I knew it was going to be difficult to remove wallpaper from the house we bought. I just had no idea it would be quite so difficult. I also didn’t realize towards the end that I would start seriously doubting if we even made the right decision on purchasing this house. Thankfully I’m past all of that and I’m in love with the house all over again, but removing wallpaper is not for the faint at heart!
The house we bought is from 1972. One of the bedrooms had original wallpaper and one of them we stripped through enough that we found the original nursery wallpaper! It was a little sad to see that! The only wallpaper that come off easily was the dining room border. That was it.
Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what we were up against.
The half bath off the laundry room. This had a border on the top.
The laundry room that is right off the kitchen. I’m seriously so excited about all the cabinet space I have, and that I’ll have a main floor laundry room! But the vines had to go. It looked like it was from the 1990’s.
Here is the kitchen with more of the same wallpaper! It went through the hallway as well. As a side note, I still don’t have a firm idea of what I’m doing with the extra space by those windows. We are not eating in here as a family, the formal dining room is right off the kitchen and we will use that for our table. But I might get a smaller table to put in here and use for homeschooling. Another thought was a small love seat that the children could read at or hang out in the kitchen while I make meals.
One of the bedrooms. Notice even the guitar on the wall has the same border wallpaper behind it?!
This large floral wallpaper seemed to be a popular choice in several rooms!
Ok, you probably have an idea at this point. There was a lot of wallpaper.
How did we get it all down?
Going into this project I received lots and lots of advice. Some said use blue dish soap and water. Others said to use fabric softener and water. Then I heard white vinegar. And of course, getting a steamer was always an option.
I tried almost all of those option, and really decided that it almost varies room by room what works. It depends on how old your wallpaper is, if the wallpaper is a thinner type or if it’s thick and comes off nicely. Most of our wallpaper was thin (of course!).
While we used several different things, what by far worked the best was buying a steamer from Lowe’s. You can also get it on Amazon here. This steamer was amazing and I highly recommend it! I was told that you can rent a steamer for $50 a day, so it definitely was worth purchasing since we used it for over 2 weeks.
Our oldest son helping to steam and scrape.
It was a slow process, it took over 2 weeks to get it all done. We were working 6 days a week with friends helping and it felt like it would never get done!
Just another day of wallpaper removal. I was getting tired at this point.
We also used the Paper Tiger for scoring the walls. You have to be careful that you don’t press super hard or the wall will be damaged, but you need to press hard enough for it to work. It really just takes practice.
Finally, we did spray the walls before we steamed in certain rooms. When the wallpaper was being really stubborn we would spray and steam, and then spray and steam some more.
We used the Piranha Wallpaper removal spray, and it seemed to work better than the homemade solutions.
This is the room that I felt like giving up on. It took us 3 ½ days to get all the wallpaper off this one room, with friends helping! We had to go through three layers of wallpaper, and paint in-between those layers! The final layer was the nursery paper. We managed to mess the drywall up pretty bad, but the guy we hired to come in and mud and sand all the walls made it look new again!
If you want the walls to look new again, hire someone to come and mud them and sand them for you. Seriously, don’t try to do this yourself. It took a professional 6 days to do this, and it would have taken us weeks and it would have looked horrible! This picture you can see the difference of where he had just applied mud to the wall, and the top part still needs it.
And the finished wall ends up looking like this!! All smooth and new looking. This is the gray color I’m painting throughout a lot of the house!
If you want to take down wallpaper, you need lots of patience, time, and a vision of what the end result will look like! Once I saw the kitchen wall painted those weeks of scraping wallpaper was worth it!
I’ll go through the steps we did one last time below.
- Score the walls using the Paper Tiger.
- Spray walls using a wallpaper removal solution.
- Using a wallpaper steamer, hold the steamer on the wall for up to 30 seconds. The length depends on how good your wallpaper is stuck on the wall!
- Use a wallpaper scraper tool or a putty knife to scrape it off the wall.
- Repeat a thousand and one times. 🙂
And here are the items we used! I hope this helps if you want to tackle a room that has wallpaper.