Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wallpaper Removal YUK

Dear homeowners:

While you decorate your home, please remember that one day, you are going to sell your home. I know, it's your forever home but reality day, you won't live there any more. That's just how it is.

So please, for the love of all that is holy, please do not use wallpaper. 

Some day, someone is going to try to take the wallpaper down. And it's not going to be pretty. It never is.

The wallpaper will discourage someone from buying your home because they know how awful it will be to remove. 

Your only selling hope will be that someone with inexperience stars in their eyes will look past the wallpaper and think "I can totally do that! I saw it on HGTV!" The home will sell. And the new owners will soon be cursing your existence and decision to decorate with wallpaper.

Trust me. I now hate the previous owners of this house. And I LOVE my house. I just hate the owners who put up wallpaper to cover up the painted wood paneling. 

(not so much) Love,
The home buyer

The upstairs bedrooms had wallpaper in every room. A year ago, we started tearing it out. In August. Why yes, we were quite crazy.

It went fairly quickly because it was actual wallpaper instead of the modern stuff that's not really paper, but paper, vinyl additives and adhesives.

We got a lot of advice on how to remove wallpaper. Most people fell in to two camps: Vinegar & Water Vs Dif, a chemical to remove wallpaper.

images from
Round 1:
First, I made a mixture of hot water and vinegar. Then, I scored the wall with this little tool that looks like it has several tracing wheels on it. (This of course means nothing to you if you don't sew.) Think spikey wheels.

I applied the hot water/vinegar mixture on to the wall and soaked it. Then, I waited the required 5-8 minutes and began scraping.

It took FOREVER.

I used this method for 30 minutes of wallpaper removal.

Many times, the top of the wallpaper would peel off leaving the under side still stuck to the wall. The vinegar was awesome for getting the sticky side off the wall once the top was off. The top, being the "wall covering" that isn't really paper and probably has lots of chemicals in it designed to keep it from getting ruined if you were to say...wipe down the walls.

Round 2:

Now it was time to try the Dif. We purchased a large concentrated solution and mixed it with water. This stuff worked wonders on the real paper upstairs.

The prep for this was the same as with the other method. I scored the walls, then sprayed the small area I was working on. Really saturate it,  just like with the vinegar method.

The instructions say to let it sit for 15 minutes to do its magic.

Unfortunately, where I live, that's just not possible. If I wait more than 5 minutes, the area is dry...and that means magic isn't happening.

Small areas, working quickly.

It took FOREVER.

Many times, the top of the wallpaper would peel off leaving the under side still stuck to the wall. 

Whoa...Deja vu!

Pretty much the exact same thing happened.


There isn't one. I wish I could definitely say one method was superior to the other for removal. But, in all honesty, it was pretty much a draw. I don't know if it would be different if I would be able to let the Dif soak for a full 15 minutes. It's just too hot here. Even though the inside of my house was 76 at 8 in the morning when I was doing this, the product still dried too quickly.

Of course each method has its pros and cons, but with the same end really goes to your preference.

The vinegar and water is definitely more environmentally friendly. It also much more affordable. But it really isn't a superior removal method. 

When it came to clean up, however, the vinegar and water has an edge over the Dif. Because the vinegar acts in a way as to eat the adhesive, if the paper attaches to the trim or wood flooring, it comes right up. The Dif deactivates the adhesive and when dry, that paper will be stuck again. Wiping the walls down with vinegar and water worked wonders to clean up the residue and little bits left behind by the Dif.

I'm almost done with wallpaper removal now. Choirs of angels are singing. I plan on using the rest of the Dif and, if there's any wallpaper left...finish with the vinegar and water for no other reason than I'm cheap.

And don't forget that Iron Chef Mom begins next week!
The party kicks off Tuesday. Our first ingredient is can learn more about it HERE and grab a button!

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  1. We removed wallpaper from almost every room in our current house. One room at a time. We hate wallpaper. Also, white wall to wall carpet. We hate that too.

  2. We removed wallpaper from almost every room in our current house. One room at a time. We hate wallpaper. Also, white wall to wall carpet. We hate that too.

  3. I bought an old house once and removed a lot of wallpaper. It's about a $50 investment but a wallpaper steamer is the quickest and easiest way to remove it and it just uses tap water. Good luck!

  4. Argh! It literally took us years to get rid of all the wallpaper that was in our house. Scary.

  5. thanks for the tip, great blog too!!!

  6. and if you don't want to buy a wallpaper steamer you can probably rent one...which is what i did to remover wallpapers and border from two of our rooms.

  7. Luckily I've never had to tackle removing wallpaper! YUCK!! (and good luck)

    Thanks for joining Keep Calm & Link Up last week! We hope to see you again this Thursday evening! xo, Meredith @


Thanks and have a great day!