Is Wallpaper a Good Idea?
Wallpaper looks stunning when viewed in interior designed houses, but what happens when you get tired of the look and how do you remove wallpaper?
I have seen plenty of houses decorated by interior designers where they use wallpaper in a room, on a feature wall or even the entire house. But what happens when you get tired of the look or the wallpaper starts to peel off along the edges, or it becomes scratched and faded, how do you remove or cover up wallpaper?
Growing up in the UK, where wallpaper is used for decorating a home just as much as paint, I cannot remember the number of times I used to help my mom hang and remove wallpaper. She would be standing at the top of a stepladder, and I would pass her the booked wallpaper for hang. Not exactly good times but better than the ones I remember of having to strip the wallpaper when it was time for a change. Wallpaper does look great, well, for a while, but it's not long before you tire of the look or want something different, or perhaps the wallpaper is peeling off the wall at the corners and along the seams.
In most other countries around the globe, they make removing wallpaper a bit easier by using a steam remover, but having done an extensive search I was unable to find a wallpaper steamer in South Africa. That makes removing wallpaper a lot more difficult. If you did the job well and stuck the wallpaper onto the wall properly, removing it isn't an easy task. So, before you take the leap and add wallpaper, think about how the heck you are going to remove it when you want a change.
How To Remove Wallpaper
There are plenty of resources out there that explain how to hang wallpaper. There are step-by-step tutorials, videos, and guides. There are even articles that tell you how to remove wallpaper and that's all fine and well if you have a wallpaper steamer. But what do you do if you need to remove wallpaper and don't have a steamer? Let's look at some solutions to this problem:
If you have a paint spray gun, fill it up with clean water and use this to wet the wallpaper to make it easier to remove.
1. Wet the Wallpaper
Trying to remove the wallpaper while it is dry is going to be almost impossible, plus you will end up with most of it still stuck on the wall. You can remove as much loose wallpaper as you can, but it will be far easier to wet the wallpaper beforehand.
Adding white spirit vinegar to the clean water will help to break down the wallpaper adhesive, making it a bit easier to scrape off.
Remove as much furniture from the room as possible and cover any that cannot be removed. Put down a plastic drop cloth as this method can be wet and messy. Cover up as much of the floor as possible so that you can simply wrap up the mess when you are done.
2. Scrape off the Wallpaper
Without access to a wallpaper steamer, although I will offer some helpful advice on this below, scraping the wallpaper off with a paint scraper is the best solution. The trick to this though is to wet the wallpaper beforehand. Even after wetting the wallpaper, there will still be areas of wallpaper left behind. Simply wet these again and remove once the wallpaper is soggy.
They might not be wallpaper steamers but this garment steamer (R279) at Clicks and Black & Decker steam mop (R899) will provide enough steam to help remove wallpaper from walls.
3. Alternative to a Wallpaper Steamer
While you may not be able to purchase a wallpaper steamer and finding one for hire is almost impossible, there are a couple of other solutions that will make removing wallpaper less of a nightmare. A hand-held garment steamer or steam mop will provide enough steam to work in sections to strip wallpaper off the walls. Personally, I would purchase a steam mop as this can be used to reach up to the top of the walls with relative ease.
The Bottom Line
Before you make the decision to hang wallpaper in your house, think ahead and decide if you are prepared to put in the hard work later when you want to remove the wallpaper. Wallpaper might look good on a wall, but sooner or later you will probably want a change and wallpaper is not always a better solution than paint.