If you are planning to redecorate, the first step is to choose what you want to change. You have selected bright new wallpaper, and now it’s time to remove the old one. Stripping the old wallpaper can be quite a bit of a hassle, especially if the house is older than the 1970s, because there is a good chance that you might encounter asbestos. If you remove the wallpaper and find damage behind the wall, you have to first fix the wallboard before you can begin re-papering. If there is a doubt that you have asbestos, call in the professionals, because it is toxic and quite detrimental to your health and has to be removed from your home.
If the wallboard is in good condition, you can just sand it and prime it and start off with the new wallpaper. But if the wallpaper is mushy in some areas, then the wallboard has to be fixed before you can proceed. In case of stubborn old wallpaper, you can use diluted bleach or vinegar in a spray can to remove the old ones; bleach will help to remove mold and vinegar helps in removing stubborn old paste. However, be careful to NEVER mix the two, as the chemical reaction will lead to the formation of highly toxic gases. In case you are using vinegar, perforate the wall with a ‘paper tiger’, then apply the solvent or vinegar, and then wait for the solvent to work; scrape off.
If you want to do a more professional job, you can use a wall steamer; first you perforate the walls with a ‘paper tiger’, carefully so that you don’t perforate through the old wallpaper. Then use the steamer to apply steam which will soften the glue. This in turn will help to remove the wallpaper gently, without any scraping or pulling. Remember to prepare the floor with drop cloths so that it doesn’t get soaked during the steaming process.
If you want to remove metallic wallpaper or vinyl wallpaper use diluted fabric softener for the former and just a soaking with water for the latter is the best way to go about it. For metallic wallpaper, dilute fabric softener with water, 1:2, and then spray it, rub it in and wait for about 15 minutes. You can just peel it off easily; in stubborn areas, use a drywall scraper. For vinyl wallpaper, you can just slowly start to peel off layers with a scraper or a putty knife at the edges, and then try to peel them off in the same direction as they were pasted on. If you’re finding it difficult, then try less layers and in another direction. You can also spray some water on and wait for it to soak before trying again. In the one direction in which it was pasted, it should come off easily.
If the wallpaper has been there for several years, it will come off more easily. But remember that this can be time consuming and frustrating work and set aside time accordingly. Putting up wallpaper can be done in a weekend, but removing it can be more tedious work. Patience and persistence will pay off, and soon enough you will have a beautiful and undamaged new wall with fresh and bright wallpaper.
You can find any home improvement or decorative product you are looking for at Pucher’s. The company was started in 1928 by Carl Pucher as a paint shop, and today three generations of Puchers have built it up to the institution it is in Cleveland. Spread over three locations, Pucher’s is the go-to shop for any and all interior decorating needs. Our service awards and the fact that 80% of our clientele are referrals should attest to the quality of our products and services. Call us today for a free quote on your decorative project!