I just bought a rental property and in the kitchen they have two layers of wallpaper. I've tried using DIF and water and I've tried using downey and water. What method does everyone use to remove wallpaper in their houses?
I have always used hot water and Dawn dish soap. Put the water/soap mix in a hand pump garden sprayer and wet the wallpaper. Work in manageable sections. Apply water till it runs off. Wait and re-apply several times until the wallpaper is soaked through. Remove any loose paper and re-apply water till all layers are off.
Use towels to keep the base boards dry or they will cup from the moisture and separate from the wall.
The key is keeping the wallpaper wet. Let the water do the work.
I've removed it in small rooms with a wet sponge and 4" spackle knife. It wasn't easy or fast. For larger rooms I'd recommend new sheetrock. You may be able to go right over the existing wall, but that will require some adjustments around baseboard/window trim, crown mouldings, and electrical outlets and switches. But you won't have to demo!
May be able to get away with painting over the wallpaper. If it comes up later you can always pull up those areas, skim coat, and paint again. I usually pull up what I can get easily, skim coat areas that will probably look bad otherwise and then paint.
3) Pay someone
They make a scoring tool that pokes holes so the steam hot water and solution gets to the backing better. I would wet as suggested, score, wet, score rinse and repeat till there was not much holding it.
Rental places used to have wall paper steamers,,,dont know if they still do.
A drimmel or any other oscillating tool with a scrapper bit .
Awesome, Thanks for all the replies these are all great tips to try out.
@Steve Hannibal and @Don Meinke got my vote for good suggestions. If you choose to paint over it, the wallpaper has to have little to no texture and it must really be well adhered to the walls; if it's loose, painting it will wet it and could loosen it more.
An alternative to removal is to cover over it with thin drywall (1/4 or maybe 3/8 inch depending). If it's an older house with no insulation and old wiring, you could consider insulating and rewiring before putting up a drywall veneer.
We had a similar nightmare & after trying literally everything we could I took my compressor & using a tight orifice flat nozzle I displaced a lot of it as long as it was very wet. I now use that same nozzle to clean the BBQ racks.
I often wondered if the ultra sonic de-scaler we used in my days in the lab would have been more efficient.
I've removed some that came off easy-peasy, others that I swear were heat welded to the wall. First remove all the water-resistant veneer you can, score and wet, score and wet, etc.
I've had good results painting over it, but it takes good prep and the paper needs to be adhering well to the wall. Wash, scratch it up, prime and paint it. You can always choose to remove after if it doesn't look right @Alex Maclagan !
Burn it to the ground.... wall paper...
If it is on there good, it really might be easier and cheaper to just tear out and redrywall. It's nice to insulate and have access in s wall anyway
Steamer has by far been the best for me. Tried downy, the scorer, scraper, soap, vinegar, hot water, etc... If the paper is vinyl-y and the moisture from the steamer wont go thru, use scorer first. Steam, then use scraper to help lift the paper as you are pulling up. After paper is removed, use vinegar and hot water on remaining glue, run scraper along wall and glue will glob up and drip everywhere. A couple passes of that, then should be good to prime. Use good primer. It can handle the left over glue. Good as new.
Also, work in small sections at a time. Less overwhelming.
Please don't paint over it. Short term, short sighted fix, in my opinion. Do it right the first time and move on! Good luck!
"Is this the local high school trades program"?
"Well I would like to offer your students a unique educational opportunity in building trades. This one of a kind program has them working in an actual rehab house and learning how to remove wallpaper and redesign an actual kitchen. For the low price of $19.99 a student to cover insurance rates, we will bring them in on a Saturday and Sunday morning and they can practice the art of removing wallpaper and planning a kitchen redesign"
I've painted over rooms of wallpaper. Prime first with an oil based primer to seal the edges (use the low odor oil based unless you wish to have less brain cells when you finish; the regular stuff has a strong odor that will leave you loopy without adequate ventilation). The oil based primer will prevent the wallpaper from bubbling up at the seams.
