How to Remove Wallpaper
LESLIE: (singing) Let’s do the time warp again. (Tom chuckles) Michelle in Texas is stuck in the 70s. Ooh.
Tell us about it.
MICHELLE: Bought a house about 1972, circa. And the wallpaper in the bathroom is the foil with the yellow flowers with the matching shower curtain with the little balls on it.
TOM: So it matched your bell-bottom jeans and your love beads, huh?
MICHELLE: Love beads, yeah. (Tom chuckles) And I want to just paint over the wallpaper but I don’t think that would be wise, so I’ve got to strip it but it’s probably been there, what, since 1972; that’s more years than I’ve probably been alive.
LESLIE: Well, that – well, geez. Make us feel old. (Tom chuckles) Well, that’s probably going to work for you because the glue’s actually had time to dry out a little bit over this time and it might not be gripping as well as it should be anyway. So the best thing – and don’t go with that paper tiger. I always find it makes a bigger mess than it’s worth. But if you get a steamer – just rent a steamer and really take your time and steam those surfaces. It will moisten that glue enough that you’ll be able to peel it away.
MICHELLE: Well, I think that’s probably what I’m going to end up doing. I’ve kind of investigated a little bit and thought about it. It’s probably the wisest way to go, wouldn’t you think?
LESLIE: Well, I think it’s easiest to just remove it because if you paint over it, the paint is never going to adhere as well as you want it to. If there’s any texture on that wallpaper it’s going to show through the paint and you’re going to still be unsatisfied with it. And just because it doesn’t have a nice, clean surface to stick to, it’s not …
TOM: Yeah, it looks like painted wallpaper.
TOM: I mean it looks like exactly what it is.
LESLIE: And you’ll be more unhappy with it.
TOM: Yeah, you’re not going to like it.
LESLIE: Now Tom, once the wallpaper is off and everything is sort of moistened, she should be able to just take like a big scraper and really get that glue off the wall.
TOM: Yeah, I think so. Scrape it off. And then the other important step to not forget to do is to simply make sure that you prime those walls with a KILZ primer. You want to prime them so you have a good surface to work because you don’t want to paint right on top of that old wallpaper paste. You don’t know what you’re dealing with there. Prime it because you’ll get an even surface and you’ll be good to go.
MICHELLE: Sounds like a plan. Too bad we can’t get rid of the avocado green toilet and matching tub. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: Hey, work with it. I bet it’s kind of cool. Pick some colors that go really nicely with it. Think about it. Make it work for you.
MICHELLE: Yeah, I think I’ll probably go with some kind of sage, maybe, or lighter green. I don’t know yet. We’re still working on it.
LESLIE: Make it the Zen, earthy bathroom.
MICHELLE: Now that’s a good idea.
TOM: And then just find a mood ring to match.
MICHELLE: Yeah, exactly. (Tom chuckles) Well, everything comes back around, don’t they say? (chuckles)
LESLIE: What’s old is new again. And you know what? That foil wallpaper – there’s a vintage wallpaper shop in New York City and they sell that by the boatloads for like $90 a roll.
MICHELLE: Ah. I’m in the wrong area. (Leslie and Michelle laugh) Well, I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: You’re so welcome.
MICHELLE: I really appreciate your show.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.