Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tips on Removing Old Wallpaper

Tonight was the first night that we went to the new house to start working. It really gave me a preview of what the next several months are going to be like for us and I have to tell you, as much as I am looking forward to it, I am also full of dread because it is going to be a lot of work.

We tackled one of the bedrooms and we ran into a nightmare.......the room had a wall border all the way around the middle of it. It appeared to have been on the walls for a very long time and of course when we tried to peel it off, half of it stuck to the wall. It took a lot of work but we finally got it all off after about two hours. That's not SO bad except tomorrow we will be tackling a bedroom that has old wallpaper AND border on every wall. Ugh! If you are facing a similar task, allow me to give you some tips on taking off the old wallpaper!

This was what was left of the awful Dallas Cowboys wall border after we peeled it off so we had our work cut out for us! It was on all four walls so it was definitely not fun. 

How to Remove Old Wallpaper or Border

1.) The best thing you can use is hot water. We took washcloths and a bucket of hot water and went over the border that was hanging multiple times. The more we went over it, the better it came off. I just used my washcloth to take the paper off but my husband used a putty knife and that worked really well. 

2.) If the water isn't cutting it, Dawn dish soap works wonders on wallpaper glue. Apply the Dawn directly to the wallpaper you are trying to remove with a sponge. Let it set for a few minutes and then use a rag or abrasive sponge to scrub the paper off the wall. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth when finished to wipe off any remaining fragments of paper.

3.) If water doesn't work and the Dawn isn't helping either, you can try fabric softener. Mix with equal parts of hot water in a spray bottle. Apply to wall, let soak for a few minutes and then wipe it off with a sponge. 

4.) If you have REALLY old wallpaper and it just doesn't want to budge, you can purchase a hand-held wallpaper steamer. I have never used one but I have been told these work wonders!  (I am seriously considering this before we tackle this big job tomorrow!) 

5.) If all else fails, as a last result you can try sanding them down with fine grit sandpaper attached to a sanding pole or a block sander. 

This was how it looked after about 2 hours tonight. We actually managed to get all of the border off. We actually scrubbed so much you can see darker paint coming through the gray where we were cleaning the border off. Ugh! So excited to paint tomorrow to get rid of that ugly gray anyway. 

Stay tuned to more from our Extreme Home Makeover: Crazy House Edition!!! 


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  2. Great post, Your article shows tells me you must have a lot of background in this topic.


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