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Old 08-04-2014, 09:38 AM   #1
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Wallpaper removal from plaster walls

Set to start this project. 3 different kinds of wallpaper - regular old wallpaper, stuff that looks like finely woven material ( not that "grass" wallpaper ), and flocked paper. The paper stuff is on good, picked around at seams and it's holding fast. The woven stuff ( in the bathroom ) was starting to come down on its own and I can peel some of it now. There's nothing under the paper, it's original to the house ( 1960 ), and I believe there's paint and/or primer under it.

I was going to use commercial stuff, Piranha was recommended by a local guy, but in doing reading I thought what the heck and will try plain old vinegar since I have a few gallons of that laying around.

I have a couple questions before tackling this -

Do I need to do anything different, or be careful about something, since this is on plaster?

Vinegar concoction, 50/50 with water? Instead of spray bottle, would a big sponge or paintbrush application work the same?

After soaking, I was going to put on a thin plastic dropcloth, as I've read that helps keep the paper wetter longer. Good or bad idea, useful or useless?

The Piranha "paste sponge" looks like nothing more than a scotchbrite pad glued to a big sponge. I assume I could use one of my scotchbrite pads and my hand? I have brown/red, gray, and I think green. Which one would be better?

I have a DA sander and a jitterbug style palm...should, could those be used after stripping as much paste as I can? Walls will be painted once paper is gone, not putting paper back up.



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Old 08-04-2014, 10:17 AM   #2
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You'll hear other opinions, but here is my experience.

In general, paper is either going to come off easily, or it's not. If it is, then basically all you have to do is soak the wall well in water (sponge on hot water) and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. If it starts to dry, apply again with sponge while waiting. You can use a sprayer also, but a sponge helps press the water more into nooks and crannies. This should allow you to scrape all the wallpaper with a drywall taping knife, or putty knife. A 4" to 6" knife works best.

Many wallpapers are actually laminated. That is, there's an out layer that peels off easily by hand. This gives you access to the paper underneath, which is the layer actually adhered to the wall. It's much easier to get this paper wet when the outer layer is peeled off for wallpapers that are laminated.

So called paper tigers can leave holes in your wall, but if you're going to be patching the wall anyway I guess that's not a big deal. I've never needed one.

Once off, scrape all the adhesive residue the best you can with your knife, then sponge it clean. Then seal with Gardz, and lightly sand. You're ready for finish paint.

For the papers that don't come off with water, you will hear dozens of chemicals and concoctions and methods designed to get it off. They hardly ever work very well in my experience (and I admit some people have more experience with this than I.) I've tried most of them. If wallpaper doesn't want to come off, it's not coming off. At that point, it's best to seal off the wall and paint over the drywall remnants. Coat with Gardz first, then skim coat the wall and sand when dry. A secondary drywall primer/sealer is best with this method before finish coating if you're using paint with more sheen than flat.


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Old 08-04-2014, 04:56 PM   #3
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:14 PM   #4
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we did this last year. We had stuff that was really hard to remove. After intense steam & scrap, I then used a window scraper with its long razor blade to get any remaining lumps/ridges etc off, then I lightly skimmed some compound in a couple of the rough spots, and then used a drywall sanding pole all over the wall to really smooth it out. A huge amount of work, but I don't believe you can ever tell there was wallpaper up there.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses...

As it turns out, I didnt try to remove anything, painter said keep your grubby hands off! lol So I figured it would be wise to listen to him.
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