This works well on good quality wallpaper.
I've removed quite a bit of wallpaper in my life with the hot water and fabric softener method and have had it work very well..
Second what Steve Hannibal said... Tear off the backing if possible, spray the remaining layer with a garden sprayer full of hot water until it soaks it, then scrape it off.
Steamer. And, BTW, I wish wallpaper would be made illegal. Just saying.
I just finished doing this in my master bathroom. There were two layers of wallpaper plus a border. The last owner before me painted over it. You could still see the seams though and my wife and I decided it was time to go so that we could prep our current primary residence for rental.
It's been literally about a month of work. The wall paper removal job itself took more than a weekend. Our bathroom is divided into two rooms. One has two vanities and a tub and the other has a toilet and shower.
We started in the toilet/shower room with the tool that makes the holes along with a solvent. We soaked everything thoroughly. We ended up with chewed up drywall. In the other room, we just soaked thoroughly and peeled starting at the very top where it meets the ceiling. With lots of patience, lots of water, and very slow peeling it would come off in big strips. The paper layer beneath would come off very easily when wet, but left behind a residue that had to be washed multiple times.
So since I had multiple holes in the shower/toilet room, I ended up with lots of drywall finishing work anyway. I have probably below average drywall finishing skills and as a result, I have walls that could look a bit better.
My conclusion is this: If the wall paper peels off very easily and in very large sheets after soaking it down, then just proceed to do it that way. If it's on there so good that you need a tool to chew it up, then you'll have to do drywall work anyway. So tear it all out and start over with fresh drywall.
A 10x10x8 foot kitchen will take about 10 sheets of drywall @ $12 each (use the 5/8" in rentals... it's sturdier). Add a bucket of mud for $15, a 5 lb box of screws for $22 and a roll of tape for $2. Even if you don't have tools you're still looking at less than $200 in materials. Moreso, I think you'll learn a ton in the process and as such, you'll be able to see ripoff artists much more clearly when you need to hang and finish drywall in the future.
If you have more money than time, you can hire someone (day laborer) to hang and finish it for you for about $20/sheet.
Dislcaimer: The 5/8" drywall in rentals advice came from the podcasts... can't recall which one though. It makes so much sense and only adds about $1.50 per sheet over the 1/2"
The problem stems from Do-It-Yourself-ers
A: Not knowing what they're doing
B: Not applying a wall-paper "primer" called "sizing" to ease removal.
When it's done right to start with you can soak it through it will come right off. Remove the sizing with hot, soapy water and you'll leave the surface ready to be lightly sanded then painted.
When it's done wrong it bonds directly to the surface underneath and you're going to destroy that surface trying to remove it.
On my first major fix-up, I totaled three walls trying to remove wallpaper and spent over two months removing borders in multiple rooms. Paid someone to repair the damage I did.
I've seen at least one mention of this, but I used fabric softener mixed with water in a spray bottle 50/50. It couldn't have been easier!! Just spray from the top, down, get something to start the peeling, and then just slowly peel entire sheets of paper off the wall. I read somewhere to go to the dollar store, and buy the cheap softener, because it works better for this. The good stuff is intended to be "gentle," but you don't want gentle when it comes to wall paper. I got an entire room stripped of wallpaper in probably half an hour with this technique.
That being said, maybe I lucked out. But, it's worth $1, and half an hour to see if it's doing the trick.
I've also used this same technique to remove that awful adhesive people use to glue vinyl flooring over hardwoods. Ugh. Saved the hardwoods though!
You can use a sealer to seal the paper so when you apply new paint the paper wont absorb the moisture and bubble. This only works if the paper is smooth. If it is textured it will still seal but you wont end up with a nice finish. If you can see seams after you seal it, mud the seems to hide them. Prime the drywall mud and you should be good to paint.
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