Posts Tagged ‘stripping wallpaper’

Replacing One Wall

April 13, 2019

I hung this sunburst medallion wallpaper in an entry in west Meyerland a year or two ago. Originally, there was a doorway in the middle of this wall that led into the adjoining room. The homeowners had the doorway closed off, and the opening was replaced with a new piece of Sheetrock. This needed to be covered with wallpaper.

New wallpaper could not be patched in, and the damaged areas along the wainscoting could not be readhered, so new paper had to be bought to cover the entire wall – as well as a section over the entry door.

The second and third photos show where the contractor had pulled the paper away from the wall. As you can see, it took some of the primer and the paint below it, too. I wish I knew what the contractor did to have this result, because when I stripped off the rest of the wallpaper, it came off easily and left the wall surface below it perfectly intact.

I suspect that he just yanked the paper, or possibly used heat or some weird chemical. The proper way to strip off wallpaper is to wet it, then separate the top, inked layer from the bottom, substrate layer, and pull the top layer gently off the wall. Then you take a sponge and bucket of water and wet the backing. Once that water reactivates the paste, the paper backing will come away from the wall easily and with little-to-no damage to the wall.

I also suspect that this paper was hung over KILZ Original oil-based primer, which was a superb primer because it stuck tight and because it was not affected or reactivated by the water used to soak the wallpaper backing. Unfortunately, the formula for that product changed due to EPA regulations, and wallpaper paste will no longer stick to it. These days, I’m using two alternative primers – both water-based, and I am curious to see how they hold up when wallpaper is stripped off them.

Back to today’s job … Once I got the paper off, I used joint compound (“mud”) to smooth over the uneven areas between the contractor’s stripping job and mine, then sanded smooth, wiped free of dust, primed, and then hung the new paper.

The wallpaper pattern is by Thibaut, and is called Bahia. It’s a non-woven product, and is designed to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. As you can see, neither the contractor nor I had success with that. The tried and true separate-the-layers-and-saturate-the-backing-with-water method was the solution.

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Stripping Wallpaper – Just Add Water

May 25, 2016
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I hung this accent wall in a home office in Montrose four years ago, and was asked to remove the paper because the clients are moving and want a blank slate for the new residents.

Not all paper comes off this easily, but I was sure tickled when it did. All I did was soak the wall with warm water applied with a sponge, three times. The water soaked through the paper surface (this won’t work with vinyl wallpaper), and softened / reactivated the paste just enough to allow the paper to pull away from the wall in full strips. (Usually, you remove the top, inked layer of paper, often in small pieces, then soak the backing, wait, resoak, and then remove the backing, also in small pieces.)

There was virtually no damage to the wall, either. The primer I used four years ago was oil-based KILZ Original. It is a super product for this purpose.

If you are interested in stripping wallpaper yourself, there are step-by-step instructions on a page listed to the right side of my blog page.

Stripping Wallpaper – Damage to Sheetrock Due to No Primer

January 24, 2016

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Here I am, stripping wallpaper off the walls in this bathroom. This is the original wallpaper, and has been up and in perfect condition for nearly 20 years.

Unfortunately, the original installer did not prime the walls before hanging the wallpaper. That means that while removing the wallpaper, the Sheetrock can easily be torn, as you see in this photo.

These tears are subject to bubbling when water-based paint, or new wallpaper, are placed over them. They also create a blemish on the wall that will show under the new paper or paint.

So they must be treated with a sealer (I like Gardz), and then skim-floated over and sanded smooth.

It would be far better if the wallpaper hanger had just used a primer before hanging his wallpaper.

CUTE Paper – But It’s a Goner!

August 19, 2015
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The girls who use these two bathrooms are getting older, and need a more sophisticated look. But the rooms are so darned cute, it hurt to strip the paper off!

What also hurt is that the previous installer did not prime the walls, but hung the wallpaper directly on the raw Sheetrock. That made it a lot harder to get the wallpaper off, plus increased the possibility of tearing the Sheetrock, which is a big problem. It was even harder to get the wallpaper off the greenboard, which was used around the shower areas.

The bottom photo is a good shot of how wallpaper is stripped off the wall. You can see how the top inked layer has been pulled off, leaving the white backing still on the wall. This layer is soaked with warm water and a sponge, and, once the paste has been reactivated and softened, that backing layer can be gently pulled or scraped away from the wall, revealing the Sheetrock underneath.

Once I got all the paper off, I washed the walls to remove paste residue, patched little dings in the walls, and then primed with Gardz, which is a good sealer in the event that any paste residue still clung to the walls.

Hmmm. I Guess the TV Guys Forgot to Bring a Dropcloth

July 20, 2014

Digital ImageThat’s the homeowner’s embroidered satin bed spread they’ve chosen to lay the big screen TV on. The mounting bracket for the TV got plopped on top of the homeowner’s shelving unit.

Added one day later: I posted this photo on the Facebook page of the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers (NGPP), and it received mixed comments. Some people thought it is perfectly OK, another pointed out that dropcloths can be dirtier than a television set, etc.

Here’s my take on it: We all know that the TV monitor is not going to do any damage to the bedspread. In fact, with the exception of priming (which can splatter) or stripping wallpaper (using lots of drippy water), there is little I do that will cause any damage to the client’s home.

Paper and plastic sheeting are expensive and time consuming. And I hate dropcloths, because they get all bunched up and snarled in the legs of the ladder, and most of the time they’re unnecessary anyway, because I leave my shoes at the front door and I keep cushioned booties on the feet of my ladder to avoid scratching floors, and the process of putting paper on a wall doesn’t result in much of anything getting on the floor. But you can bet that I put those dropcloths down before I start working!

You see, it boils down to the client’s perception that you are careful in her home, respectful of her belongings, and taking steps to ensure that everything stays safe and clean.

So, maybe there wasn’t really a need for a dropcloth or sheet under the monitor. But I think the homeowner would have appreciated the TV guys making a little effort to protect her bedspread – or, better yet, put the thing on the floor. With a dropcloth underneath it, of course.