How to remove wallpaper before painting
Monday, July 25, 2011
Do you have old wallpaper giving your home that 80’s look? Removing that old wallpaper can really make a difference! You may be tempted to paint or wallpaper right over it and that can be done but removing the wallpaper is probably the better choice.
There are several things to consider before trying to paint over wallpaper. The seams and damage should be primed and patched with drywall compound to hide them. Next, a penetrating primer will be needed to seal the paper so that the water in the latex paint does not soften the paste on the wallpaper and cause it to bubble. Remember any textures in the wallpaper are likely to remain visible. Finally, if you paint over wallpaper and then decide to remove it later, the process could be more tedious as the paper is sealed and the water needed to remove it cannot penetrate it easily.
Removing the wallpaper before painting may be time consuming and messy, but starting with fresh walls will be a great advantage in achieving a quality finish. You will need patience when approaching this project in order to minimize damage to the walls. There are several stripping options available. We prefer concentrated remover solutions that are mixed with water over the gel solution. DIF is an excellent brand but there are others as well. The solutions dissolve the adhesive backing, making it easier to peel. Before beginning, gather necessary tools (scoring tool, sprayers and 6 to 8-inch spackle knives for lifting off the paper) run a strip of plastic around the room and place absorbent material on it to catch any excess water, then remove outlet/light switch covers and turn off the electricity. Following the directions on the container, mix the solution with water and begin. You can apply the solution with sponges but we think a pump type garden sprayer works best. When removing the paper, work carefully in small sections and do not force the paper off. If it will not come off easily, spray the solution on the area again and allow it to stay on wallpaper longer. Repeated applications may be necessary. Time is your friend here, let the chemicals work, wetting areas ahead of where you are removing the paper so they are ready when you get to them. Once the paper is removed, wash the walls and trim with warm water to remove all the paste residue and allow them to dry. Spot prime any raw drywall and repair the walls and sand and prime them again if necessary before painting.
If you have the time and energy, removing wallpaper is definitely something you could do yourself, but if you have walls with layers of wallpaper, or walls with paper that was already painted over or where the wallpaper just will not come off for you, consider contacting us for a free consultation. If you get the wallpaper off but are faced with wall repairs, we can help you with that as well. Although some contractors will quote you “time and materials” for wall paper removal, PNP Craftsmen will often be able to give you a fixed priced for removing properly installed wallcovering.