Monday, May 17, 2010

Wallpaper Removal 101

Parker & I spent three nights this week pulling down wallpaper in our kitchen.  Three nights!  The kitchen is tiny and it should not have taken that long!!  I cannot tell you how many times I thought to myself, "Wallpaper is a dumb idea!!  Who decided to put this hideous wallpaper up in the kitchen??!!"  I mean, really, wallpaper is not a good idea, especially in a small kitchen with lots of nooks and crannies.  It must have been a nightmare to put up, which is probably why it was still there... until we came along.

That is the only real "before" picture I have because we had the leak from the refrigerater valve and our fridge was in the middle of the floor when I took "before" pictures.

In the process, we learned a few things about removing wallpaper:

1. Besides requiring a lot of patience, wallpaper removal requires a squirt bottle, water and DIF (or any other adhesive breakdown spray - I've heard water/vinegar or fabric softener works also, but I've never tried either), scrapers... and twice as much time as you think you'll need.

2. Spray the DIF and let it sit for a bit and then spray it again.  Spray the area that you'll be working on next when you spray the area you're working on now.  Always spray ahead of the work area.  Make sense?  The more you spray, the easier it is. You can never use too much.

3. If you're pulling down multiple layers like we did, do one layer at a time.  It stinks and it takes more time, but you'll make less mistakes.  If you're taking down paper from sheetrock that wasn't primed before the paper was put up... it's really going to make you crazy you're probably going to rip some sheetrock layers apart.  If you do, its not the end of the world, you can fix it later.

What we wish we had thought about beforehand...

1. Start in an inconspicuous place (ie. behind the fridge, over a doorway, etc.) to get your practice in before ripping apart the most obvious areas.

2. If the bottom layer is smooth or has been up for 25 years or more just prime over it. 

3. If it looks like the countertops/cabinets/etc. were put in after a layer of wallpaper, score the paper with a knife to avoid pulling up caulk or having small bits of paper stuck behind the cabinets.

These lists are more or less for myself to refer back to when we start pulling down the wallpaper in the guest bathroom... which will be in a few months because I can only take but so much at a time.  :)  Any other suggestions/advice would be warmly accepted :) :) :)

Last but not least, a "during" picture so you can be glad you spent your weekend doing something besides taking down wallpaper.  Haha!  Fortunately, we did get a break in the middle of the day on Saturday to go to my sweet little cousin's 3rd birthday party.  Happy Birthday Walker!

Next on The To Do List - Sheetrock repair, priming & painting walls & cabinets!  Don't hold your breath for a post about that.  Haha
laura ann


Amber said...

I know it sucks to learn things the hard way, but personally, I'm glad I'll have someone wise to give good advice when it's my turn to do all of this stuff! :)

Amanda said...

When Erin and I went to help Kim and David in their house before they moved in, Susie and Mom handled wallpaper-removal-duty... They used a steamer and the paper pulled off really easily. If it's any consolation, I spent all day Saturday at the pool, watched a movie that night with Lindsay, Corinne, and their new roommate Kaite... It was awful! ;)