Removing Wallpaper and Popcorn Ceilings
LESLIE: Going on now to South Carolina with Banks (ph). What’s your question? Something about wallpaper and a popcorn ceiling? How can we help?
BANKS (ph): Absolutely. We’ve got a situation we just moved into and we’re kind of eyeball (ph) … and we’ve got some hideous wallpaper and some lovely popcorn ceilings that we’re – I’m trying to get rid of altogether. And I just wanted to know, first off …
LESLIE: Banks (ph), if you wait long enough, it’ll come back in style. (chuckling)
TOM: Yeah, those are antiques. How dare you remove them? (laughing)
BANKS (ph): That’s what my wife was wondering. But I don’t think this particular thing’s going to come back in. And we were just wondering if it’s appropriate to do it all at once; both together in the same room. And then secondly, just some smart methods for making it happen.
TOM: Well, I’ll tell you, they’re both messy jobs so I think it does make sense to do it all at once and have it behind you because I can’t imagine we want to break this misery into two projects.
LESLIE: And is it for real a popcorn ceiling? Like, do you feel it like popping off or is it more of like a stiff texture?
BANKS (ph): It’s very stiff.
TOM: OK. Here’s what you’re going to have to do. First of all, let’s talk about the popcorn ceiling because that’s going to probably be the most difficult. What you’re going to want to do is probably wet that down and then scrape off the texture part. You’ll need a spackle knife – a regular spackle blade; the kind you use to apply …
LESLIE: Get like a good wide one.
TOM: Yeah, a good wide one. And dampen it and work it a little bit at a time all the way across the room. The goal here is to take off the texture without too much damaging the drywall underneath it. Once it’s all off, you’re going to need to prime the ceiling. But before you prime the ceiling, let’s tackle that wallpaper because that’s going to need a coat of primer, too. Leslie?
LESLIE: Yeah, for the wallpaper the best bet is just rent a steamer. If you can rent a steamer and then really saturate that wallpaper and work in sections and really get that glue behind – you know that adhesive loosened up – you should be able to peel it away in fairly large pieces. You know, you don’t want to get one of those cutting devices that sort of rips it into a million little pieces and then shred it because then you’re pulling off tiny little bits and then you could be damaging whatever is underneath; if it’s the drywall or whatever was the substructure. But just really steam it. It’s going to be wet in there. It’s going to be messy. But if you work together, you can get this room done.
TOM: You know, come to think of it, since you’re going to rent a steamer anyway, that would probably work just as well as wetting down the popcorn. So you may be able to do both projects with the same machine. Basically, it’s getting a lot of humidity and moisture into it that’s going to loosen the material up and make it separate.
But once you get it all done, make sure you prime the ceiling and the wall surfaces so you have something neutral to start the new project with. And on that popcorn ceiling, when you repaint it, make sure you use flat paint; only flat paint. Because if you use anything with a sheen, you’re going to see like every scar with the [flat form] (ph) – where the popcorn used to be.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. We know it’s the holiday time and we know you’re in a frenzy. But add to your list. You know you can always reach us at our secret number. It’s not so secret. You know it. You can call us anytime; 24 hours a day, seven days a week; even on the big holidays. We’re going to help you out with any home improvement dilemma. Call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.