Since I listed removing wallpaper from my library in a recent blog, I thought I’d pass along tips from my experience with removing wallpaper. And no, I have not started removing the wallpaper in the library yet. The method below has worked for me even when the wallpaper seems to be cemented to the wall.
Begin by tearing off the any loose edges/strips.
I suspect there may be some wallpaper that requires a wallpaper steamer, something I’m sure most of us don’t have waiting in the garage! I haven’t encountered paper that requires one, yet, thankfully. Be sure plant plenty of drop clothes before you begin.
1. If there are any loose edges, or if you can lift a corner of the paper you will have a place to start. Slowly tear the paper, don’t worry if it leaves a thin layer of paper on the wall, we have a solution that will take care of that.
2. Remove as much of the paper using the tearing method—don’t despair if you cannot get very much of the paper off using the first step. Once you’ve taken as much paper off the wall as possible, mix DIF Liquid Concentrate Wallpaper Stripper with hot tap water (following mix to water ratio on bottle) in a spray bottle. Don’t be tempted to buy the pre-mixed spray unless you have only a couple of strips of wallpaper to remove, its more expensive and you will most probably need more than 1 bottle to do the job. Spray the hot wallpaper remover on the area you want to start with. Note: I would work 1 strip of wallpaper at a time, ceiling to floor, that way if you have to stop it looks a little less like the big mess that it is.
Carefully scrape wallpaper once solution has set for 15 minutes
3. Leave the solution you’ve sprayed for about 15 minutes, this gives it time to work its magic. Set the timer, you don’t want to let the paper dry out, it will make it more difficult to remove. With a 3-4″ metal scraper begin to gently scrape the paper and paste from the wall. This is not an easy 1-2 hour task. But you will get a rhythym going and with an iPod in your ears time will go by fairly quickly. If the paper doesn’t budge, repeat step 2.
4. 1/2 to 1 day later you’ll be finished, hopefully. Those who have read my site before will remember that I live in a cottage, not a McMansion, so the rooms are smallish and it doesn’t take me too long to remove wallpaper from a room. Next, you want to mix a bucket of warm water and TSP (a powder cleaner found at most hardware stores). Wash the walls with this solution until you are certain all paste is off the wall. This step is especially important if you plan to paint. If you don’t remove all of the paste residue it will cause your paint to crackle in those spots. It won’t be pretty and we’re going for pretty!
This is you in your newly painted room once you've removed the wallpaper.
Sounds easy right? So not I need to heed my own advice and get started. Let me know if you have questions, I’m here to help if I can.
By the way, one of my favorite blog sites, Southern Hospitality, recently had a post about wallpapering just one wall—that probably wouldn’t work in my library but I loved the examples she shows us. So, before you use my handy tools for eliminating wallpaper, think about keeping one wall or take down the paper you don’t like and put up some you like.
Images courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens/Cottage living ideas