Thursday, September 1, 2011

Do I HAVE to remove my wallpaper?

Removing wallpaper has cost me more time and money over the years than I care to count. The process is very unpredictable and of course, very time consuming.   So, do you HAVE to remove your wallpaper?  No, not always!  

My procedures for removing wallpaper are as follows:

• First test a spot or two to see if it will pull off easily and in one piece. (Ha Ha Ha! Almost never happens.)
•  Next, mist with extremely hot water and attempt to saturate. Now test a spot with a scraping knife and more hot water.  If the paper starts to come off somewhat easily then continue until all paper is removed. 
•  If the paper is not coming off by misting with hot water, you can switch to DIFF wallpaper remover or a wallpaper steamer. Any way you do it this
part is no fun!

•  After all the paper and glue is removed, prime with oil based primer (low odor now available). The primer will seal in all the glue you couldn’t remove and prevent cracking in the final finish. 

At this point you could paint, but 95% of the time the walls look mutilated from all the scraping and water. So it’s time to skim coat all affected areas with drywall compound then sand, prime with drywall primer, and finally paint.

The uncertainty of wallpaper removal is the part that gets me every time.  Between not knowing how long it will take and destroying the walls, I HATE IT.So my new approach is to leave the paper up and in tact.  (Unfortunately heavily textured paper MUST go – sorry!) 

Here’s how it works:

• First I prime everything with oil-based primer especially the seams and edges. 
•  Next, tape, mud, and sand all seams, caulk all corners.

You will now have very smooth flat walls ready for drywall primer and paint.  This new procedure is still a lot of work but the final product looks great and it’s a lot easier than removing everything. 

As a final word of caution, if you have anything other than smooth well-attached wallpaper then I recommend complete removal.

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  1. Curtis, I have the Wagner 905 Steamer/Cleaner. If your readers click on the picture of the product above it will take them to Amazon to see detailed pictures of the product, its attachments, uses and reviews. It is a terrific multitasker. I bought it for floors but use it for baseboards, grill and shower.

  2. Thanks for the Tip P Carter! Have you used it for wallpaper yet?


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