Tips for Wallpaper Prep
Wall coverings are back—in every style. From contemporary to traditional, the variety of offerings today are beautiful, artistic and can add visual pizzazz to your home. But before you can hang up wallpaper on an accent wall, in the nursery, or elsewhere in your home, you need to prep your walls. Here are some helpful tips.
If the room currently has old wallpaper on the walls, you have to remove it. If the old wallpaper is fabric-backed or strippable, you can carefully pull it from the walls. Start by gently pulling a corner of one strip at the baseboard until the entire section peels away. Some styles leave behind a paper backing, which needs to come off next by wetting the surface with DIF remover and scraping with a broad knife.
For non-strippable wallpaper, removers are available that soak onto the old wall covering’s surface. Before you begin, be sure to turn off electricity to the room, cover outlets with tape, and protect the floors with drop cloths or towels. You can also rent a wallpaper steamer to remove old wallpaper. A few Hirshfield’s stores have steamers to rent, but call first and verify they have a rental steamer and that it’s not checked out.
Score the surface of the wallpaper first to help the liquid remover penetrate more quickly and then apply the remover. Once the paper is loose, you should be able to remove it with a wallpaper scraper. Any paste residue that remains needs to be washed off with DIF stripper plus a rinse with clean water. If you see signs of mildew, it needs to be removed with equal parts bleach and water, rinsed thoroughly, and allowed to dry.