Removing Wall Paper
by Barbara Jennings

For several years now, I've had some wallpaper throughout my family room and entrance to my garage. It's time to remove it and change things around. I haven't started it yet, honestly, because the thought of all that work is daunting. So to encourage myself (beings that I'm a die hard do-it-yourselfer), I thought some tips on removing wallpaper would be appropriate this month.

Depending on your wallpaper and your personal stamina, you'll have to decide on the method best for you. Several options include steaming, spraying with chemicals (or even water). Just know that it's not that difficult to do. It does require patience and there is an "art" to it.

Some wallpaper can be stripped dry. Others require a removal solution. If there is any damage to the wall, it's going to come from the way the wallpaper was initially installed.

If the wall was not primed before the wallpaper was installed, removing it can damage the wall's texture or the sheetrock. Steamers aren't used very much anymore. I don't use them personally. You can scald our hands if not careful.

I prefer a concentrated remover solution that is mixed with water - or just water. If using a solution, you should find that it dissolved the adhesive wallpaper backing, making it easy to remove the paper.

  • Gather the right tools first. Do some basic preparation.
  • Get one or two 3-to-6-inch broad knives.
  • Get your ladder and step stool.
  • Buy a scoring tool.
  • Buy a garden sprayer, such as a 2-gallon plastic pump.
  • Get a plastic sheet or a drop cloth to cover the carpet or floor.
  • Remove outlet covers.
  • Some people like to use DIF by Zinsser as the solution which you can get at home improvement stores.
  • Test a small area first, say over a 3 foot by 3 foot section.
  • Determine the grain of the paper. It can be stripped left to right, up and down or in reverse.
  • If stubborn, spray the remover solution and let it soak into the wallpaper longer. It may need several applications.
  • Try stripping by hand first. The backing will be left, which you scrape off with a broad palette knife.
  • Use the scoring tool in a circular motion to make tiny punctures in the paper if the mixture isn't penetrating the paper. This will make saturation of the paper and backing easier.
  • Use the scoring tool as a last resort. You don't want to gouge the wall in any way and finding the right pressure can be tricky.
  • You may discover more wallpaper underneath. Only take down one wall paper at a time.
  • When done, spray the wall one last time with the mixture to get any missed spots.
  • Wipe the wall down with a moist sponge to finish and let it dry for a few days.

About the Author
Barbara Jennings is a well known author and interior decorator in Southern California. She is also a published artist. She teaches rearrangement design and how to do it as a home based business. Visit her website at Decorate-Redecorate.Com. Used by permission.

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