Whether you love wallpaper or not, sometimes those strips of printed wall décor must come off. You may need to remove wallpaper before painting to help the paint better adhere to a wall. Or, many layers of old wallpaper must first come down before you can add that digitally printed, stylish new design.
Many homeowners feel frustrated when they tackle this home improvement chore. If only wallpaper removal was a leisurely, mesmerizing exercise with paper that easily peels down and away. Often this is not the case. Discover two common failings that hinder easy wallpaper removal.
1. You Use the Wrong Tools
A common failing that makes wallpaper removal a frustrating nightmare is when your attempt includes a completely wrong choice of tools. Unless you face a tiny amount of wallpaper, you will probably need more than a scraper and a spray bottle.
Instead, start with the right tools and equipment. Before you begin, tape the baseboards with painter’s tape to protect them from moisture. Cover the floor with drop cloths to keep them clean and catch scraps and strips of damp or sticky paper.
Of course, you need the right scraping tool, but this sole tool is not always enough. Older wallpaper and non-porous papers do not give up as easily as newer and porous types of paper. In these cases, you have to soften the wallpaper with water first before you can begin to scrape. You can use hot water in a sprayer to do so, or choose one of these more aggressive tools if hot water is not successful:
- Wallpaper solvent or stripper mixed with water in a sprayer
- Fabric wallpaper removal sheets soaked in water and solvent
- Wallpaper steamer or heat gun
Finally, you may need a special scoring tool that creates many tiny perforations in the wallpaper. This tool will not harm the wall but allows water to better penetrate paper for a more thorough soaking. Also, don’t forget a ladder to more easily reach portions of the wall near the ceiling without hurting your arms.
2. You May Lack Sufficient Time
If you lack sufficient time or patience for a removal session, you might find success a bit elusive. Wallpaper removal can be time-consuming, especially if paper and adhesive are very old or you face multiple layers of paper rather than just one. Sometimes, even the type of wall behind the wallpaper dictates how much time is necessary to completely remove all traces of paper and glue.
Stubborn paper requires a significant investment in time and elbow grease. In fact, some wallpaper may easily peel off, but you notice leftover glue remains on the wall. Glue remnants cannot just be sanded off or painted over. No coat of fresh paint can hide dry wallpaper adhesive.
Instead, you must clean the glue off with a solution. Rub wall portions with a sponge and cleaner, allowing it to soak into any adhesive. You can use hot water mixed with liquid dish soap and a bit of baking soda. Feel free to add white vinegar if necessary. Or, look for a commercial chemical cleaner.
Plaster walls are a bit trickier to work with compared to sheetrock because of a greater potential for damage. Plaster tends to chip and crack easily under a careless scraper and requires spackle and sand repair before you can apply new wallpaper or paint. Take your time with plaster, and scrape with care.
Fortunately, you can remove all that old wallpaper when you give yourself sufficient time to do so and utilize the proper tools. If you don’t feel like a hearty paper removal session, contact the experts at Fagan Painting LLC. We specialize in wallpaper removal the right way for any wall type.