Wallpaper tends to be one of those home décor features that is either ‘in fashion,’ or ‘out’. In the good old days wallpaper was often used to cover an array of gib board sins, and was a cost-effective way of providing colour & texture to a room. Whatever your reason for changing the décor, removing old wall paper can be troublesome, so here’s a few suggestions for easier wallpaper removal.
- Prepare the room
Chances are you are going to generate a lot of litter and shredded paper. Remove as much furniture and fittings as possible. It’ll reduce the risk of damaging some of your possessions and minimise the risk of slipping or tripping over something.
- Test the paper
Find a suitable corner of the wallpaper and see if the paper will easily separate from the wall. The paste and sizing (or wall preparation material) used in many older houses may have lost its potency and the paper may simply peel away. Conversely, the previous decorators may have layered new wallpaper over old, and you may be forced with the arduous job of removing multiple layers. If this is the case, console yourself with the prospect that this will be a ‘renovation war story’ for years to come.
- Score the paper
This is a great suggestion given to us by an old hand at wallpaper stripping: take a normal hand held saw, such as a tenon saw, and lightly scrape the teeth of the saw down the paper. The teeth will lightly scratch the surface of the paper and allow water or steam to quickly soak through to the paste. This can make the stripping process much easier and quicker, particularly if you are dealing with a newer laminated paper.
- Wet or Steam
Using warm water and a scrapper will work fine, but it may take you a few hours depending on the paper. You can speed up the job by hiring our wallpaper steam (click on http://bit.ly/UHH2vD4Ivk). If you choose to go with the ‘hot-water-and-cloth’ method someone suggested adding a cap full of fabric softener to the hot water to help with the soaking.
- Scrape scrape scrape
Use a wide scraper (our preference is something 75 – 100 mm wide), sharpened at a very slight angle off square and slowly work your way from the top down, alternating between the application of steam and hot water, and scraping. If the paper is difficult to remove, consider re-scoring the paper with the saw to improve the penetration of the water or steam.
- Clean up
The best thing about clean up is that’s an indication that the job’s almost done. Take care to remove any small pieces of paper while the work area is still damp: it’ll probably be very difficult to remove once the wall has dried. A final wipe down with a damp cloth will remove any remaining debris and help identify any spots where repair and stopping may be required. You’ll also need to allow at least 2-3 days for the wall to dry, or come and chat to use about using a dehumidifier to dry out the room if you’re in a hurry.