Strip Wallpaper from 1605? Yeah, I got this.

Supplies:
Scrapers & Blades (I used American Line 4″ Adjustable Scrapers)
Pump Sprayer (I used RL Flomaster’s 2 gallon Wood & Masonry Sprayer)
Fabric Softener
Trash Bags
Sponges
Tarps (I am getting rid of the rugs so I skipped this step.)
Paper Scorer (last resort only!!!!)

If you take your time up front – it is not that bad. Get yourself a good scraper and some blades – I got mine at Home Depot. I found mixing fabric softener with water in a pump/sprayer bottle worked best. Mixing in small batches, use: one part softener to 2 parts hot water. The small batches allow for super hot water which seemed to speed up the process slightly. For the record, I also tried steam and vinegar – no better.

1. Arm yourself with the mixture above and spray a 4ft wide section then go do something else for 10 minutes – serial!
2. Re-spray the section plus the next 4ft wide section – wait another 10 minutes (Seriously, wait the ten minutes!)
3. Spray all 8ft yet again plus a bit more then go ahead and start scraping that very first 4ft section.
4. Leave any stuck bits behind and keep moving forward – don’t ruin your walls. If you waited the right amount of time this should come off pretty good. If not, you will pull all your hair out after one wall in frustration. (Unless you are bald or something then you will just yell a lot I suppose?)
5. Every 10 mins or so stop scraping and re-spray any stuck bits you left behind while keeping the next 4ft ahead of you sprayed and resprayed.
6. You will get a rhythm down for when to stop and spray/re-spray. If you have layers of paper, as I did, you need to re-saturate in entire sections as you get that first layer off. But if you don’t have layers of paper, you only will have a few stuck bits to go back to in each 4ft section (lucky!)
7. Only use scoring tools if you have plastic or vinyl paper as, obviously, the solution won’t penetrate plastic-y parts. Otherwise, stay away from that tool! It will only cause further damage to your walls under the paper. It may seem tempting on regular paper to get the solution under the paper faster – you are correct. It does just that – BUT – it shreds the regular paper so much that when you are scraping it off it tears into little bits that will quickly turn you into an aggravated lunatic that no one wants be around. Trust me.
8. When you are done go around with a sponge to get the rest of glue off. Your are ready to spackle soon!

Any-who, working in saturated sections like this in my house, MANY layers of paper and paint will came off literally like butter. I had to do a good bit of re-spraying near the corners and nail holes as there were at least 2 layers of paper and 1 layer of paint in every room of my house (so far). The only drama was with this one hall that had grey adhesive that was on top of a layer of paper. I needed the patience of the Dalai Lama for that layer. I think the actual devil sent that adhesive to test me.

Here are some images of what you are looking for when you make it to the wall board:

Here is what it will look like if you wait, here you can see the second layer of floral paper under the top layer of wallpaper (which was also painted over with blue paint!

Here is what it will look like if you wait the appropriate amount of time. Here you can see the second layer of floral paper under the top layer of wallpaper (which was also painted over with blue paint!

A closeup of that second layer of floral paper that was freshly re-sprayed since it was stuck.

A closeup of that second layer of floral paper that was freshly re-sprayed since it was stuck.

White bits = BAD. If you see the dark brown spots during your scraping travels, for the love of sanity, STOP. Go get your sprayer and spray baby, spray. You don't want gouge so badly to remove stuck bits that you get to the plaster-y part of the wallboard.

White bits = BAD. If you see the dark brown spots during your scraping travels, for the love of sanity, STOP. Go get your sprayer and spray, baby, spray! You don’t want gouge so badly to remove stuck bits that you get to the plaster-y part of the wallboard.

Waiting and doing your due diligence in the first 4ft section is what keeps you from going batty. For reals. Put the damn scraper down and go outside for a breather. Check these pics out as proof you need to hold your horses:

Here is a wall that I had 4 of us doing at once. We did not wait for the 20 minute ‘set up’ period and look at that damn wall. I don’t think they have a spackle knife large enough for those tears in the wall board. (Quick, go buy stock in Home Depot, they will be getting what money I have left after the home purchase for spackle and dry wall).

Here is a wall that I had 4 of us doing at once. We did not wait for the 20 minute ‘set up’ period and look at that damn wall. I don’t think they have a spackle knife large enough for those tears in the wall board. (Quick, go buy stock in Home Depot, they will be getting what money I left after the home purchase for spackle and dry wall).

Here is a room I did slowwww and steady. Barley any tears and the ones that are there were mostly from me loosing my balance on the ladder, lol.

Here is a room I did slowwww and steady. Barley any tears and the ones that are there were mostly from me loosing my balance on the ladder, lol.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Notice how clean the walls look in between the nail holes and seams here as opposed to that first image. I was able to do these two rooms in about the same time 4 people scraped the one messed up room. Yes, I did it in layers so I re-scraped the same spots two or three times after re-sprays but I waited for the softener to work its magic and it came of like nothin’! Take your time and you won’t be insane after you scrape your wall paper.

Thanks for reading, please subscribe to this blog and help me out by sharing on Facebook and Twitter – use the buttons below. ❤ Roni

25 thoughts on “Strip Wallpaper from 1605? Yeah, I got this.

  1. I must have a loose screw, as we just put an offer on a 1898 home yesterday. We were wondering what is UNDER the wallpaper….it has a kind of ripple effect through the paper…like lathe maybe. Do you know what they used as a base for wall paper? I am thinking I want to sheetrock over the top, or bead board…but maybe the paper should be stripped and repapered? I know I have a huge learning curve ahead of me….!

    Like

    • You are right, it’s probably plaster and lath if it was never updated since built. If you Sheetrock over top, I would leave that paper right where it is! Thats gotta be a super cool house though! I wish you luck!

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      • Thanks for your input and so quickly, too! The house is awesome, and I could see it in my head as it could be as soon as I walked in, so I had to have it! Sheet rock is the first step after a lot of clean up! Thanks again

        Liked by 1 person

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    • I’m glad Lillian. I have some posts in the works of the ‘after’ – finished shots of the rooms. I also am working on a post about patching the messed up walls. Both should post in April after I complete the Cable series of posts. 🙂

      Like

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  7. So I am currently going through some of the same. My not-quite-yet craft room had wait for it Dark evergreen upper walls, green tartan plaid paper lower walls, a chair rail and, just for icing on the cake, grizzly bear wall boarders :/ Seriously?? 2 bottles of softener, we had to go half half as that wall paper seems to be the ONLY thing the previous owners tried to do correctly, and a quart of TSP later to remove said softener, I was finally able to get it painted a couple of weeks ago. So I feel ya! Lookin good though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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