Monday, March 7, 2011

A Hot Mess

Saturday was a productive day for me.. I cleaned the house AND cleaned/organized our closet which feels really good. I love when things are nice and organized (now if they can stay that way??)

Then on Sunday, we tackled the wallpaper in the powder room. What a hot mess!!!!! I'm pretty sure this wallpaper (and floral border) were put up when the house was built in 1990. Why do I think this? Because the wallpaper was adhered straight onto the drywall !!!! No no no.



We started on the large wall to the left, and the pieces were coming off easily in huge pieces. As we kept working, the pieces kept getting smaller and smaller and harder to take off. I'm not sure what was going on. We finally were exhausted and frustrated and gave up for the day.





I know what you're probably thinking... we should have paid someone. But we are saving money buy doing the removal ourselves.

So maybe some of you out there have some tips? We are using DIF in a spray bottle. We are following the instructions: score, spray, wait 15 minutes, spray again and wait again, then spray again before removing it.

I think we are having problems because of the drywall issue. So we'll just have to keep working on it piece by piece.

In the mean time, I'll be thinking about the final product...


[ image via better homes and gardens ]

37 comments:

  1. I just removed all the wallpaper from my kitchen and a few tips I found online really helped. I read to score the walls so that there were about 10 scores per every 1 inch...I just took that to mean lots of scoring. Then I soaked the walls in hot water and white vinegar (about 1/3 of the mixture was white vinegar). Waited about 5 minutes (kept re-applying the mixture to really soak those really sticky parts) and that wallpaper peeled off in sheets! It was amazing. Good luck!

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  2. Liquid fabric softener mixed with hot water in a spray bottle worked wonders for us!

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  3. We spent weeks removing layers and layers of wallpaper in our house last summer. The best method we found was using a steamer. I think you can rent them at home depot. Steam an area then scrap with sharp blade. Don't force it or you'll scrap the drywall. Just go back and steam a little more. At the end we wiped the walls with vinegar water to remove any leftover wallpaper glue. Good Luck!!!!

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  4. Susan from Between Naps on the Porch just finished removing the wallpaper from her home office (http://betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/2011/03/home-office-renovation-update-welcome.html) and recommended a professional product called Safe and Simple (http://safeandsimple.com/new/Main.htm) after trying all of the usual suspects like fabric softener, dish soap, scoring, steamers etc.

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  5. Mr. Goodwill HuntingMarch 27, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    I love grasscloth. If I could use it it my apartment. I would.

    Mr. Goodwill Hunting

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  6. Hi, I put a little dish soap and hot water in a spray bottle, sprayed it on the wallpaper and let it soak in a bit. It didn't come off in big chunks but enough so that it went nicely. Good luck! :)

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  7. as previous posts suggested, we decided to just skim coat the entire wall. we started damaging the drywall as the pieces got smaller and the DIF was drenching it.

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  8. Aimee@ the Functional SpaceMarch 27, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    This happened in a client's bathroom several years ago. After spending many hours (and it looking much like your walls now) we ended up having the drywaller skim coat the walls. The next morning all the wallpaper was one the floor! The moisture from the drywall mud had leached into the old wallpaper and caused it to release from the wall. I know it's very unorthodox but it really did work. Either way you have new, smooth walls. Good Luck!

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  9. oh the grasscloth will be SO worth it!

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  10. My entire house was covered floor to ceiling with wall paper! What I found best, after trying MANY different techniques, was to peel off the outerlayer of wallpaper first, leaving the 'paper' backing on the wall. Then use a spray bottle with good old fabric softener and warm water. Good luck :)

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  11. I feel your pain! Our whole living room is like this and to make it better the previous owners decided to paint over the it. We are about 1/3 done and it is a HOT MESS!!!! Good luck!!!

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  12. Hand steamer for sure. Still a major job, but will help. Also, maybe try kickstarting by closing up the room with a steam humidifier for a couple hours?

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  13. ahhh! I love that you are using grasscloth:) Jealous actually!

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  14. Oh that is a HOT MESS! My sister has removed layers of wallpaper, though ... so I guess the bright side is that at least it is only one layer of wallpaper? And it will look fabulous when you are done!

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  15. I have taken down a TON of stubborn wallpaper. Just lightly score it so the water can get in and spray it with super HOT water and a little vinegar mix. Spray it twice and it will easily come off. Good luck!

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  16. We had simliar issues in the 1986 house we bought last year. The best thing is to dilute fabric softer. I didn't spend a lot of money, I just bought what was at the dollar store. Pour a good amount with hot water into a bucket. Use a large sponge and liberally wet the area. Let it soak and then do it again. I found 2 to 3 times did the trick. They remove as normal with the scrapper. It worked like a charm.

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  17. Go Bryn! I am doing something similar in hand-scraping my awful popcorn ceilings, room by room (with a lot of recovery time and therapy in between). :) Tedium pays off!

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  18. OK. this happened to me in an apartment I rented. I actually got so fed up my paint store suggested sanding the remaining paper edges so it was smooth and sealing with it with a vinyl to vinyl primer. I then used a grasscloth because I was afraid of any seams or bumps showing. It worked great and saved me and my arms. I found a how to that was similar...
    http://www.ehow.com/how_4827309_hang-wallpaper-over-wallpaper.html
    Hope that helps, but I understand the need to get it all off.

