How to Remove Vinyl Wallpaper
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sue on the line who needs some help removing wallpaper. Tell us what’s going on.
SUE: Well, I live in an older house that has every single wall in the house is wallpapered.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
SUE: And I’m really sick of wallpaper.
TOM: Yeah. Going to be a lot of years of wallpaper, too, huh, Sue?
SUE: Yes, it is.
LESLIE: Well, you know, as a decorator, wallpaper is coming back in a big way. And big, bold patterns sometimes work really well in interesting spaces. But they might not always be what everybody wants.
Now, Sue, tell me, is it paper or is it vinyl?
SUE: I think it might be a vinyl. Don’t want it.
LESLIE: OK. Now, with vinyl, you’re going to need to score that wall covering first, only because the vinyl is going to stop any of your efforts from actually getting to where the paste is.
Now, I’ve done this before and it depends on how you’ve actually put up the paper and how long it’s been there and what it is adhered to. Was the drywall behind it prepared first? That’s all going to depend on your success rate in removing the wallpaper. But believe it or not – and it’s definitely worth trying; it doesn’t always work but it has been successful many times for me – you can actually remove wallpaper with fabric softener.
LESLIE: I know it sounds crazy.
TOM: Works great.
LESLIE: But you can mix about a 1/3-cup fabric softener with 2/3-cup hot water. Or you can even do it with – what is it – laundry starch: equal amounts of laundry starch and hot water.
And the laundry starch, the benefit I find with that is that it ends up being like a thicker consistency, so it holds the moisture on the wallpaper where you want it, whereas the fabric softener and water is a little bit wetter.
But you – if you’re using the fabric softener, you want to put it in a spray bottle, spritz that wallpaper, get it super-wet, let it sit there for 10 to 15 minutes. That wallpaper, you’re going to feel it start to loosen and then you’re going to peel it away. Start at the bottom, work your way to the top. You may need a scraper to sort of get underneath it and give it a lot of elbow grease. But with the laundry starch and hot water, you can put that on with a paint roller or a sponge. Super-wet the walls again, let it stand until you can peel away.
And I would start there before I start renting steamers and getting crazy chemicals. Just start and see your success rate.
SUE: OK. That sounds easier than I thought it would be.
TOM: Well, that’s what we’re here for. Thanks so much, Sue, for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that wallpaper project.
SUE: Well, thank you. I’m going to be starting it probably in the next couple of weeks.
TOM: Good. And then we’ll talk to you next year when you’re finished, OK?
SUE: No, no. It’s going to be (inaudible at 0:34:16). Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome.