removing *this* wallpaper is *difficult*! (other was easy) Hints?

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Rewallpapering first and part of 2nd floor; previous stuff put up 30 or 40 years ago.
(Well, actually we're just removing the wallpaper so we can paint the walls -- wife says she wants a change...)
This room's (hall and stairwell) paper was cheaper than the other, and is proving damn near impossible to get off.
We're using enzyme-stuff "DIF" brand.
We've tried steam from kettle just off stove, boiling -- no effect.
Also *very* hot water (just short of boiling) -- no effect (ie, no incremental improvement -- although on the other rooms, yes, it did help there).
DIF does help, but not enough -- the back side of the paper ("backing"?) and glue stick to the wall, and the only way we know to get it off is the scraper, difficult inch by difficult inch, taking a *huge* amount of time.
Is far more difficult than in the other rooms, with a better class of wallpaper having been put up (also 30 to 40 years ago).
QUESTION: (1) are these different brands of wallpaper- remover chemical all the same, or do some use *different* chemicals from the others?
(2) Currently, we're using DIF brand.
Anything better?
(Especially if you've actually tried DIF, and discovered yourself that some other brand works better!)
(3) Any hints?
(4) Does making the blades eg razor-sharp help (they're already pretty darned sharp)?
Thanks!
David
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snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote in

No idea (sorry).

Sometimes plain water has worked better for us -- especially if the patterned surface could be torn off, leaving just the paper backing stuck to the wall. Soak the paper with a sponge, wait a few minutes, and then it scrapes off easily.

If the blade is too sharp, it will just cut into the plaster or drywall.
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What I learned by scraping the wallpaper off almost every wall in a 1800 sf house -
1. Let the water work. Wait a while. If you have to scrape, the water hasn't soaked through to the glue. If it won't go through the outer paper because it is foil or vinyl, use a paper tiger.
2. There are vastly different kinds of wallpaper in the same house that may have been applied at the same time. In the bathroom, we had a foil covered type that made it difficult to allow the water in. We used a paper tiger. In the kitchen, the wallpaper looked as thick as paneling. Probably 10x as thick as the bathroom paper. It all comes off different.
3. DON'T SCRAPE WITH ANYTHING SHARP. You will gouge the wall, then have to retexture, which is not hard, but an unnecessary step, and tricky if you haven't done it before. Use the plastic drywall mud spreaders to scrape where you have to, and use light pressure. You only want to get the wallpaper, not the drywall paper.
4. Get all the glue off. Even when it looks like it is all gone, mist the wall, and look at it at an angle. You will be able to see the blobs of snot. Removing this will give you a better paint job. If the wallpaper was put on some time ago, they probably used cellulose glue, and all you have to do to get it to release is get the water in there. If they used a modern "glue", all bets are off.
5. It takes time. Lots of time. Lots of spraying. Lots of rubbing. Easy it ain't. Patience it takes.
HTH
Steve
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This is why it is important to apply sizing before wall papering a new wall. It makes the subsequent removal sooo... much easier.
RB
David Combs wrote:

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FWIW sizing is little more than thinned down watery adhesive. It helps provide slip over porous sufaces. It does nothing to make removal easier.
The proper PRIMER though is essential.
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Combs) wrote:

I have used DIF and found it worked very well on some ancient wallpaper over plaster. Are you letting it work long enough before scraping? (15-20 minutes.) Try a second coat of DIF after the first, before scraping.
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One tip that you might find useful is to buy a 6 in putty knife and round the corners with a file. That will help prevent gouges. Good luck, your going to need it..........
v/r Jerry
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I found this link on the Lowe's website and it really helped me: http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=howTo&p=HomeDecor/removewallpaper
I tried different techniques before I found what worked best in my case. I tried spraying with soapy water (using a garden/pesticide sprayer). But, what worked best was to FIRST peel off whatever paper I could while it was dry -- just find corners, peel them up, pull paper away from wall in sections. Then, I sprayed soapy water on what was left -- brownish backing -- and it came right off.
Before doing that technique, I was wetting the paper and trying to peel and/or scrap, but the wetting made the paper too soft to peel off from the backing without breaking apart, and not soft enough to just scrap off. So peeling it off DRY first, then wetting and scraping worked the best.

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RTLP wrote:

The simple logic is that water has to reach the paste in order to dissolve it and get the paste and paper off the wall. "Strippable" paper (in my experience) pulls away, top layer only, very easily. Then spray the remaining paper - there is now no vinyl coating - let the water soak in, spray again, and start lifting the paper away with a scraper. When the paper isn't strippable, I use coarse sandpaper and care not to cut too deeply with it. Sand horizontally to cut through the vinyl surface, back and forth just enough to make close cuts through the surface. Solid vinyl wallcoverings need the same approach, just a little bit more cutting through with the sandpaper. I don't know what advantage the chemicals are supposed to have - enzymes? The plain simple truth is that water still has to reach the paste. I've stripped paper in four homes, and never had trouble getting paper off with this method. Usually takes two tries, as the paper won't be cut deeply enough in places - I'm careful so's I don't cut into the paper covering of the wallboard. Lots of rags and newspaper, coffee, something to do during the "soak" cycle. Messy. Not rocket science. Let the whole mess dry a day before washing the wall down for a final time to get the last remnants of paste.
I don't know when vinyl coated papers became the most common, but unless the paper is really antique it probably has some sort of waterproof coating, if not solid vinyl. The only time I've had difficulty getting paper off was where somebody used a repair adhesive to reglue seams that came loose - the stuff was like Elmer's Glue, and had to use a razor scraper to shave it down because it would not soften with anything.
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to be shot, but that's just me."
I couldn't agree more! That @%#$@# should have been erased from the gene pool but.........you know, it kinda funny that after all of the hours of blood and sweat removing 5 rooms of wall paper and patching drywall and priming and texturing and painting, my wife goes; "you know, a nice boarder would look good in here"......AHHHHHHHHHH!
v/r Bravo
Darwin is alive and well.
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BRAVO52 wrote:

Without us, the species will die out. Or go back to caves. Half belong in caves, but not my half :o) When you line up the firing squad, save room for amateur plumbers who reverse the direction of one of the faucets when they change the washer. Get them first :o)

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (BRAVO52) wrote:

Bravo-
Have your DW help you remove the wallpaper next time. Her appetite for boarders will most likely be diminished.
Or, how about asking her if a stencil border wouldn't look better?
I'm in the middle of the worst wallpaper removal job I've ever come across & (as usual) I'm glad I don't have a gun... I believe wallpaper in kitchens is pure evil.
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Wall paper is slow going, on the farm mom and dad rented a wallpaper steamer. Like a steam iron on lots of steroids. The paddle was about 10 inches square. Placed on wall pull trigger and steam for a few seconds. I will bet we went through 30 gallons of water before we were done, whole house. Some of the layers of wall paper numbered 5 most were 3. It takes time no matter what you do. A sponge a bucket of water and make the wall wet in an area. Repeat until it peals off. As long as you do not let it dry then it goes pretty fast. relatively.//////
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Just slap some 1/4 drywall over and and be dont with it. I bought a 100 year old house and one room had three layers of wallpaper (asshats) Some sections fell right off other wouldn't come off if a plane hit the house. SO I just covered it up. Help with sound just a slight bit as well.

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Yea that works fine if you don't care how it looks against the trim.
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If yuo have gotten deep enough to try and remove old wallpaper, removing or replacing trim is 10x as easy. As for the outlets, there are box extender or if there aren't on a stud, use box ears.

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Why go thru all that bullshit trying to remove it? According to several people here, you can just paint right over all that wallpaper no problem ever.
Personally, I think anyone who thinks "Hey, how about wallpaper?" ought to be shot, but that's just me.
AJS
snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote:

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AJScott wrote:

Trouble is, it looks like crap. At least, not as good as either alone (except for that red velvet stuff)

My opinion of people who paint over wallpaper, and then spackle where the paper tears :o)
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Thanks so much for all the help!
-------
Wife finally tried some other things, eg ammonia, DIF paste, etc -- nothing worked on that final paste -- then she tried rubbing alcohol -- WHOOPEE!
Straight -- not mixed with water. (doesn't work)
Cheers!
David
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