Tips for removing 25+ year old wallpaper?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by David Ely, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 1998
    Messages:
    753
    Likes Received:
    0
    I want to paint my bedroom, but need to strip the wallpaper first. Some pieces seem to peel off cleanly, other pieces leave the adhessive behind and other pieces just seem stuck.

    It's just a single layer of paper, so hopefully that will make the job easier. All suggestions would be greatly appriciated.
     
  2. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,224
    Likes Received:
    1
    i think a steamer would work. (like one for removing wrinkles from clothes)
     
  3. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    on the home improvement shows they always use a special scoring tool, run that all over the wallpaper to cut it, then slowly steam it off. It seems to work for them, but looks time consuming.

    What will you do with the wall before painting? You might need to apply some kind of texture first, unless you like the smooth look...
     
  4. LewB

    LewB Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,282
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you have plaster walls, then the job becomes easier since the plaster can withstand the scraping needed to remove the wallpaper. There is a tool to score the paper that puts small knicks in the paper, you roll this thing all around the wall. Then you need to soak down sections of the wall with wallpaper stripper. This stuff mixes with water and is applied using one of those pump sprayers that you would use for applying deck cleaner or pesticide. You then allow the wallpaper to soak up the stripper and start scraping off the paper and glue using a stiff spackling knife. Make sure to get ALL the glue off as it will ruin a paint job if left on the wall. You can also use a green scrub pad for this. You can also rent a steamer that might also help the job along. Once all the glue is off, prime the walls (I think I'd use Kilz, it's tinted shellac and seals the wall well). Then paint or whatever else you'd like.
    Sheetrock is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. It damages easily, especially if it gets wet. Believe it or not, taking down the sheetrock and replacing it is actually an option.
    Check the web for home improvement sites like DIYNET, I'm sure they have all the instructions.
     
  5. Scott Leopold

    Scott Leopold Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2001
    Messages:
    711
    Likes Received:
    0
    LewB took the words right out of my mouth (or would that be fingers?). When we moved into our house, the kitchen had the most god-awful looking wallpaper I'd ever seen, topped by some atrocious, late 70's fake wood paneling. When we stripped off the first layer of wallpaper, we found an even worse looking layer beneath. We figured the first layer was at least 25 years old, but couldn't really guess on the second layer--it had a very 50's feel to it, though. The wallpaper scorer and stripper did a great job, although we did have to use 3 layers of Kilz, and another 3 layers of primer-less kitchen & bath paint to make it all look good. The prior owner had been a smoker, which had stained the ceiling and walls quite bad, and the kitchen had a gas stove. She was a diabetic who had lost both legs, and she admitted that she had never cleaned the walls, so all the greasy, gas-cooking residue had been absorbed into the plaster over the years.
     
  6. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 1998
    Messages:
    3,632
    Likes Received:
    5
    A steam remover will also remove plaster quite easily, so you need to be VERY careful using one. The trick is not to leave it in place for too long.

    Best bet: Score the paper with a knife all over. Get a bucket of hot water and soak the paper with a sponge (do smallish areas at a time so it doesn't dry out). Take a sharp paper scraper and scrape off as best you can. You may need to repeat to get those stubborn bits off.

    Smooth off the walls as best you can with an electric sander.

    If the surface is anything less than perfect, get a plasterer in to skim the entire wall(s).
     
  7. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2000
    Messages:
    1,153
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hope I'm not too late, but I've got the real answer.

    Score the paper with a "Tiger," which is a rolling ball of blades, Home Depot's got em for $6. THEN, go to Sam's Club or Price Club and get a couple gallons of FABRIC SOFTENER, like $2/gallon (WAY CHEAPER THAN RENTING A STEAMER OR BUYING GALLONS OF STRIPPER), and mix this stuff half and half with warm water in a squirt bottle. Spray it heavy on the scored paper, let is soak for a minute, and then you'll find that the paper and the adhesive peel right off with your scraping knife.

    I did a whole house, nearly six layers of 30s-era wallpaperings, this way and it was simple. Peeling wallpaper makes a huge mess, tho, so cover everything you don't want ruined, including the floor.

    MC
     
  8. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've never done that, but it sounds like a mess. Would it be cheaper in the long run to just remove all of the sheet rock and start over? [​IMG] Anybody done that instead?

    Or could you just put up a 2nd layer of board over the first? (Yeah, it would make the room smaller, but who's counting?).

    Glenn
     
  9. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 1999
    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Randy
    I was able to scrap a whole lot of paper with a Paper Tiger (as mentioned above), a spray bottle, and a lot of hot water.

    I tried the blue spray on stuff (Diff? i think it's called) and it did no better than the hot water.

    You can do it. It might just take a while.
     
  10. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 5, 1999
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    0
    Glen,
    If the walls are sheetrock, David might be better off doing as you suggested. Simply cover the walls with new 1/4" sheet rock. Much less time consuming and if you take care with the seams, will give a very professional finish.

    That's what I would do.

    Bill
     
  11. ClintS

    ClintS Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    0
    I use the Zinsser Papertiger and the DIFF gel. Make sure you score the paper first, apply the gel and WAIT. The wait is very important as the DIFF gel is enzyme based and the enzymes need time to eat at the glue. 20 minutes works well in my experience. Then use a paper scraper to remove the leftover mess. Make sure you cover the floor with something.
     

Share This Page