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Wallpaper seems to be the new home décor trend of 2019. But, let me tell you, that’s one trend I will not be following.
Our hallway bathroom (the only working bathroom at the moment) is exactly what you would expect to see in a home built in the ’60s & ’70s. White ceramic tiles, gold light fixtures, and wallpaper with a lovely flower border. Here’s a picture from the day we moved in.
This less than stellar wallpaper had to go. But, I was surprised by what I found underneath that first layer… MORE WALLPAPER!
The first layer of wallpaper, a “beautiful” shade of dark blue with flowers was applied. Then, someone wanted to change that up and painted it white. I guess someone else grew tired of the white and decide to wallpaper over everything.
Whew…what a mess.
Removing wallpaper does take some time. Especially, if you end up removing two layers like I did. But, it’s not impossible for you to do on your own. Follow these steps, and you’ll be wallpaper free in no time.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
1. Hot Water
3. Putty Knife
4. Drywall Repair Compound…we used the Sheetrock brand low dust pre-mixed compound.
6. Kilz Primer
How To Remove Wallpaper From Drywall
Here’s the thing about me. I try to do specific projects the “easy” way before I run out and buy a bunch of supplies. Removing wallpaper is one such project.
That’s why I decided to give the hot water method a try. Before I spent time and money on a scoring tool and harsh wallpaper removal sprays. Luckily, the water method worked great.
The first thing you’ll want to do is find an area of the wallpaper that’s peeling up. Look in the corners of your room, around doorways, and near the trim. Now, peel up the wallpaper from that spot. You may need to use the tip of your putty knife to get a piece large enough to pull on.
Get a firm grip on the wallpaper and pull. As you peel, keep a consistent pace so that you don’t rip small chunks out of the paper. Keep pulling until you’ve removed all of the wallpaper.
An important note about this step. Keep an eye on what you’re pulling off. The underside (sticky side) of the wallpaper may be a yellowish color. You’ll want to make sure that comes off the wall with your wallpaper. If not, no worries, I’ll teach you how to remove that in just a bit.
Another thing to watch out for is your drywall under the wallpaper. Depending on how long the wallpaper has been on your walls, you may pull the top layer of drywall off as you pull. You’ll know you’ve done this when you see dark brown material underneath. It’s what you would imagine seeing if you peel something sticky from a piece of cardboard.
If you notice this, don’t freak out!
These spots are easy to fix. I’ll go over how you can do that in just a bit.
How To Remove stuck-on Wallpaper Glue
As you continue to remove the wallpaper, you’ll probably notice areas where the paper doesn’t come off. This is because the glue is used to apply the wallpaper to your walls. This glue sometimes needs a little more “work” to remove from the drywall.
This is where hot water and sponge come in. You’ll want to get the water as hot as you can without burning yourself. Wet your sponge, wring it out, and wipe down the stuck-on areas of wallpaper.
Now, use the putty knife and gently work the paper off the drywall. If you find it doesn’t release easily, wet it a little more with the hot water.
Continue wetting and scraping the sticky wallpaper until everything is removed.
How To Prepare the Drywall for paint
Now that you’ve removed everything, do your walls look like this? This is a picture of our bathroom before we made any repairs to the drywall.
All those brown spots are areas of exposed drywall. You want to seal those places up before applying primer and paint. This will prevent moisture from getting in there and creating mold and mildew growth later on.
You can use pre-mixed drywall mud to seal up these spots. Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Use a putty knife to scoop up some of your drywall compound.
2. Spread a thin layer over the brown, ripped areas of your drywall. Make sure everything is covered, and no brown shows through. If you need to apply it a bit thicker in areas, that’s ok.
3. Allow the compound to dry completely.
4. Once dry, use fine sandpaper or sanding sponge to smooth out the repaired areas.
When sanding, don’t bear down on the sponge. You just want to sand lightly over the area to remove uneven spots. You’ll know you’ve sanded too much if you see the brown areas peeking through the drywall compound.
With everything repaired, now you can prime and paint your walls. I’m a big fan of the Valspar all-in-one paint and primer products. But, I do recommend using a primer BEFORE applying any type of paint on your walls. Even if the paint includes a primer. The primer will give the paint something to hold onto and makes it go on evenly.
You can find primers made specifically for drywall. For our bathroom project, we went with Kilz brand drywall primer. Once the primer dried, you couldn’t see any of the areas we had patched and repaired.
Once the primer was completely dried (less than an hour), we started painting. As I said before, we love Valspar Signature paints. They’re great for bathrooms because the paint prevents mold and mildew growth. They also cover really well…sometimes we only need one coat to paint a room.
A trick we’ve learned with painting is to use a thicker napped roller brush. The paint goes on thicker and more even, cutting down on your painting time. And, the need to apply more than 2 coats of paint.
Here’s the finished bathroom! We still have a few smaller remodel projects to complete, but doesn’t it look better?
Removing wallpaper isn’t that difficult. But, it is one of the most tedious projects we’ve encountered so far. I think the age of the wallpaper had a lot to do with that. We took our time…and tons of breaks. This project took us about a week to complete (we were slow). And in the end, it was so worth it.
Are you thinking of removing the wallpaper in your home? Give these tips a try and then come back to let us know how it went.
Share your before and after photos in the comments below (or email them if you like), and we’ll give you a little shout-out on our Instagram page!
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