Stripping wallpaper is a task is approached with great anxiety by most homeowners.
In fact, stripping wallpaper is one of the leading reasons for the precipitous decline in wallpaper sales over the last several decades. Combined with fly by night wallpaper installers who don’t prime the walls before installing the paper, stripping the paper off unprimed walls can be a real nightmare for most people.
Here are some steps we follow to ensure a successful wallpaper removal and repaint project:
- We protect the adjacent surfaces from overspray of water and stripping agent with plastic and masking tape.
- We strip the top layer of paper off first . Wallpapers are made in Two pieces; typically a paper backing topped off with an actual thin vinyl film that has the pattern on it. Once the top layer of paper is stripped off, the porous paper backing is much more receptive to application of hot water with a wallpaper stripping agent in it.
- When the paper backing is fairly saturated with a wallpaper stripper solution, we wait till we see bubbles in the paper and then strip the paper backing off with flexible metal broad knives. It’s quite normal for wallpaper to not come off easily with the first pass of wallpaper stripping solution. We frequently have to use a wallpaper stripping gel that stays wet longer and penetrates more into the paper to remove it. We also sometimes need to use a product called a Paper Tiger, which is a handheld perforating device. The Paper Tiger puts many holes in the surface of the wallpaper, which facilitates the stripping agent reaching the paper backing and to loosen it for easier stripability.
- In extreme cases, when wallpaper is fused to the drywall surface, we may have to use a steamer to inject pressurized, heated steam to loosen the existing wallpaper. After the paper is stripped off, there can be a minor to a major amount of wall preparation needed.
- Typically a light sanding on some of the damaged areas that we have spackled is all that’s required to get the surface ready for painting. We usually wash the walls down several times to remove any paste residue. In more severe cases where the wallpaper has torn off the face paper of the sheetrock, we’ll sand the walls and apply a bonding primer/sealer to keep the sheetrock from bubbling. Several layers of drywall compound are applied to the walls in the process known as skim coating.
- Once the walls have been sanded and primed, the walls are ready for installation of another wallpaper or for repainting.
Is it expensive? It completely depends on how much time is required to remove the wallpaper and prep the walls. When we provide an estimate for wallpaper removal, we list an hourly allowance for this step. If we discover while we’re in the midst of stripping the paper, that more time is required, we notify the client for approval of the extra time required to produce an excellent finished product.
A good saying to remember is “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.”
Do you have a room or rooms that you’d like to have the wallpaper removed from?
Call us for a Free Estimate at: 618-529-8128