Ken Murphy

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Ken Murphy


In the Lethbridge Real estae market.  Many homes are purchased that are considerably old and in many cases they still have old wallpaper in many of the rooms.


Lots of people just put new wall board over top or paint over top of the existing paper.  Not the ideal solution.  This usually happens as we have all heard the nightmare stories that are related to removing wallpaper from an older home.


I myself have had an experience in this area.  And quite honestly.  With the proper set up, preparation and with the new chemical solutions out there it can be a very simple task.


I am including some information that may be helpful for those that run into this situation.  You can leave feedback on my site in the event you have any questions or suggestions for others to read 


1.      Prep The Room

Remove and store any furniture or items that may get stained or damaged

Find some old drop cloths or plastic sheeting,.  Whick can be purchased at any home handyman location.

Remove all wall Lighting switch plates and electrical plates

Cover those electrical outlets with a water resilient tape or plastic sheeting to stop them from water penetration.

2.     Test the old paper

Some Older wall paper is made with a foil or water resistant (Plastic) type material.  Some times you can remove this paper by pulling slowly on a area where a seem exists and is less likely to tearing.  If this is the type of material you have.  You may have just saved yourself a whole lot of grief.  Work your way along the seams until all the paper is gone.  Remove any lingering pieces with a scraper or putty knife.






3.     Score or Perforate the Old Wallpaper

It doesn’t matter if you are going to use a chemical spray or steam off the existing wall paper.  Make sure you score the old paper gently trying not to damage the wall board or plaster behind it.  You should press only hard enough to mark the paper and allow moisture to penetrate.  You can purchase tools that have a perforation bit on them at your local hardware store or in my case i used a carpet knife.


4.      Using a Solvent

In many cases. Solvents that you use may be corrosive or caustic.  So you need to prepare yourself with the proper protective equipment which includes a Rubber gloves Safety Goggles And as mentioned before water resistant floor covering to protect your floors or carpets.

The glue remover or solvent you purchase will have instructions on mixing with in most cases.  Water.  I like to use a garden sprayer to apply the product to the surface of the paper.  But a cheaper method is a paint brush or possibly an old spray bottle you have lying around the house.  It will give your forearms an additional workout as well.

It usually takes around 5-15 minutes settling before the paper is ready for removal.  The paper will usually become loose or shriveled on the wall surface.

Remember to spray only enough of the aper as you can remove in 10-15 minutes.  Some minor scraping may be required.

5.      Using steam.   Not my preferred method

There are many commercial steamers that can be rented. Check your local hardware or equipment rental shop.

You Should not try using your kettle as a steamer.  You will most likely become frustrated and or even burn out your appliance.

The same safety precautions exist as for chemicals, but you need to be aware that you are dealing with hot liquid vapour   and that can be a potential danger.  Ventilate the room as well to reduce the moisture level.


The steamer is generally placed with the pad against the wall surface.  You need to slide it along the wall keeping it in each place long enough to penetrate the paper and causing it to loosen or crinkle.  It will take some trial and error to get this down to a science.  Also can be fatiguing on the arms.  Don’t keep it on the surface for a long time as it can saturate the drywall paper below the wallpaper and cause damage.


Scrape the loosened paper from the wall.  Do not pull it as the steam will make the paper and the moisture very hot for a time and can hurt you.

6.      Patch up old walls and prep for new paint or paper.

Wash down all surfaces with hot water and a mixture of tri sodium phosphate (TSP)  This will clean off any sediment or left over glue  Wait for the walls to dry and prep them for painting or new paper hanging by patching and sanding any holes or uneven areas.   Once you are happy with the job.  Use your inner designer to change the room to your needs



I hope you get some useful help and hints from this blog and keep your eyes open for new material every few weeks.  Com back and visit often and pass this site around to your friends and family.  Who knows.  Maybe I can help them find a perfect home.

Published Thursday, January 08, 2015 10:28 AM by Ken Murphy

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