Fairly Easy Job Today…

This is a 3-day project, involving stripping solid vinyl paper, skim floating the walls to smooth them, and then hanging the paper. So far the first stage has gone well.

Why was it easy to strip the paper?

1. For one thing, paper-backed solid vinyl papers are about the easiest to remove. The thick plastic coating pulls off easily, and the paper backing that remains on the wall is porous and absorbs my water well, which reactivates the paste and lets it either peel off the wall or be easily scraped off.

2. The paper was hung over a painted wall. It would have been better if the original installer had used a wallpaper primer, but something is better than nothing, and the layer of paint protected the Sheetrock and facilitated removal of the paper. However, because it was a latex paint, it absorbed water and some of it came loose from the wall, leaving flakes and patchy areas.

3. The installer hadn’t bothered to remove the walls’ original texture (which the homeowner says was part of their agreement when he was hired), and the bumps left under the paper prevented it from sticking to 100% of the wall – meaning that the paper stuck to the high parts of the bumps, but not the low areas in between. This made my job easier today, but unfortunately it left the homeowners with curling seams and a very unattractive appearance, which they lived with for many years.

After stripping the paper, I skim-floated the walls, and will sand and prime tomorrow. This will leave an absolutely flat smooth surface, with a primer, for the new paper to adhere to. This, in addition to choosing a better quality paper (thin paper, instead of vinyl), will ensure that the new paper holds up for many many years down the road.

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