Wallpaper Woes

We found a house (and there was much rejoicing!). It's not perfect, but I think it will work very well for us. It's on a cul-de-sac, it has a fenced yard, and a golden retriever lives next door. What more could you want? There are some problems, however, which can basically be summed up in one word: wallpaper. This is the master bathroom. Seriously, who thought that wallpaper was a good idea? We also have some stripes in the kitchen, which are pretty bad. This the other bathroom. I know, it almost hurts to look at it. So, what I really need to know is, does anybody have some good ideas how to get this crap off of my walls? I don't have the first clue how to do it, short of sticking a steamer on it, and peeling it off when it's wet. I used to help my friend earn money from his parents by doing that. His parents would mark off certain sections of the room, and put a price on it. Smaller sections were worth a quarter, bigger ones a dollar, the really heinous ones were worth $5.00or more (I didn't say his parents were generous!). Anyway, any tricks?


Blogger Tracy M said...

Oh, yeah! We had the exact same problem when we bought our house- and almost the exact same paper in our upstairs bath! (The Master had salmon pink paper with seagulls and sunsets- on three walls!- Guess what the first thing I did when escrow closed was?!)

Skip the steamer- there is a much easier way- if your walls are drywall and not real plaster.

Go to Home Depot and get this nifty little gadget called a Wallpaper Tiger. It's a round, handheld disk with rotating teeth inside. You vigorously rub it all over your walls, and it pricks the paper, perforating it all over, but does not mar the wall underneath. The buy the big container of DIF wallpaper remover concentrate. But here is the key- don't waste your time spraying it on- instead, put it in a bucket and used a thick-napped paint roller to roll it all over the walls, as if you were painting.

Go take a break, and when you come back, the paper will practically fall off in your hands. Don't take too long of a break though, because if the DIF dries, you have to start over. After stripping two rooms the old-fashioned way, (ie- steamer) I found this way, and it took about 1/4 the time, and was WAY easier and much cleaner. You will still need a scraper and some elbow grease, but this method aniahlated the seagulls and sunsets in my bedroom, and I will forever love my Walpaper Tiger. If you can't find one, e-mail me and I'll send you mine!!

4/14/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous cantinflas said...

Some wallpapers can be primed and painted over, leaving a nice texture under the paint. If this is an option, that's what I would do.

4/14/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

I'm with Tracy M. That little tool with the teeth is what I used to strip down the wallpaper in my parents house when I lit the kitchen on fire (I was only 15 and I didn't know that oil combusted when it got too hot). Most of the damage was from the smoke and my "punishment" was to strip all the wallpaper. It wasn't easy, but it worked. I think I got some nice upper arm definition from it as well.

4/14/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I would be very careful about painting over wallpaper- yes it can be done, but seldom can the seams be hidden, and you always will be reminded that there is wallpaper under there. It also can bubble and buckle with the moisture of the paint, depending on the kind of wallpaper... Unfortunately, I know this.

4/14/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Wowee, that sure is pretty! :)

When we moved into our house, there were only 2 wallpapered rooms - the kitchen and master bathroom. I recently pulled the paper off in the kitchen and what a difference! All I did was get a big spray bottle full of water, spray the paper enough for it to soak in, and then peeled it off. Sometimes, the printed part of the wallpaper came off and left the under-paper (Not sure how to describe), so I just sprayed that with water and it just peeled right off very easily.

I would try peeling and using water first before buying anything - it may just work for you and save you money!

Good luck!

4/14/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Tracy, you sure sound like you know what you are talking about! Ok, first thing when we close, I'll head to Home Depot and get the Wallpaper Tiger. After, of course, I soak everything, like Mary suggested. No sense in making a lazy gal like me break a sweat if there's no need!

4/14/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Oh, another question. What does the wall usually look like under wallpaper, and what do you have to do to it to make it ready to paint? Do you have to sand it down, or just prime it?

Oh, and Tracy, I'm sorry you're around to comment. I'm not sorry that you did, just sorry you're not in the hospital pushing out Maybe!

4/14/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger moddy said...

Heather, we are in the process of doing this very thing in my son's room. There was green and white taz on the walls when we moved in, not a pretty sight, no matter how much you like taz. Anyway, we used the wallpaper tiger and then sprayed a half/half combo of water and fabric softner (hint: pick a scent you can live with for a while) and sprayed the walls down really well and then peeled the wall paper off (jacob can also help with this because there are no strong chemicals). The problem we found was the people that put it up used joint compound underneath the wallpaper so the the finish was smooth. That has made the process very frustrating and long. We just finished using more joint compound to smooth out the walls were there were gouge marks. And we found some texture stuff that you mix in with the primer and paint that on and then finish with you color of choice on top. Good luck and post pictures when you are done!

4/14/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Just spraying with water as Mary suggested works if it is uncoated wallpaper, put on with certain types of glue. She was lucky, and maybe you will be too!

I wish I didn't know these things, but like I said, I fought this battle in our house- three of our rooms were papered, as well as the baths.

If the wallpaper is coated at all, spraying with water won't likely permeate enough, except at the seams, to make a difference. The Tiger makes the tiny holes so the water CAN pennetrate beind and loosen the glue. You don't have to use the DIF, but it's just an enzyme, I beleive, that breaks the glue down, and the smell is not bad and dissipates quickly. Also rolling it on with a clean paint roller is MUCH quicker than using a spray bottle. After cramping hands from squeezing the trigger over and over, I got it.

As far as under the paper? Anyone's guess. The wall compound sounds like a nightmare- lets hope you don't have that. Compound absorbs water and you would need to smooth the walls and then texture, before you prime and paint. The best scenario is an already painted wall. Then you only have to wipe it down very well (to get all the glue residue off), and repaint.

Why oh why does anyone wallpaper??

(by the way H, I wish I was somewhere else too, but at least I can contribute something and keep my mind off my misery!)

4/14/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Beanie said...

I did a search for removing wallpaper:


I figure if its good enough for a magazine it just might work?! Good luck, and good for you for still having the house in the running for you....I would have run away...fast (way too much work for us/me!)

4/15/2006 12:40:00 AM  

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