a bunch of small holes in the paper before applying the water. Just don’t be too aggressive with this process, or you’ll damage the walls beneath.
Water is a good solvent for many types of wallpaper. However, some adhesives are more difficult than others, requiring a stronger solution. Home improvement and paint stores carry a variety of wallpaper removal products that you can look into. Some people also recommend a 1-to-1 mixture of fabric softener and hot water.
Use the Right Tools!
Your best friend during this project might just be your putty knife. Use one with a fairly wide blade (4 to 6 inches). Make sure it’s in good shape, with a sharp, straight edge. Start at a seam and use the putty knife to carefully cut behind the paper, separating it from the wall. Use small motions, working gradually to loosen the paper until you have a large enough portion to grab and peel by hand.
Of course, your real best friend during this project will be the one who comes to help you peel wallpaper!
If your wallpaper is really stubborn, a steamer is probably worth the investment, even if you only use it once. This can loosen the adhesive and soften the paper just right, allowing the paper to peel away more easily.
Make It Fun!
When you set out to strip wallpaper, you need to realize it’s not a quick job. Turn on some music or a good audio book, and find ways to make it an enjoyable, relaxing process. If you’re just focused on the end goal and trying to get there quickly, wallpaper removal can be miserable!
Prepare for a Mess!
Use tarps, towels, plastic, tape… whatever it takes to protect your floors and furniture during this process. Wallpaper removal is not as messy as, say, butchering chickens in your living room, but it might be a close second!
Clean and Prep the Walls
Once the wallpaper is completely removed, wash the wall with a mild soap mixture to remove the glue residue. Next, wash it again with only warm water as a rinse. Now you are ready to spackle any scratches or holes, and sand them smooth. Finally, you can prime where necessary, and paint your fresh walls!
Hire a Pro?
Many homeowners begin tackling a wallpaper removal project with a spring in their step and a gleam in their eyes, only to end up tearing their hair out in despair, ready to move to Bangladesh so they never have to look at those walls again. Yes, I know it might sound self-serving for us to say this, but honestly, the best wallpaper removal tip we can give you might be to hire a professional to do it for you.
A professional painter has the tools and skills to do the job quickly and effectively. With the amount of time, energy, frustration and mess we can save you, the additional cost is probably worth it. Plus, if your time is money, then in the end we might actually be a cheaper option!
Once the wallpaper is removed, a painting contractor can also do the necessary surface prep to make sure the wall is smooth and clean, ready for a flawless layer of paint.
Cherry Hill Painting offers wallpaper removal and all kinds of painting services in New Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia area, including Camden, Haddonfield, Laurel Creek, Tavistock, Marlton and more.