Removing Vinyl Wallpaper
LESLIE: Daniel’s got redecorating on the mind. What’s going on out there in Virginia?
DANIEL: Just bought a house. It was built in the 1950’s. It’s got vinyl wallpaper on it and I don’t know what to do. It’s real sticky. And we were thinking about removing it. Do you just go ahead and paint underneath (ph) of it? I was wondering if you knew a trick to getting that off without peeling it and tearing it to pieces.
TOM: Absolutely. There’s really two ways to tackle this. With vinyl, any of the wallpaper strippers that you use are not going to soak through that because of the vinyl surface. So you have to use a tool called a paper tiger which basically puts small holes in the vinyl so the solution can get behind it. But the easiest way to do it – and if I had a lot of paper, this is definitely what I would do – I would rent a wallpaper steamer.
LESLIE: Don’t use the tiger. Rent that steamer and go for it.
TOM: You like that better?
LESLIE: Well, the tiger, it’s like it’s a little round rotary tool with a bunch of blades in the backside. So you’re scratching up the paper and you’re causing it to rip into like a million jillion pieces per small, tiny area. So once it starts to work, you’re going to be dealing with tiny, tiny little pieces, which can be time consuming; especially in a large space. If you rent the steamer, you run that steamer over that wallpaper panel and you should be able to peel it right off. I mean it really is so much more effective.
TOM: Now Daniel, after you get the wallpaper off, it will be important that the wall is clean and then also primed. You want to use a good quality primer when you’re going to paint over a wall that had wallpaper on it because you’ve had paste and other things on that wall surface and you don’t really want to put the top coat of paint on top of that. So use a good quality primer. Paint the wall with the primer first, let it dry and then put the top coat on top of it and you’ll be sure that the top color coat is going to stick properly and look really nice.
DANIEL: OK, that sounds great.
TOM: Daniel, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.