Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Short History of Wallpaper……all in one house!

15 minutes after closing and the wallpaper  is already going!

Wallpaper, Wallpaper and More Wallpaper

Our project house has 7 different wallpapers, ranging from an early victorian floral to a 60’s geometric in the dining room and then lots and lots of vinyl floral and prints everywhere else. 

Grimy granny paper
 So, how do we get it off?  I've stripped lots of wallpaper over the years and thought I'd start this project with a new tool.  Wagner makes a pretty nifty wallpaper steamer for $50 that I've been dying to try (yes, I know normal people don't get excited over a wallpaper steamer).

Old victorian paper

Old paper wallpaper is a dream to strip.  Just get it wet and scrape it off.  Vinyl can be trickier.  Most newer vinyl paper is ‘strippable’.  Simply find a loose corner and you can tug the vinyl layer off.  It leaves the paper behind, but that’s easy to remove.

Trickier is early vinyl…..and this house has a lot of it!!!  I started in the front bedroom and found I could pull it off, but it took chunks of the wall with it.  These are plaster walls in a room that appears to have housed a teenager that kicked the walls a lot.   Lots of damage that’s going to require taping and joint compound before it will look nice.

Fixing the holes after wallpaper removal

The back bedroom wallpaper (aka granny paper), however, won’t budge at all.  Here’s where the stripper comes in. We just plug it in and start steaming.   See how easily it comes off!

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  1. wow ..... i recently removed my temporary backsplash (textured wallpaper) in my Kitchen and was reminded that I hadn't removed the original wallpaper that was there when we bought the house.

    I love the stories "walls tell" .... of course, I had many layers of various colors to my own credit.

    You're doing a Great job. I love following along

    1. Thank so much! You're right - the walls tell a lot!

  2. I really enjoy your blog, which I happened upon by accident. I am a fairly recent transplant to Maine, but our previous house in Virginia was a total fixer-upper and reading your posts reminds me of that time. We were so exhausted at night we usually ended up at a 24-hr diner for dinner at midnight several times a week. This post reminded me of all the green brocade-like velvet wallpaper we struggled to get off - what a bear! But it looked so good after. Of course, when we finally had gotten the house to our liking, we moved to Maine. I miss that house and the way we custom-made it. We currently live in Cape Elizabeth, and our house is a curious mix of all types of styles since the previous owner did a lot of "creative" work on his own (also a lot not up to code). However, with two small kids, our renovation spirit is in hibernation. So, it is great to read about your project instead and plan ahead :-) Also, a big bonus to read about somebody local!

  3. If you're in Cape, you're just around the corner! Glad to hear you're enjoying the blog. It sounds like you had 'flocked' wallpaper - which had to have been a nightmare to remove. But I'm sure it looked fabulous when you finished. Thankfully, our new project doesn't have any wallpaper that needs removing. But of course there are lots of other things to do!

    I hope you can stop by our Open House when we get the place finished. It would be great to meet you in person!



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