Tips for Removing Wallpaper from Drywall
LESLIE: Sally in Colorado needs some help with wallpaper; namely, getting rid of it. What’s going on, Sally?
SALLY: We have a house with wallpaper put directly on the sheetrock. There was no sizing put on …
SALLY: … no paint, no nothing and we can’t get it off.
TOM: Now what have you tried so far, Sally?
SALLY: Oh, gosh. Well, we’ve tried spraying Downy fabric softener on it. We’ve tried steam. We’ve tried – oh, we’ve tried just scraping it off. We’ve tried chemicals from Home Depot.
SALLY: We just haven’t had any luck.
TOM: Hmm. And you did rent a steamer; a wallpaper steamer?
SALLY: We’ve done a steamer. Oh, yeah, that was the first thing we tried.
TOM: OK. Now did you try to perforate the wallpaper first with any types of tools; either doing this with a – lightly score it with a drywall knife or there’s a tool called paper tiger that puts little tiny sort of prickly …
LESLIE: It’s like a palm-held, circular item; blades all underneath it.
TOM: Yeah. Have you tried that?
SALLY: We’ve tried both of those. We’ve tried … (Leslie growls)
TOM: Alright. Well, I guess, Sally, you’ve probably gone through all of the obvious choices and without that sizing on there you just might have such a permanent bond of the wallpaper to the paper surface of the drywall that you may not be able to get this off. Now, if that is the case, what are your options?
Well, if it’s a paper-faced wallpaper, you could paint over it. You could prime it and you could paint over it and, in fact, years and years ago they used to put wallpaper over plaster walls to give it a nicer finish and then they would paint over that. And of course, the only other option would be for you to skin the drywall with an additional layer and for that we would recommend very thin drywall, like a quarter-inch drywall; but of course, it’s quite a big project.
SALLY: Oh, thank you so much. We’ve contacted painters and different people in town and nobody will touch it. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Well, sometimes you’ve got to get creative, Sally, and hope we helped you do just that.
SALLY: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.