Stripping Old and Putting Up New Wallpaper

Wallpapering isn\’t a difficult project to undertake, as long as you adhere to certain requirement that needs to be done prior to putting up the new wallpaper. As with the previous chapter discussing prepping the wall, you need to remove any existing old wallpaper before sticking the new ones on the surface of the wall.

Getting the Wallpaper Down

  1. To remove the old wallpaper, start by removing switch plates and outlet covers from the walls as well as any furniture out of the room.
  2. Place drop cloths on the floor to protect your floor at the base of the walls where the wallpaper is being removed.
  3. If you have existing vinyl coating wallpaper you need to make some holes in the wallpaper to allow water to penetrate (do so gently as you do not want to damage your actual wall surface). This coating is designed to prevent water from getting in and softening the glue (that\’s why they are washable), so you will need to take this additional step when removing vinyl coating paper.
  4. With a utility knife or the edge of a putty knife score the surface lightly. Do this gently. If you have a drywall behind your wallpaper and you accidentally damage it, you will need to repair it before put up the new wallpaper.

    Tip: There are wallpaper-piercing tools available at a home store. This tool is made up of a series of spiked wheels that pierce the wallpaper when you roll it over the wall.

  5. Mix a solution of warm water and vinegar in a spray bottle and wet the walls. You can also use a bucket and sponge if you like although the spray bottle will save you time. You may also use non-toxic wallpaper remover mixed with water and spray over the wall.
  6. Leave the wall for 30 minutes.
  7. Then pick a corner or a seam and gently peel back on the wallpaper.
  8. If you come across stubborn sections, use a wallpaper scraper held at a low angle to scrape the paper off. Spray more wallpaper remover in areas that are stubborn as you work your way across the first section. Repeat this peel and scrap method until you\’ve removed all wallpaper.

Clean Up and Repairing the Walls

  1. Use Tri sodium phosphate (TSP) mixed with warm water to wash the glue off the walls after the wallpaper has come off. Rinse the TSP off from the walls with clear water.
  2. Repair any holes that the scraper made in the drywall. Fill small holes with drywall or spackling compound and smooth them out. Allow to dry overnight, then sand the repair, prime and paint.
  3. If you\’ve made some large holes on the drywall when scraping off the old wall paper, paint the exposed gypsum wall with white shellac, which will prevent moisture in the drywall compound that you use to patch the holes from soaking into the interior of the drywall and cause bulges. Then, patch the holes with drywall compound, let it dry, then sand and prime it.

Hanging Your Wallpaper

  1. Set up a large worktable in a different room that will allow you to spread out the wallpaper and cut it to size. A sheet of 3/4″ plywood placed over sawhorses works well.
  2. Determine where and how you want the design of the wallpaper to begin at the ceiling.
  3. Measure and cut out a length of wallpaper that is 6 inch longer than the wall. Mark just above the point where you want the wallpaper to reach the ceiling or crown molding and use this first sheet as a template for cutting the next one.
  4. Soak the second piece in a wallpaper water tray for about 15 seconds, pull it out of the tray and lay it pattern side down on the worktable.
  5. Book the ends of the wallpaper (folding both ends toward the middle, paste side in). This will allow you to carry the wallpaper more easily.
  6. From a corner of the room that is most inconspicuous, mark the wall at a point that is ΒΌ inch less than the width of the wallpaper and draw a plumb line down the length of the wall from the mark.
  7. Roll out the wallpaper and press the top portion to the edge of the ceiling. Line up the wallpaper with the ceiling and make sure that the edge of the paper is flush with the plumb line. Try to minimize moving the wallpaper around unnecessarily, as you might stretch it and cause the seam and pattern to be out of alignment.
  8. Smooth out the wallpaper with a broad knife or a wallpaper brush and press it into corners. It is recommended that you start at the top of the wallpaper, working your way down using vertical strokes, as horizontal strokes may stretch the wallpaper. Remember to work from the inside area toward the edges to remove wrinkles and bubbles.
  9. Once you\’ve done, trim the wallpaper at the top and bottom. Make sure that you press the paper as tightly into the corner as possible (use a straightedge to press the paper). Trim the paper where needed with a sharp utility knife.
  10. Repeat by hanging the second piece and so forth. Make sure that the patterns match at the seams.
  11. Leave the wallpaper up for about 15 minutes, then use a seam roller to press the seams together.

Congratulations, you have completed your wallpapering project!

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