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August 07, 2008

How to Strip Wallpaper Without Losing Your Mind

P1000838.JPG by you.

I was tempted to call this post  "How to Strip," but then I thought better of it.  I don't know why, since my humor borders on the ridiculous at times, but since I prefer stripping wallpaper to stripping off my clothes (for obvious reasons),  I didn't want my Big Bear to get any rip roaring ideas when he got home from his business trip.  This subject is getting way off the mark.  I better get down to business and strip off this wallpaper....  There is one thing I hate to do - strip wallpaper.  I don't particularly care for stripping either, but that's a subject I don't care to elaborate on.  Ever.  Since we moved into this house,  stripping wallpaper has been an ongoing nightmare.  Just about every room had dizzying wallpaper, and there were some rooms with 2 layers of wallpaper, and other rooms that were painted over the wallpaper.  If you like wallpaper, this was the house for you.  If not (like us) it is your worst homeowner nightmare.  

MomsBedroomBorder.jpg by you.

We had a wallpaper party the first month we moved in, and it was so frustrating trying to get the stuff off the walls, that our friends never returned.  No matter how much beer and pizza we offered, our friends disappeared - literally.


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We never did get all the wallpaper stripped, as you can tell from our recent experiences, but, if I had known the secret to stripping wallpaper like I discovered in the last few days, maybe it wouldn't have been such a frustration.

KitchenRemodel1 by you.

I also wouldn't have torn apart the drywall underneath had I known this very simple trick.  Isn't this a lovely job of ripping off wallpaper?  I thought you'd say that.  Hey!  You can't blame a gal for tryin'!  I get an "A" for Attempt and an "F" for not calling a Factotum sooner.

Earlex SS77 Wallpaper Stripper Deluxe You see, I went to Home Depot (I swear we should have stock in this place - that, and Lowes), and I purchased a wallpaper stripper steamer thingy.  Well, it takes about 15 minutes to heat up enough to create steam thru the hose and into the flat plastic square handle on the end that you press up against the wall until the paper loosens.  The problem with this method is that it also causes the drywall paper to rip from the wall making one big mess.  (See above if you need more proof)  Of course, if the wallpaper was applied properly in the first place, this likely would not have happened.  A Word of Advice to Anyone Applying Wallpaper: 1) Don't.  2) If you must, be smart and prime your walls beforehand.  If you don't prime, and you get sick of the paper, you will be cussin' up a storm trying to get it off the walls - unless, of course, you follow this simple tutorial that I just learned courtesy of 3 guys who have been painting my house for the last week.  Then, you'll only cuss a little bit. Now I know I am a bit of a weirdo, but did you ever have a sunburn when you were a kid and then when you started to peel, you would strip layers of skin off your arms and legs?  Didn't that feel good?  Especially when you peeled off a big section?  I know, sick analogy, but it's the same feeling peeling off the wallpaper - properly.  And another word of advice - Don't buy this steamer stripper.  It is a waste of money and will ruin your drywall.  There's an easier method and it is a heck of a lot less expensive too. You will need: Two flexible-blade knives, 4" and 5" Drywall scraper, putty knife, whatever you call the dang thing.  You know the thing that you use to scrape the walls, fling drywall mud at your husband, scrape your sloppy paint splatters off the hardwood floors and windows, patch the hundred holes in the wall where you were trying to hang your picture in the right place without measuring.  Yeah, that thing.

The image “http://www.tayloredconcepts.com/carafe%20spray%20bottle.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Spray bottle filled with water.  It doesn't matter if it is hot or cold water, just as long as it is water and a bottle that has a good sprayer head.  And paper towels of course - lots and lots of paper towels.

OffwiththeWallpaper.jpg by you.

Step 1)  Spray the wallpaper surface with water.  Find a corner, edge, something that you can start to peel.   Catch an edge with the scraper and start to peel off the "top" layer of the wallpaper.

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Step 2) When you have loosened the top layer, peel it off.  Pay no attention to the bottom layer of paper still stuck to the wall.  Just peel off the top layer.  You're gonna feel like a champion when you peel off a big sheet from the wall.  My neighbors could hear me screech with joy when a huge 2 foot section came off in one swoop.  Yippee for big peels!  This one pictured was a little one, but that's because I had a camera in my right hand trying to photograph my left hand peeling.  Matthew did not want to take any more pictures of my butt or my wallpaper peeling exercise. 

scrapewallpaper.JPG by you.

Step 3)  Spray lots of water on the bottom layer of paper still stuck to the wall then take your scraper and scrape it off.  It should scrape off easily, glue and all.  If you fling it on the floor, you will be scraping it off the floor too, so have a trash can handy.  (I know, I've made this mistake all too often in the 3 years we've lived here).  Messy job. Now, repeat Steps 1-3 until all that ugly, disgusting, nasty, bad taste wallpaper is off your walls.  You'll feel so much better.  If only I had known that it would be this easy, I would have had this done a long time ago.  No steamers, no fancy wallpaper peeling machines, no need for fabric softener or all that other fancy stuff you've read about.  Just a few squirts of water, a scraper thingy, paper towels, and a big trashbag.  That should do it. Happy scraping and peeling.  You have my permission to squirt your hubby when he walks by.  Flinging wallpaper paste may get you in some trouble.



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