Concerning wall decor, nothing is more polarizing than wallpaper. Because of its dramatic effect, wallpaper can make a powerful design statement, but it can also make a room looked dated. The problem lays in the fact that choosing a wallpaper design is a very personal decision which means it’s aimed to please the chooser and people that think or feel alike in a particular period of their life. For the same reason, unless we are talking about an 18th-century castle, wallpaper has a very short expiration date compared to paint or other finishes.
wallpapers we want to take down (immediately!)
So how do you deal with that “ugly wallpaper” the previous owners left behind? There are several options, but the right method will often depend on the product. Some wallpapers can be easily peeled off; some will only come off when soaked with hot water; others will need a removal solution. Any damage to the wall will also depend on how the wallpaper was installed. For example, if the wall wasn’t sealed with a primer before the wallpaper was hung, removing the wallpaper can cause damage to the wall’s texture or the drywall.
About 30 years ago, the use of steamers was the prevalent way to get rid of unwanted wallpaper. Nowadays, we prefer to use a concentrated remover solution mixed with water. The solution dissolves the adhesive wallpaper backing, making it easy to take off by hand or with a scraping knife. If the wallpaper has a coating preventing the mixture to penetrate through, we use a scoring tool to make little punctures into the material. A lot of care is needed when using this tool so as not to gouge the drywall.
Sometimes a surprise is hidden behind the wallpaper: more wallpaper! If that is the case, the layers need to be removed one at the time. Patience is the name of the game.
Once the wallpaper and its backing are removed, we spray the wall with the mixture one last time and scrape off any missed spots and completely remove all residue from the surface. Then, we wipe down the area with a moist sponge and let it dry for a few days before preparing it for the next finish, like paint… or maybe another wallpaper!
wallpapers that we would gladly leave alone