When I first moved into my house, one of my first thoughts was, “That ugly wallpaper has to go.” And by that I mean the wall of wallpaper in the dining room and the two (yes, two) layers of ugly wallpaper on the soffit in the kitchen.
But now, I have to admit, I might let the wallpaper in the dining room stick around for a while.
That’s right. Now that my furniture is moved in and things are hung on the wall, I rather like the wallpaper in the dining room. It has this sort of retro cool look. And in my ’50s ranch house, it kind of fits. For now, anyway.
Part of the reason I’m in no hurry to get rid of it is that I think it’s going to be a real pain to remove. And the wallpaper on the soffit in the kitchen? It’s going to be even worse, thanks in no small part to the fact that layer one is affixed directly to the drywall—without any primer—and layer two is directly on top of that.
In case I get motivated to make a clean start with that soffit sooner rather than later, I decided it was time to figure out what my options were for removing that nasty paper without destroying the wall (which, I hear, is quite an art). So here goes.
Some wallpapers can be stripped dry. Others require removal solution.
If your wallpaper can be stripped dry, you’re in luck. Just loosen a corner with a putty knife and peel it back slowly at a 10- to 15-degree angle (pulling the wallpaper straight out may damage the drywall). After you pull the wallpaper off, you may have to remove the adhesive. Read below—the remover solution will take care of that. Or if you’re repapering and that underlayer is in decent shape, you might be able to get away with papering over top of it.
Using a steamer to loosen the wallpaper used to be the way to go—but it’s not as popular as it used to be. Go ahead and try it if you want, but it’s probably not the quickest or most effective method. (Unless you want to avoid the chemicals in the remover solutions, in which case I recommend going the steamer route.)
Many people swear by remover solutions mixed with water, which dissolve the adhesive backing on the wallpaper so it’s easier to remove. HGTV explains how to tear down your wallpaper using a remover solution. Or, even easier, just watch this handy eHow video that walks you through it. One note of warning: If you’re working with wallpaper affixed directly to drywall, take care not to soak it too much or you might damage the drywall.
If you’re not impressed with the steamer or chemical solutions, follow the lead of The Family Handyman and try Wallwik Wallpaper and Paste Remover instead. I’ve never used it myself, but it doesn’t require a steamer or a chemical remover so it’s probably worth a try. You just score your wallpaper, then dip the sheets in a five-gallon bucket of warm water and dish soap and apply them to the wall, allowing the moisture to transfer through the paper so it softens the wallpaper paste underneath. After you leave the sheets on the wall and keep them damp for a good half hour or so, all you do is pull them (and the wallpaper) off. Give it a try—and let me know how it works!
What other tricks and secrets have you learned for removing wallpaper without the messes or headaches? Let me know—I just might try your tips out myself soon!
The Home Know-It-All