Strip Wallpaper Before Painting Walls
LESLIE: Helen in New York has a wallpaper question. What can we do for you?
HELEN: Yes. I had wallpaper removed and the sizing was still on the wall but it was painted over. What can be done about that? But the paint is not mold (ph).
LESLIE: So is the paint sticking or you don’t like the fact that you can see the seams and it looks like there’s still wallpaper?
HELEN: You can still see the sizing.
LESLIE: Right. So you want to try to cover that up.
HELEN: I want to try to get rid of all of that, yeah.
LESLIE: Well, if you want to try to get rid of it, your best bet is to probably score the sizing first. There’s a product out there called a Paper Tiger. It’s like a circular, handheld tool that has a lot of little blades on it. And you score that wallpaper and then you would rent a steamer, like a wallpaper steamer, and you would steam that wall to sort of loosen up the adhesive on the backside and all of those little cuts and perforations that you’ve made on the sizing itself will allow that moisture to get behind it and then you can peel away those strips.
Now it’s a time-consuming project and chances are, when you get done with it, the wall is still going to have a little bit of residue from glue and you can try to clean that up with TSP, which is trisodium phosphate; that might get a little bit of it off. But you may still have some unevenness on that wall surface and, if you do, that’s OK. I mean there’s really not much you can do about it. You can sand, you can try your best to sort of freshen it up. But I would cover over it; you know, prime first and then paint with a flat finish. Because if you go anything higher than a flat, you’re going to notice every uneven surface because of the sheen in the paint.
HELEN: Yeah. OK. And another thing, how can I wash my windows without making them streaky?
LESLIE: Do you use paper towels? Is that what’s going on?
LESLIE: Try using black and white newspaper. Be really careful when you get around the panes by the painted areas because sometimes the newspaper ink can transfer. But that – I mean there’s something miraculous about newspaper that makes it so it doesn’t get streaky. And also, you can use vinegar and water rather than using a window-cleaning product.
HELEN: Ah, vinegar and water.
HELEN: Oh, OK. I’ll try that. OK.