After reading your comments on my master bathroom wallpaper removal project, I think the general consensus is that this task is one of the most hated DIY jobs out there. I also believe there is BIG money to be made out there for the genius that comes up with a wallpaper removal product that makes wallpaper magically fall off the walls. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
So, until that happens, I’m going to offer my tools of the trade, since I consider myself a bit of a veteran. There are some products out there that can make it a bit easier.
First, score your walls with the wallpaper scorer, so that there is a way for the removal solution to get behind the wallpaper and start to work its magic. As for a good removal solution, I know there are a lot of different wallpaper removal sprays to help ease the pain, but honestly, I’ve found that hot water combined with Downy or vinegar usually does the trick. The vinegar is good for especially difficult wallpaper. I gave a friend a surprise bathroom makeover years ago, and got her stubborn 70’s wallpaper backing off with the aid of vinegar. It doesn’t smell as lovely as Downy, but it gets the job done.
The worst part of the process is when your wallpaper just doesn’t want to come off the walls. Anyone who has removed it, is familiar with scenes like this:
Isn’t this the worst? Little teeny tiny pieces of wallpaper coming off the walls instead of nice big sheets of wallpaper, coming down with the greatest of ease.
That’s where the Piranha razor scraper comes in handy – it scrapes away all of those little pieces of wallpaper backing that are left behind in the removal process. It is a must have tool, I tell you.
Another must-have tool that I have found tremendously useful is the Piranha Wallpaper Sponge. (FYI – I’m not getting paid by Piranha, I just have had great luck with their tools).
The sponge is fantastic for removing the residual glue and small pieces of wallpaper backing that will inevitably remain on your walls, in spite of your valiant efforts to remove them. This two sided sponge works overtime. One side is the regular sponge, to wet the wall, and the other side is a scrubber, helping to get rid of all of that gunk so that you’re left with a clean surface.
Once you’ve gotten all of the wallpaper off the walls, you will inevitably have some wall patching to do. (If you don’t, I want to know HOW.) The product you need to use to repair the walls, depends on how damaged they are. If it’s just a surface level gouge, you can use the Drydex Spackle.
However, if you have torn down into the cardboard looking layer of the drywall, you need to bring in drywall compound.
If you try to use the spackle, it will just get the cardboard layer wet, which ends up bubbling and is not a good situation (I’m speaking from experience here). The drywall compound will repair the damage without bubbling, so you’ll be able to sand it smooth. This process is time consuming, but important, since you want your walls to look as smooth as possible before priming and painting them (unless you’re daring enough to put up more wallpaper after surviving this ordeal).
Speaking of priming, this is a MUST. The primer acts as a sealer to any glue or backer paper that remains on the wall, and gives you a solid foundation for painting. I’m taking my cue from Kris at Driven by Decor, and suggesting the Zinsser Allprime primer for dealing will previously wallpapered walls.
I didn’t include this in my collage o’products, but when you finally get to holy grail point of this process – where you get to paint – I highly recommend using Benjamin Moore’s Aura line of paints, in a matte finish.
Yes, I said matte finish. It hides any remaining imperfections in the walls, plus the Aura paint is scrub-able, and allows for seamless touch ups. Seriously, you can touch up this paint, and it just melts right in – you don’t even notice it. It’s what I used in my husband’s office after a nightmarish wallpaper removal project.
Now, I know I’ve left out the mother of all wallpaper removal tools – the steamer.
|Steamer – Home Depot – $49.95|
Honestly, I’ve never used one. Maybe I should have, given all of the wallpaper I’ve had to deal with in this house, but it’s been manageable (albeit not enjoyable) with the arsenal of tools that I’ve listed here. Although if I had layers of wallpaper to remove, I might think twice. And heck, this one is only $49.95 – who knew?
Did I miss any tools that you have found helpful in this arduous process that is the bane of my existence? Do share!