What to do when facing ugly wallpaper…

ugly half bath

Half Bath: before wallpaper removal

after half

Half Bath: after wallpaper removal, texture, and paint

So far, I’ve owned three older homes, two of which had wallpaper in all of the predictable places, and one of which had wallpaper EVERYWHERE…  every bathroom, the kitchen, the diningroom, and even one of the bedrooms.  So, with all of my wallpaper destroying “expertise,” let me share some tips.

First, determine whether or not the wallpaper has been applied directly to the drywall.  The easiest way to tell is by running your hand over the wallpaper to see if there is any kind of texture under the paper.

IF THERE IS TEXTURE and/or you’re certain that the wallpaper wasn’t applied directly to the drywall…
Use a handheld steamer to peel off the wallpaper.  If steaming doesn’t work (which it usually works like magic), refer to the remainder of this entry.

You are not going to be able to remove the wallpaper.  In fact, you will actually damage the drywall trying to remove the wallpaper.   So, you should….

Peel off any parts of the wallpaper that are peeling, being careful to not damage the drywall.  (If you do damage the drywall, don’t panic.  Just know that you may need to apply joint compound twice to that spot when following the next steps given.)

Then, you have two options:

1) Use joint compound to smooth over the edges where the wallpaper overlaps and/or has peeled.  Let that dry, sand it down, and prime it.  After that has dried, prime over the entire wall.  Now your wall is ready for whatever paint you’d like to do.  (If you’re using Behr Paint and Primer in One, first paint over the places to which you applied the joint compound.  Once that dries, paint the entire wall.)

Or, you could go with my personal preference…
2) Use joint compound (you can buy a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff at Lowe’s or Home Depot–don’t bother trying to mix it yourself; considering the slight addition in cost, it’s significantly easier, and you’re guaranteed the perfect consistancy) and a cement trowel and texture right over the top of the wallpaper.  This method takes quite a bit longer, but the results speak for themselves.  Once your texture has dried, you can either prime then paint, or use a paint and primer in one (unless it’s Valspar.  Don’t even bother.)

ugly bath

Master Bathroom: before wallpaper removal (and carpet removal… and tub removal…)

Master bathroom remodel

Master Bathroom: After

(For both of the “after” pictures included in this article, I had partially removed the wallpaper and textured directly over the remaining wallpaper.  I then used Behr Paint and Primer in one.)

Do you have any questions?  Or do you have a different method you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear it!


2 thoughts on “What to do when facing ugly wallpaper…

  1. I’ve begun peeling old wallpaper that was applied directly to the drywall and some of the drywall facing has peeled of. Well, most of the wall. Can I sand it smooth and just paint with behr paint and primer in one or do I need to take additional steps before Applying paint?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s