Monday, March 30, 2015

I Stripped Painted Over Wallpaper and Lived to Tell About It

Okay, that post title may be a bit dramatic - but seriously, that's how it feels.  It took ALL weekend, but the hallway is wallpaper freeeeeeeeee!  I would share a picture, but it honestly doesn't look that different because the wallpaper was painted yellow and the wall beneath was also painted yellow.  Anyway, I thought I would share what worked and didn't work for me while tackling this project for the benefit of anyone else who has to deal with painted over wallpaper.

Tip #1

Use a wallpaper stripper.  Specifically this one, the WP Chomp Stripper.  It's says it's the Best Wallpaper Stripper in the World it really, truly is.  It works quickly and effectively, it's non-toxic, and smells nice.  I used the DIF concentrate and spray gel strippers also (I went through 5 bottles of wallpaper stripper total) and not only did they smell bad and chemically, but they took 15-20 minutes to start working and weren't as effective.  The WP Chomp stripper starts working in 1-5 minutes and it takes the glue residue right away from the wall with the paper also.  Some people swear by home methods, including diluted fabric softener.  Just buy actual wallpaper stripper.  It's not expensive and it's much more effective.  Trust.

Tip #2

Use a wallpaper scorer.  I used this one here.  This step is especially important for painted over wall paper.  If you don't score the paper, there is no way for the stripper to penetrate through to soften the glue.  Score the proverbial crap out of the wallpaper if you want to have any chance for it to come free from the wall.

Tip #3

Use a sharp and sturdy scraping tool.  The sharper, the better, as it will get right under the edge of the paper.

Tip #4

Sometimes the decorative top portion of the wallpaper will peel away from the paper/glue backing.  Before you start spraying down the wall and scraping, see what portions - if any - will peel away.  The paper/glue backing will melt away from the wall with the stripper, so you will be doing yourself a huge favor by stripping the tougher top coat first.

Tip #5

Have patience and some good music to listen to while you work.  This will take you 3x as long as you plan it to and suck twice as much.  Expect it, plan for it, and deal with it...  It's worth it all in the end.

So what are our plans for this hallway now?  This is what we are working with now:

 Here are my thoughts...

Hallway Plan

I've purchased the light fixture and the runner I already own.  The light fixture is more modern that i would normally go, but I really, really like it.  While I am aiming to "restore" this home vs. "remodel" it, a light fixture isn't a big commitment and since I'm paying the mortgage, I will buy the light fixture that I want, darn it! I am planning on planking the ceiling and then painting the walls a light, green gray tone.  The specific shade I have in mind is Benjamin Moore "Gray Lake".  The trim will be painted white.  I am still on the fence about the doors.  I am liking the idea of staining them dark, but they are fir, so that usually doesn't take the stain well.  However, this hallway has 5 doors in total, so painting them white might be a bit boring.  I suppose I could always paint the doors a contrasting color....hmmm.  Thoughts?