I've been asking everyone I meet to analyze the cost/time/outcome benefits of removing wallpaper vs. skim coating over the wallpaper with wallboard compound. I've had lots of conversations that go like this: "Hi! Nice to meet you! Do you think we should rent a wallpaper steamer-offer? Or should we just go over the stuff with wallboard compound, then apply oil-based sealer and THEN paint?"
Here are some answers I've collected:
- "Um. What? No. Seriously. What?"
- "Fabric softener. It works pretty well on wallpaper."
- "I have plaster and lath walls too ; tried painting over my wallpaper, but it doesn't look that great."
- "Fabric softener works well on OLD wall paper, but DIF is a great product that you spray on in combination with a "paper tiger" which perforates the paper allowing the enzymes in DIF to be scraped off. It will be a big job, but that works best from my experience."
- "Warning: Walls will not be smooth once paper is removed. Lots of water loosens the paper from the wall or the lower layer of paper. It might be worth it just to have a pro plaster over the paper instead of stripping first. You should only gain 1/4 of an inch of wall. Molding and trim will still stand out. If I was close, you know I would come help. Good luck."
- "Liquor store is good for recovering from wallpaper removal. Oh, and I agree with the fabric softener--it worked for us."
- "I did mine. Three layers that had been there for 30 years. I forget the name of the product but you can buy it at [big orange store.] You mix it with hot water and soak the walls after you use a wheel to put holes in paper so it penetrates the wallpaper. The easier way is to hire someone to do it. "
- "Ah, wallpaper removal. Best trick I have found is to get a pump sprayer ( the kind you would use to spray for bugs outside) and then mix a solution of water and vinegar - 8--9 parts warm water to 1-2 parts vinegar. Totally saturate the paper and then use a scraper to remove the paper. I found that the older the paper, the better this worked. Trick was to use the pump to save your hands from a little spray bottle and to let it soak a bit to work on the glue. You might want to use a rubber scrapper if you're concerned about chipping the plaster on the walls.
- "Personally, I found this worked better than the expensive products and if it was old enough to be paper (and not vinyl-ish) that I didn't need to poke holes - which helped it tear off in sheets. Best of luck!"