I've just bought a house built in the 40's. I need help on removing multi-layers of wallpaper. Also if I can paint over that really thick vinyl wallpaper or do I have to remove it also?
Lisa from Lebanon, MO
I would have to agree with LRP that a steamer is the best way to go even though it is messy. But then any wallpaper removal is messy. Make sure your floors are well protected. If you don't use a steamer, it also helps to use fabric softener in the water. It seems to break it down easier. The tool to use that Dakota suggested is called a "paper tiger".
Thanks Everyone, I'm going to start on it today. If there is anyone out there who has encounter the problem of the vinyl wallpaper. It's in the kitchen only. It's in good shape I just don't like it. If I clean it to remove build-up grime etc. Can it be primed and painted over? that's tomorrow or Sunday's project Please help!!""
I would be worried that the vinyl wallpaper in the kitchen would not have good adhesion if it is on top of multiple layers like the rest of the wallpaper. I understand with a high hide primer it can be painted over, but again, you would have to be sure it was well stuck up there with no open seams or little tears etc.
You're better off in the long run to do the horrible task of removal. Some friends painted over the paper and the moisture in the paint caused it ALL to peel off! Literally fell on the the floor! Painted wallpaper looks like painted wallpaper, too, which detracts from your decor.
HOT WATER HOT WATER HOT WATER -- take a sponge and put it in hot water as hot as you can stand it -- then press it onto the wall -- go to the next spot - do it again - after you go to the next spot go back to the first and it will start to peel off nicely. You can try a steamer but I find that when people use steamers they end up with gouges in the wall because it comes off in pieces and they're trying to scrape it off -- don't use anything harsh to remove it -- use a plastic scraper if you can for the stickier parts - but with time and patience it will all come off - just keep sponging it with hot water to loosen it. My husband is a painter so this is what we do!
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Faith from Philadelphia, PA
I have a 140 year old house, and chances are you have lathe & plaster and it is cracked. however STRIP THE WALLPAPER. Use a cutter that is round and runs over the paper then spray it 1 to 4 vinegar to water warmed in the microwave, let it for 30-60 minutes. When all paper is off, use mesh drywall tape to cover cracks and drywall compound, feathering out. PRIME and then paint. You will not regret it. (10/06/2006)
My mother encountered this 50 years ago on the walls of our then-50-year-old house. Makes me wonder if people back then used wallpaper as insulation. She removed it all, one room at a time, put insulation in, and then plastered. (You might prefer drywall.) It was well worth it.
It's easier today with wallpaper-removing chemicals and tools. Be sure to get good advice and keep the area well-ventilated, of course. You want to live to tell us about it when it's done. (10/07/2006)
You'll have to rent a steamer from a wallpaper place and place water and vinegar to steam each layer of. (10/12/2006)