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Don’t Be Afraid to Strip That Wallpaper!

by / Wednesday, 01 February 2012 / Published in Greenway Services

In a previous post, I mentioned that when my mother removed the wallpaper in our dining room, it transformed the dining room, making it look truly amazing. There was nothing inherently wrong with the wallpaper; however, wallpaper styles change with the times. It’s really easy to tell how old a house is just by the wallpaper that it contains. Although that wallpaper must have looked amazing back in the 1970s, in 2001 it looked totally outdated. Wallpaper styles change very quickly, much like clothing styles and prints change every year. For this reason, many people choose a less intensive method of decorating their walls–namely, painting. Paint is easier to remove or paint over when you feel like you need a change again.

Although you may think it’s possible to simply paint over the old wall paper, this is not recommended, since wallpaper will become exceedingly difficult to remove if you decide to change it again in the future. Unfortunately, this can be a rather difficult and lengthy process. To begin removing the wallpaper, you need to place drop cloths at the baseboards so any loose material or debris will not damage the floor beneath. Then you need to test how easy the paper is to pull off. If you lift the wallpaper and it removes easily, you may be able to remove any remaining adhesive by simply spraying warm water on it. If this is all it takes, you have it made. However, most wallpaper requires scoring and a chemical solvent to remove it.

You can find wallpaper scoring tools at the hardware store. These tools puncture small holes in the surface of the wallpaper that allow the solvent to penetrate and dissolve the adhesive more easily.  Another DIY method is to try four parts hot water and one part vinegar. You can also use a combination of 50% hot water and 50% liquid fabric softener. After mixing the solution, you’ll want to coat a section of the wall, roughly three square feet. Once you apply the solution, scrape away any wallpaper that remains. If there are several layersk you will have to apply the solution, let it soak, and continue to remove each layer bit by bit.

Chemical solvents are also available from the store. However, if you have to use a solution this strong, it may be best to call in the professionals. If sanding is required to remove any old wallpaper, remember that homes built before 1978 frequently contain lead paint. DO NOT attempt to sand the walls if your home may have lead paint. Instead, hire professionals certified by the EPA at lead paint removal to take care of the situation.

Whether your home contains lead paint, or you simply don’t want the hard work and mess of removing wallpaper yourself, Greenway is just a call away. The same guys you trust as your Cincinnati house painters will remove that wallpaper from sight and mind so it will never trouble you again. We’re EPA certified for lead paint removal, so no worries there. Then we’ll paint your rooms the perfect colors for your home.


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