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Old 03-16-2017, 12:12 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 42,181
Both Pepper Mill and I hate wallpaper -- it's one of the things I love about her.

Almost every room in our new house was wallpapered. There were two flocked ceilings, as well. We viewed it as a long-term project.

Best investment we made was for a wallpaper steamer. You've got a little container that you put water in and a plug that goes into the wall. After a while steam comes out through a long hose, at the end of which you typically have a rectangular tray-like thing. You put this against the wallpaper and saturate it with steam. It loosens the glue holding it on and saturates the paper, allowing you (in the best case scenario) to simply peel it off. If it's stubborn, you can use a putty knife under a raised edge to try to loosen it. Try not to dig in and scratch the plaster or plasterboard.

Sometimes this doesn't work, and more extreme measures are needed. We also used a "paper tiger" -- a doorknob-like thing you hold in your hand with toothed rollers underneath that score the wallpaper. You then go over it with the steamer again, and hopefully the steam will bleed in through the rips you just made in the wallpaper. The teeth leave little divots in the plaster that you'll have to fix later.

Occasionally you [I[still[/I] need to take more drastic methods. We had a curved archway where we couldn't use the flat steamer head. I disconnected the head and simply played the end of the hose over the paper.

Near the baseboards, the paper clung tenaciously. The guy we bought the house from was the primary owner, and he had put the paper up directly on the unpainted walls. And, it turns out, over the varnish that had slopped over onto the plaster. The wallpaper was essentially glued on by varnish as well as wallpaper paste.

There are also wallpaper paste solvents you can use to get you through tough spots.

The wallpaper in the bathroom came down pretty easily. well, most of it did. Pepper Mill got laid off from her job one day, came home in a bad mod, looked at the horrible pink wallpaper in the bathroom and tore it down with her bare hands. A lot of plaster came with it.

The flocking on the ceiling was treated in much the same way, except it couldn't come off in sheets -- it came down in wads. Pepper Mill was taking some of it down (this was on a different day, so she wasn't using anger to get it down) and saw that our cat Midnight had wandered in, and was covered in the stuff. She didn't want the cat to be licking it off, so she got into the shower, washed herself off, got a big handful of soap, grabbed Midnight, and pulled her in, soaping her up and rinsing her off and throwing her out into the hallway before she knew what hit her. To re-iterate:

a.) Yes, Pepper Mill was naked in the shower
b.) Midnight hated to get wet
c.) We don't de-claw our cats.

She's a tough one, that Pepper Mill.

To get the wallpaper in the stairwell I had to rig up a platform with boards and a ladder to reach the ceiling.

After the wallpaper was all coerced of the walls, I went though and made repairs -- replacing the stuff lost in the bathroom, spackling up the cracks, dabbing spackle into the divots left by the Paper Tiger, then sanding it all flat again.

It was worth it., The flocking was discolored (especially over the stove, where it held thirty years of grease), the flocked ceiling in the bathroom hid a bad ceiling repair that I had to fix. The wallpaper in the bathroom, kitchen, and hall were ugly. Some of the wallpaper in the living room didn't really match the rest of it, and they were clearly hoping people wouldn't notice.

The painted walls look much better.