Going (wall)paperless

The first project we tackled in our new place was wallpaper removal. We had never had the pleasure of removing wallpaper before. It’s time consuming and messy. Kind of stinks too. Literally. (I don’t even want to think about moving into a place that had smokers living it in and then removing the wallpaper…ew.)

My dad bought us a Wagner Wallpaper Steamer at Lowe’s. I’m impressed with how well it worked. No chemicals, no scoring. We started with the guest room duck border. We started here just to see how it worked and if there was a certain technique to it. We learned a couple things in this room:
1. If you leave the steam on one space for too long, the paint melts and therefore when you scrape the wallpaper off,…you scrape off paint. Oops.
2. You complete this task is two steps, removing the first layer of the paper (the image part), then the backing. Sometimes you can get the entire first layer off in one shot…sometimes it comes off in annoying little pieces. It helps to go over the wallpaper with the steam, get a corner and take off what you can, then go back over the backing part left on the wall with the steam and scrape the rest off…if that makes sense.

 We switched to the smaller attachment for the rest of the room because the bigger one was melting the paint where there was no wallpaper. This job requires a minimum of 2 people. One steaming, the other right behind the steam pulling/scraping the paper off. I think doing this alone would be incredibly stressful.

 Guest room all done! We were happy with the results, so we moved on to our bedroom and bathroom.

We discovered at this point, not all wallpaper is created equal…or maybe it all just adheres differently. I make no claims at being any kind of home decor expert…especially when it comes to wallpaper…but in this house, there was all different kinds to take off, and they all came off differently. I think the type of paint that is underneath the paper has something to do with it too…but that’s just how it seemed to us. We could very well be wrong 🙂
 The border in our room was the smallest…yet was difficult to remove. I don’t think it ever came off in large strips, always in little chunks or flakes. It was glued down pretty well too.

Steaming the backing and then scraping after the steam.

Next was the bathroom. This was our first experience with layered wallpaper. We steamed the border, peeled off the picture layer, then steamed the second layer and scraped that and the beginning of the first layer of the large sheets. This was time consuming. At least in a bathroom, some spots have been somewhat “water damaged” through years of steam and came off easier.

Steaming the second layer of the border and peeling up the first layer of the large sheet at the same time.

All done. There’s more on the other side of the room…including behind the toilet…that’s hard to get to!

Next was the main bath. It was just a border and came off fairly easily.

(Word from the wise…wear shoes when using this machine. The steaming hot water drips from the attachment. Yowza.)

Next, the big’un…hallway, dining room, and kitchen. These rooms had floor to ceiling sheets and a border mid-way.

We had some help pulling the border off before we started 🙂 And see…not all wallpaper is the same. Most of the border came off without any steaming at all.

 In case you don’t believe me that wallpaper removal is a messy job…here’s your proof. Wet bits of paper everywhere. Have your ShopVac handy.

After the large, long walls were clear, we were ready to tackle the kitchen. Not huge spaces to remove, just lots of corners and small spaces.

While we were in the mood of removing things…we decided the carpet on the front of the breakfast bar needed to go. No matter what was under it, we would live with it. And SURPRISE!

Perfectly good cabinetry! There was much rejoicing. Goodbye useless carpet. By the way…see how the steamer is sitting in the garbage can…that was a good idea. If you need to set that puppy down…do it in someplace like that because it will drip, drip, drip…as well as keep steaming.

The large rooms were done. Two rooms left. Light at the end of the tunnel! Next was the foyer.

This was by far the easiest room. The wall paper really just practically fell off. This is the only picture I have because once we started, we didn’t stop because it just came off so quick! One room left! On to the sitting room.

More help from the mini-helpers 🙂

This room also had layered half sheets with a border mid-way. By the time we got to this room, we totally had our little system down and it went fairly quickly. 

Almost done! Such a good feeling.
And then we let the walls sit for a couple weeks deciding on paint colors.  We finally decided and last weekend we got to work on the sitting room. It looks so great, and I can’t wait to show you…in my next post 🙂 Stay tuned! Oh and if you have any questions about wallpaper removal, just ask. By the way…Wagner Wallpaper Removal system did not sponsor this post or anything…just letting you know about a great product that is worth your time and money 🙂

The sitting room…ready for paint! Are you excited? I am!
Press on!

Jaimi S.

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