    Danika

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  19. Um....that should have been Sherwin Williams. Dumb autocorrect.

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  20. I have a few suggestions that have worked in the past with "serious" wallpaper.

    1. Score, spray with remover and steam over it. The steam can help activate the spray – particularly if you’re using Downy.

    2. Score and spray. Then, place plastic wrap over your sprayed area. This helps the spray stay on the stubborn areas instead of rolling down the wall.

    3. Sand the wallpaper with sandpaper. Your goal should be to get as much of the print off, so you see the underlying white paper. Then, spray and steam. If needed, score it, spray and steam. Recently, my parents and I used this technique in a stairwell and were at the difference it made. We were at a breaking point and came up with the idea. (I’ve been meaning to write a post about this revelation.)

    Here is how I steam: I use a small putty knife and start in a freshly steamed corner. I rarely put the steamer down. Usually the steamer is in one hand while I "pick" at the wallpaper with my other hand while the paper is at its most vulnerable state. If I have a stubborn area, I will glide my knife under it as much as possible then steam on top of it.

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  21. A steamer is the way to go. I don't know what they do in your area but here we can rent them from Wherein Williams and the Home Depots that rent tools. It will make the job easier...but let's be real, it still sucks Haha. You're right though, the end result will be worth it!

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  22. Ouch! Straight onto the drywall. Sorry to hear you have such a hot mess to deal with - good luck with finishing it off.

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  23. They must have been really confident in that wallpaper decision to apply it directly to the dry wall! Yikes!

    It looks like your hard work will pay off--I absolutely love the idea of grasscloth in the powder room.

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  24. recycledconsignanddesignMarch 27, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    You can try the steamer but it's all because it's straight to the drywall and it sucked in all the moisture and glue :( Just keep scraping it will all be worth it! I for one am super excited to see the outcome!

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  25. Ditto the hand steamer. My house is 90 years old and was 100% wallpaper when we moved in 4 years ago. Some rooms were easier to remove than others-- but the hand steamer was key. It's tedious and messy but sooo worth the results!!!

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  26. Marissa Waddell {Roost}March 27, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Oh my, what a chore. On the bright side, except for the SWEET border at the top, the scraped walls and leftover wallpaper look kind of reminds me of an Anthropologie catalog.

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  27. The exact same thing happened when I helped my parents redo their bathroom; the wallpaper was adhered straight onto the drywall and only tiny pieces would come off. The best solution we found was to keep a spray bottle of half warm water & half vinegar in one hand and a small putty knife in the other. Alternate between two small areas, spray one and let it soak while you're gently scraping another. The process was still extremely tedious and time consuming but it's all worth it once you finish. Good luck!

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  28. We removed tons of wallpaper when we moved into our house five years ago. I highly recommend a steamer for removal. I think you can rent them at the big home improvement stores. We ended up buying ours because we had so many rooms to tackle. The hot steam really worked to loosen the paste and made the job a lot easier. Good luck!

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  29. When wallpaper is attached straight onto unprimed drywall, it's like paper glued to paper. So impossible to take off! I just went through the same thing and in the end hired someone to finish the job, spackle, and paint. My contractor shook his head at my wall, and said when wallpapering, you should always put paint on first if you plan on removing the paper someday.

    I'm wondering if you use a power sander to just shave down the top layer of paper? If the wallpaper is fixed so strongly, perhaps it doesn't need to come all the way off if you are papering over it anyway?

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  30. I've found that plain old laundry softener (Downy) diluted in water works better than removal products. Just keep spraying, scraping, spraying, scraping.

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  31. Been there done that... only thing that worked was a hand steamer. Steam it, peel off as much as you can, then cover/fix the leftover spots wit drywall compound, sand it down, and paint before putting new paper up. Not fun at all, but it will be totally worth it.

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  32. The very same thing happened to me in the kitchen and bathrooms in my last house. After trying just about everything (including renting a wallpaper steamer), we found that hot water worked worked best. Because I wanted to paint my kitchen white (and knew that every imperfection would show up!), I ended up paying a drywaller $100 to come in and quickly skim coat the drywall. It made all the difference and when we painted, it looked perfect.

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  33. the guy at benjamin moore told me to use warm water and fabric softener. I told my husband but he didn't believe me so he's been attempting it (we just have the border to deal with luckily) with the same stuff you used. It didn't take off the backing very well. Sounds like he should have listened to me by the comments. I'd try the fabric softener and hot water. Good luck!

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  34. I recently ran into the same issue. Believe it or not, windex was my hero! Read the full story here with other little pieces of advice I found helpful!

    http://athousandlaughingstarfish.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-to-remove-wallpaper.html

    Good luck!

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  35. sometimes hot water helps. If you have a clothes steamer, try steaming the wall first and letting the paper get moist....it should be easier to peel off that way

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  36. I love that shower curtain!! I always hear who sucky it is to remove wallpaper

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  37. This writer of this design blog I follow just found a solution to her difficult wallpaper removal situation. Maybe you can learn from all that she has gone through. http://betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/ Note her post from Sunday, March 6th.

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THANK YOU for taking the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate each and every comment.

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