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Layers of Wallpaper and Paint: How to Remove

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Sherm in Missouri needs help with a painting and wallpapering project. What can we do for you?

    SHERM: Hey, I’ve got a bedroom that came with multiple layers of wallpaper and paint.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Lucky you.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Multiple layers at no additional charge. (all chuckle)

    SHERM: And we just tried to seal it with KILZ and treat it like a new wall, which seemed to work great for a few years but now it’s splitting at multiple seams.

    TOM: Yeah.

    SHERM: And our worry is, if we tried to get in and strip it, we’d get into a big disaster. Is there a way to reseal it or is it better to just go ahead and try to strip it?

    LESLIE: Hmm.

    TOM: Is the cracking that you’re seeing at the seams of the wallpaper?

    SHERM: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah. No, you can’t – there’s no way to fix this at this point.

    LESLIE: Probably too much weight of paint on that wallpaper, too.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s just not going to behave right. What I would do is I would rent a wallpaper steamer and a tool called a paper tiger, which allows you to sort of perforate the wallpaper – it’s a pretty inexpensive tool and a wallpaper steamer doesn’t cost that much to rent – and try to work an area and see how difficult it’ll be. You may find that with all the years that have passed, that that wallpaper …

    LESLIE: It might just fall off the wall. (chuckles)

    TOM: Yeah, it may come off a lot easier than you think.

    SHERM: Even with the paint and sealer over it?

    TOM: Yeah, actually, that would probably make it come off even quicker, I would think, Leslie.

    LESLIE: I mean it’s anybody’s guess. You’ve got a lot of stuff on there, so eventually what’s going to happen is nothing is going to stick to it anymore. You need a new surface to sort of work with. I mean if it really becomes such a giant mess, you could always get that 1/2-inch drywall and go right over it and call it a new surface.

    SHERM: Well, that’s – we’re trying to stop short of doing that, so …

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah.

    TOM: Yeah, I think at this point – when you get so many layers of paint, especially on top of wallpaper – wallpaper has never really been designed to be painted over …

    LESLIE: But everybody does it.

    TOM: … so at this point, I think you’ve reached – you’ve reached saturation, Sherm; let’s put it that way. OK?

    SHERM: (chuckles) OK.

    TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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