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Removing Wallpaper - A Simple Home Improvement Project

Aug 17, 2007
We have put together a list of what we think are the essential tools that you will need when stripping or removing your wallpaper.

As you may be aware, there are a huge array of techniques and tools that are recommended when stripping wallpaper. Your local home improvement retailer might tell you "just peal the wallpaper from the wall", and your neighbor could offer the advice of "just rub a little fabric softener on it". While these may be useful techniques for some, they don't fit for most situations.

A recent study indicates that wallpaper most people want to remove is between 5 to 15 years old. From our personal experience, this means that the wallpaper will be either extremely easy to remove because it's old and the adhesive brittle or it could be potentially very difficult as it may have been applied directly to the sheetrock.

In either case, here are what we believe to be the most valuable tools to your project:
Safety glasses or goggles: often over looked but an essential safety item.
Gloves: these can be dishwashing gloves or something to protect your hands from liquid and/or slips of the hand.
Plastic Sheet: Called and branded by a number of names, this is nothing more than a thin plastic sheet that can be found in the paint section of any home improvement retailer. Removing wallpaper usually creates a mess; therefore, use the sheet to not only cover the floor but any surrounding features. To keep it in place, use masking tape. And, when you are done with your project, just roll the whole thing up (wallpaper and all) and throw it away.

Zinsser Wallpaper Scraper: this tool does the same thing as a normal flat blade scrapper with the exception of one very important feature, its scraping blade is set to an optimal angle. This means that you won't have to worry about gouging the wall or damaging the sheetrock or drywall when scrapping. It may be a little more expensive to purchase than a normal scrapper but it will save you a lot of time. We are not brand promoting here, so if you find another manufacture that produces a tool that does the same thing, go with it. You should be able to find it at any of the larger home improvement retailers.

Drywall Screen: this is a metal "screen" that acts like sandpaper. It is designed to remove excess spackle or joint compound from drywall but it's extremely useful for removing the small areas of dry adhesive that may still be on the wall after you have removed all your wallpaper. It can also be used for those small tough patches of wallpaper that the scrapper that just cant get to.

Orbital Scorer: this tool is sometimes called a "paper tiger" or a "wallpaper scorer". Its function is to place small holes in your wallpaper so that removing agents or steam can loosen the wallpaper adhesive. It's a very useful tool and one you should have on hand if you need to use a steamer or removing agent.
Ok, here is where we, depending upon the wallpaper, use the following:

DIF Gel: there are many wallpaper removing agents made by this company but we have found the gel to be less messy. That is to say, it has less a tendency to drip off the wall onto the floor. It is a good one to use if your wallpaper is NOT applied directly onto the sheetrock (this means that when the wallpaper was installed, there was no undercoat of paint applied). It is also a good product for wallpaper that is coming off but not in large sections.

To apply the product, the best method that we have found is to score the wallpaper with the orbital scorer and then use a paint roller to spread the gel out evenly over the surface you are working on. Of course, we advise that you read the manufactures recommendations and safety warnings first.

Wallwik: This product is more of a "product pack" than a single product. This product is great for removing wallpaper that HAS been applied directly to sheetrock. It's also great for grass or fiber based wallpapers. It's also great for those wallpapers that nothing else seems to work. The downside to this product is it requires several steps to make it work. And since it's a product pack, you really need to purchase the pack to make it work. That is to say everything but the scoring tool, I still prefer the orbital scorer.

Once your wallpaper has been removed and the remaining adhesive is removed, you are now ready to proceed with your project. For some, this will be applying a coat of paint, for others this will be hanging new wallpaper.

In either case, there is a great site that offers free instructions on wallpapering and what to do after you've removed it: http://www.wallpaper.mydiyguide.com

Additionally, if you are looking to change the entire look of a room another great resource for overall interior design ideas is: http://www.decornew.com

ęsimplehomeimprovement.com
About the Author
S.Callender is a featured writer with over 20 years experience on house or home matters including Interior Decorating, Bathtubs-Showers, Designer Kitchen Ideas, Area Rugs Carpets, Fireplaces Home, Home Security Systems, and more. Visit http://www.simplehomeimprovement.com
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