Wall(pain)er

True story. The other day someone came to our house to buy something off of craigslist, and do you know what they said? They said they liked our wallpaper in the foyer. Wait, let me say that again. That they liked our wallpaper in the foyer. Now it’s a good thing that Jay was the one assisting them, since ya know, I think I would have snort laughed at them, and that might have been considered rude.

Yes, this wallpaper.

Blue and White Wallpaper

Now, this wallpaper gives me nightmares. The dang stuff creeps me out. It’s like old fashioned people dressed in blue are staring at me all the time. I just couldn’t handle it. So this weekend, I smiled nicely at Jay, handed him a scrapper and said, son – let’s get to gettin.

Lucky for us (although tedious) this stuff slides right off like butta (MUCH easier than our last round of removal).

Like full sheets. The top layer practically came off in sheets just pulling it off with our bare hands.

Removing Wallpaper

Side note – have you guys been to Savannah? Jay and I came to the conclusion that the pink hue underneath all this wallpaper reminded us a lot of the Old Pink House in Savannah. Truth. This also gave me the creeps, since you know, that’s haunted and all.

Old Pink Walls

Our general system is that Jay would come through and remove the top sheet of wallpaper, while I would spray everything down underneath, and come back through to scrap off the sublayer and glue beneath. This, turns out, was quite messy.

Removing Wallpaper on Steps

Once I had gone through and scraped off everything that I could reach, it was Jay’s turn to get the higher spots throughout the house. Tag teamin’ it.

How to Remove Wallpaper

Now, we knew there was probably a reason why this entire space was wallpapered (including the ceiling in the upstairs hallway) so although it wasn’t a pleasant discovery, I can’t say we were surprised to find some serious crack action happening on our walls. Since the basement issue wasn’t dealt with for quite a while, and it seems like the previous owners opted to cover things up vs. deal with them (wallpapering vs. fixing the basement), there are some settlement cracks in the house that we’ve had to work around as we go from room to room. That’s how the cookie crumbles when you buy a 1939 home though.

Cracking Wall in Old House

Now that the blue and white nightmare is down, I’m starting to get some ideas of what I’d like to do with the space. Chalk it up to all the cracks, but I’m thinking that I might add some more wallpaper! 😉 Something a bit more subtle though, perhaps like the grass cloth wallpaper shot I’ve got below, with wainscoting down below (like the master).

Grasscloth Wallpaper

And although this really doesn’t look like progress, we’re pretty darn happy to have our hallway looking like this these days.

Removing Wallpaper on Steps

Instead of this.

Blue and White Wallpaper

The orange tabby, meanwhile, just wants to fit in as many naps as possible. 🙂 Jay, turns out, was happy to join him post wallpaper removal.

Cat Nap

 

Scrape it Sista

Y’all my arms hurt. It’s quite possible it’s from helping Jay bird all weekend with some demo and floor laying (yep!! the floors are finally going in!), but I think my aching arms may also be due to all the scrape action that’s been going down in this joint.

Since I haven’t really formally introduced y’all to our Master Bedroom, without further ado, rrrr she blows.

Master Bedroom Before

The room’s decently large and actually has a little nook off to the side. For now, it’s great for a little sitting area, but down the road I definitely plan on making this a bathroom to complete this room as a finished Master Suite. (eeee – isn’t that exciting!)

Adding Bath to Master Bedroom

Like the other bedroom upstairs, the Master also has a nice front dormer, which I’ve found perfect for stalking all our dog walking neighbors.

Dormer on Cape Cod

Yep, glad you noticed, that wallpaper definitely does match those ultra chic window treatments. Ultra. Chic.

Wallpaper Matching Curtains

It’s cute, it’s nice, but I hate to say that it just had to go. Well Jay was working on the initial round of demo in the kitchen, I tasked myself with with some serious scrape action. Now, truth be told, I’ve tackled this hairy beast before, and although it very tedious, it’s really not rocket science. It is however, a decent arm work out. 😉

My tool of choice for this tricky little task was a smallish little scrapper that I actually scored for a quarter at my new favorite thrifting local (this place is epic, it seriously warrants it’s own post!) This little tool worked like a dream. Since I’ve always used larger scrappers, I started out my wallpaper removal extravaganza with both and thought (for the most part) I’d be using the larger one. More surface area, right? Seemed like the better option. But ya know, once I got my arm a twerking, I started to see that the smaller one actually worked vastly better due to it’s ability to flex a bit as I was removing the paper. Turns out that makes a heck of a lot of difference.

Tips for Removing Wallpaper

And although I’ve heard many people recommend a steamer for getting the paper off, in all honesty, I’ve always had lots of luck with a good old spray bottle and lots and lots of water 🙂

The main thing I found that’s key (in my opinion) to getting the paper off the wall, is to actually let everything marinate a bit on the wall before you tackle it. To get started on each section, I’d just take the scrapper and try to remove a bit of paper right where a seam began, or a door or window was, since I found it easier to start a new line at these locations. Once you have some of the wall exposed underneath, you just spray water to your hearts content.

How to Remove Wall Paper

My main strategy was to move both left and right from my origination point, to allow the water to seep in a bit before I started scraping at the wall. Since the water works best when it’s soaking in below the top coat of the wallpaper, I’d work to expose as much of the adhesive coat (the white paper, underneath the patterned wallpaper) then spray it. If it’s been sitting long enough and if it’s wet enough, then it literally just slides off with your scrapper. Just like butta. In general, I found that letting the water soak in for a minimum of a minute helped to make sure that the paper came off easily for me. Anything less than that and I’d find myself having to wait a bit, since the water had still not done it’s magic to loosen everything up.

Once I finished scrapping all the paper that came off easily, I’d douse it in water again and then move over to the other side of the wall and repeat. It took a while, but eventually it all came off. See, look how happy I am about all that wallpaper be gone progress a happening.

Best Ways to Remove Wallpaper

Another (small) thing I found that made a big difference for applying the water was putting the spray nozzle to mist vs. a stream setting. Mostly, this setting just covered more surface area, but it also kept me from getting totally wet in the process 🙂 It was so hot down here in the south last week, that I was actually using the water bottle to cool off as much as I was to spray the walls, so in the end it was a win win situation 🙂

Once I got all of the wallpaper off the walls, I did a quick booty shake happy dance and then moved on (a day later) to washing everything down with some warm soapy water to get all the extra residue off the wall. Even though it felt like I was completely done after the initial pass through, when you looked a bit closer on the wall you could definitely see bits of paper left over from the initial scrape.

Although not nearly as tedious as the wallpaper removal itself, washing down the walls still took me the better part of an evening to bust out. All’s well that ends well though, since we now have this!

Removing Wallpaper in Old House

See ya later, flower powered walls 😀

Removing Wallpaper From Walls