Wallpaper Removal aka Happy Fun Times

Wall Paper Removal is often viewed as an insurmountable task.  I’ll admit, it’s not glory work and “fun” is not how I describe wall paper removal.  However, with the right tools and a lot of patience (also good music and cold beer) wall paper removal isn’t something to be scared of.

We had 3 rooms with wall paper; The Dining Room, the Master and the “Crazy Room”.  We got a quote for wallpaper removal when we moved in and it was roughly $3,000.  I could think of a lot of better ways to spend 3 grand so we resorted to doing it ourselves.  We purchased a small steam cleaner for about $70 on Amazon (HomeRight Steam Machine) and used a 6″ taping knife .  Some people use these Wall Paper Scoring Tools but after a bunch of research we concluded that the risk of damaging plaster with the scoring tool wasn’t worth taking on.  So we did without the scoring tool.

The removal is a pretty simple process:

1. Big Steam attachment on wall for 8-10 seconds in one spot:IMG_20140601_200028_912



2. Scrape wall paper



3. Drink

4. Repeat


We found that the top layer of wallpaper would separate from the bottom layer on the first pass, and the second pass would get the bottom paper layer and glue.  For the most part, 2 or 3 passes got a single layer of wallpaper down to the plaster.  



Sometimes plaster comes off.  My attitude was to scrape any plaster that wanted to come off.  If it was loose, cracked or looked like it might come off soon – scrape it now while you’ve got the taping knife and are already making a big mess.  We’ll cover the wall patching in a different post.

Here are a couple shots of what walls looked like with all wall paper removed:

Dining Room:

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Master Bedroom – Blue is the plaster beauty coat, purple is the raw plaster base coat, and yea – that’s lathe in the middle.


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From the crazy room:

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The Crazy Room…or The Opiate Den

When we first moved into this house, we crammed as much of our contents as possible into 1 room.  We did this to free up the basement for demo and the main floor for refinishing hardwoods.  This room was affectionately dubbed “The Crazy Room” because the wall paper made your head spin and feel like you are down the trail of being committed against your will.


Move in day:






Wallpaper removal is easy if you have the right tools.  I mean, it’s not hard – it’s a total pain in the bum and labor intensive but the difficulty is low.


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There are a few areas where plaster came off with the wall paper.  These areas will require patching prior to painting.  Something has to be done with the floor also.  Oh Joy.


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