What you need to know about wallpaper removal

What you need to know about wallpaper removal

Sometimes a client is tired of wallpaper and wants us to remove it and paint in its place. We are always happy to help a client refresh the look of their home! We’ve learned a few things throughout our two decades as a painting contractor. Wallpaper can sometimes mask problems underneath.
Below are a few tips if you are thinking of removing wallpaper yourself. Keep in mind that removing wallpaper isn’t as easy as you might think. It can be messy and challenging. Also, what is under the wallpaper typically dictates how to best remove it.
Before you launch into tearing off a large section of wallpaper, try removing a small piece of wallpaper first. You wouldn’t be the first client who rips off a large swatch of wallpaper only to decide that it will be too difficult and too expensive to remove it.
In case you change your mind about removing wallpaper, try lifting a small piece first in a discrete area:
        1. Under an electric receptacle cover is an excellent place to lift up a small piece of wallpaper. (Always turn off electrical power to the room before you begin removing wallpaper near an electrical outlet.)
        2. The area behind the door is another discrete place to check under wallpaper.
        3. If the closet is wallpapered, that’s another ideal spot to lift up wallpaper.

What’s under the wallpaper:

Lift any wallpaper, and what you find underneath could complicate your efforts to remove it.
  • Mold: Unfortunately, wallpaper can hide mold. Sometimes, it becomes evident on the top side of the wallpaper. Often, though, it’s not visible. If you do find mold, you should consult a professional.
  • Glue residue: Another issue that can lurk behind wallpaper on a wall is glue residue. You will need to remove the glue residue before you add new wallpaper or paint the wall. There are two efficient, albeit messy ways to remove it. You must be careful not to damage the sheetrock underneath when scraping or scrubbing
        1. You can use very hot water and scrub the glue off with scrub sponges. (It’s a messy job.)You can also use a broad knife to scrape off the glue after it has been coated with hot water (also gets messy).
        2. Unprimed wall: Sometimes, the wallboard or sheetrock behind the wallpaper is not primed. That could lead to certain complications when you go to remove the wallpaper. Our advice: consult a professional

Difficult to remove wallpaper: Once you decide you’re ready to remove wallpaper, you might find that it’s not as simple as you imagined. Some wallpapers can prove to be a daunting challenge. If you’ve ever tried to remove a grasscloth wallpaper, you’ll understand what we mean!

Here are two ways to deal with hard-to-remove wallpaper:
        1. Use a professional liquid remover. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
        2. You could also sheetrock right over the existing wallpaper with ¼ inch thick wallboard. This is not the cheapest option, but it could save you time. Keep in mind the added thickness to the wall means you’ll have to adjust switches and electrical boxes.
If you’d like an estimate for the costs of removing wallpaper and then painting, please contact us. We work with homeowners across Northern Virginia and have been rated one of our area’s best painting contractors.

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