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UnWallpapering

August 5, 2018 Leave a comment

I am not going to tell you I am an expert in removing wallpaper.  First of all, I don’t put any up (hardly any; bathroom of the tasting room building being the exception and I didn’t put that up.  I asked someone to put it up for me.).  So I’ve only had to take it down when we’ve bought homes that had some when we bought them.  And I usually can’t wait to take it down.

Which brings me to a point.  If we can see past wallpaper to buy a home why can’t buyer’s today; especially in a seller’s market?  We have a home on the market (the home that caused me to write this blog) that has not sold as fast as we thought it would and one of the comments was “I would have to remove the kitchen wallpaper.”

I digress.  One of my easiest wall paper experiences was the border print in one of the bathrooms of our house.  Not a bathroom that gets a lot of use, so yes, I put up with it for 19 years which means it was there for maybe 25 years.  It was starting to peel probably from moisture in the bathroom so that made it easier and pushed the urgency for removal.  You hope for this peeling when you’re ready to remove wall paper.  The first layer and most of the second came off with ease and with a little spray of Mr. Clean the rest came off and surprisingly no painting was necessary.

One of my favorite wallpaper removal stories was when we bought the winery property and we had 56 hours to turn the rental cottage into something livable including the horiffic kitchen.  It not only had metal kitchen cabinets painted in alternating sea green and blue, but wall paper borders and butterfly appliques.  My sister (remember this Karen, 11 years ago) and I tackled that kitchen with spray Goo Gone and Mr. Clean.  This was after multiple experiments of half a dozen products and tools.  We found the Goo Goo removed the first layer and Mr. Clean removed the brown stuff and the combination after 2-1/2 days removed 3 layers of skin on our fingers.  Goo Goo was the only thing needed for the butterflies.  I won’t go into what it took for the aluminum tiles.

birthday and moon 004

Back to my feature story.  So heading to the house on market, to remove before said wallpaper, I packed my bucket with Goo Gone, Mr. Clean, Simple Green (just in case), some rags and paint supplies (crossing my fingers I wouldn’t have to paint).  Yahoo, the first layer came off very easily on the test area and didn’t leave behind too much brown layer.  So I sprayed my trusted Goo Gone, waited a bit, used my perfectly manicured nails to scrape the edges and nothing came lose.  Scraped harded and it came lose but so did some of the old paint.  (So much for not having to paint)  Okay, plan B.  Sprayed with Mr. Clean, waited again.  Some brown came off but not easily and it seemed to be marring the wall treatment.  Um.  Tried a brush that was under the cupboard and it made no impact.  Needed a stronger brush, so headed home for better brush and nurishment since this was obviously taking longer that had hoped.

Sprayed Mr. Clean again and tried stronger brush.  Not much progress but more damage to wall treatment. Plan C.  Sprayed Simple Green, waited a minute or so while pulling off first layer in next area.  Voila!  The brown paper peeled off magically, nearly every speck.  So the process from then on was spray the last area of brown and peel the next area of top paper, giving time for the Simple Green to sink in.  Here would be a good time for a video.  You would be amazed at how easily the brown paper came off.  In less than 30 minutes, the paper was gone.  I took a damp sponge to wipe down any residual Simple Green and tiny scraps, taped for painting, painted and was done in a short afternoon.

Moral of this story.  I am not going to say that Simple Green is always the answer to wallpaper removal, but being prepared with a few options is.  And I suggest having spray Goo Gone, Mr. Clean, Simple Green, a scraper and a sponge in your kit.  Test first and find the option that works and wallpaper removal can be something less than a permanent item on your To Do List.

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