Wallpaper H-E Double Hockey Sticks

When you die, if you’ve been bad…instead of going to heaven, I believe they send you to a room covered in wallpaper where the walls were never primed or sized. Then, you spend an eternity removing wallpaper, one micro-shred at the time…because an eternity is exactly how long it’s going to take. πŸ™

When the first product I bought didn’t work AT. ALL., I returned to the big warehouse store and armed myself with a new arsenal of products.

This represents 2 1/2 hours of work. :'( Waaaaah

Apparently, during the last twenty years while this room was covered in a baseball themed wallpaper, the wallpaper and the paint on the walls fell madly in love and got married. They definitely took vows of “to death do we part.” When I manage to get a piece of the paper to come off, the paint is totally married to the backing of the wallpaper, as in, they have become “one.” You can see it in the pic below. And this is after soaking it thoroughly a gazillion times with the wallpaper remover stuff.

I’ve tried a paper tiger, vinegar, M-1, and two kinds of DIF and this is how the walls are looking. I’m not looking forward to repairing all this. πŸ™

On a happy note  the flooring is going in today, beginning around 10:00 AM EST. I’m going to publish some mini-posts (with a picture or two) documenting the progress all throughout the day…that is, if my flooring guys don’t mind pics during the process. Stay tuned.  In the meantime, don’t forget to check out all the wonderful tablescapes posted for yesterday’s Tablescape Thursday! πŸ™‚

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  1. I so agree…..on the hockey sticks. I have done it all to remove paper……the scoring thing and even a steamer. What ever happened to the supposedly removal wallpaper. I don't think it exists. Wallpaper seems to be coming back. I have some in my kitchen. I am glad I like it because I don't want to try to remove it for a long time. I hope your finished project looks good.

  2. Oh my, you've got your work cut out for you huh! It will be beautiful and worth it in the end. Just keep telling yourself that as you work through it! : )

  3. Have you tried liquid fabric softener mixed with a little water? Years ago I had the same problem and it worked for me(at least helped).

  4. the same thing happened to me in my foyer…after 3 hours of unsuccessfully scraping, spraying, slopping, and not winning, I finally said to H E double hockey sticks with it…I tore off the drywall. turns out it was less stressful and far easier to deal with. consider that, you're slopping mud on it anyway, why not make your life easier? πŸ™‚ just a thought.

  5. Oh boy Susan, I feel your pain! When we bought this house it had a LOT of horrid '70's era wallpaper. And they slapped it up on drywall – no primer. In one bathroom we ended up having to replace the drywall. I've just started the very last of it in the front entryway. So far I've managed about a 1 x 1 foot area, and that took nearly a day. I keep telling myself it will all be worth it. Kat

  6. You have my utmost sympathy! When we moved into this house, we spent an entire week removing wallpaper and were so sick of doing it that we gouged the walls pretty badly. My son-in-law still says I owe him hours of intense labor as payback. πŸ˜‰ We had the same experience with the backing paper stuck to the walls. I finally rented a professional steamer, took a bunch of vacation days and then just bulldozed through it. (We still have walls with score marks from the rotary score tool – boo!) But, my house looks 100% better sans wallpaper and so will your new office! Cheers!

  7. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Sandra, I don't use softener, so don't have any here…but I will go buy some and give it a try. I know several folks suggested that in a previous post before I got started on the backing or the paper. I've tried everything else (except a steamer which I don't think I'd have the patience for) so I'll give the softener a try to…just in case. πŸ™‚

  8. I knew that I was going to relate the MINUTE I saw this post show up on my home page.

    I was going to suggest the softener too. It is infinitely better than ANYTHING I've tried.

    And I'll just send this big old hug your way for enduring Wallpaper H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. We inherited a house with that problem is several rooms.

    That's exactly why I procrastinated my kitchen redo for so many years. I dreaded what was under my 80s wallpaper.

    Go, Susan, Go.

  9. Taking wallpaper off is a job and if the walls wern't sized or primed that paper is a bear to get off. Keep thinking about your master plan and how beautiful that room is going to look when you're done. I do love taking wallpaper down and I have had plenty of practice…every wall in our house was wallpapered when we moved in…today no wallpaper. I too have tried everything and my hints are…I first remove the top layer of the paper all around the room. This usually rips off easy. I wet the bottom layer of the paper with warm water and a large sponge. Keep wetting it for about 15 minutes (not dripping). Then scrape off with a putty knife. Waiting the 15 minutes helps the glue loosen up. When done I wash the walls with vinegar and warm water. Patch, prime, paint and you're done.
    Good luck! Leanne

  10. FABREZE, sweetie … works like a charm, soak it good, stand back & then after a few minutes have at it with a scrapper. Works fab!

    Have a beautiful weekend ~
    TTFN ~

    GIVEAWAY ends Sunday

  11. OOO, I do hope I go to HEAVEN…to spend eternity removing wallpaper is just beyond anything I could stand.:(

    I have wallpaper in a small bath that has been painted over about 4 times. I know, in my heart, that the paper has to come off, sooner or later, but every time I think of the HORROR of removing it, I just paint on another coat of paint. πŸ™‚
    I do have a paper boarder to remove in the bedroom I am about to tackle…hopefully, it won't be all that bad. (Yeah…right)

  12. A tip I got from HGTV is: Warm water mixed with liquid fabric softener and sprayed on. Worked great for me; maybe it will work for you. Good luck!

  13. i found using a steamer is the best way to remove…..i have always loved wallpaper especially in the kitchen….but next time around i am re-doing without wallpaper.gl!!

  14. Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage says

    I have been to this wallpaper h-e-double hockey sticks. What finally worked the best. The dif stuff you have would soak in and I could remove like the top of the paper. Then I would soak the rest in fabric softener and it would remove that. Took FOREVER!! And it was only up to the chair rail!! Good luck!!!

  15. Kristine~Lakeshore Cottage Living says

    It sounds like you have really tried. My father and mother hang wallpaper for a living and when we purchased our home they came with a large outdoor spray can (like the kind you spray insecticide with…pump and spray) and we kept it full of steaming hot water. We would spray it on the walls and the paper just melted off and then we scraped the remaining scraps with a wide putty scraper. I so feel your pain….fortunately my Dad is 6'3" and he is a fast scraper! You probably don't want all that water on your new floors though, but I bet a hot wet rag would make a big difference too! So sorry for you. Just keep thinking of the lovely office you will have!

  16. Oh that looks familiar, I've been in that same wallpaper hell a few times……we just perservered until we got it done πŸ˜‰

  17. laxsupermom says

    I agree warm water and fabric softener. You need to give it a couple of minutes to soften up and work, but it comes off much easier. Removing wallpaper can be a bear, just keep in mind your vision for the room. Good Luck!

  18. I could kick myself for all the wallpaper I've had hung in my house. It has been an absolute trauma to remove- came off in sreds but it did finally come off using hot water and fabric softener or Fabreze. At least your house smells wonderful while you're working!

  19. Susan, I feel your pain. When we moved into our home 6 years ago, wallpaper was everywhere and, yes, it was determined to not let go. After ruining my dining room sheetrock, a painter coming through giving me an estimate, gave me a great tip, and the pain of removing wallpaper became a thing of the past. First, he told me to purchase a pump sprayer used for pesticides, fertilizer, or Round-Up. Fill the pump with hot water (other folks also told me to add fabric softener). Then, rip paper at seams at any point they will release. I also used a wallpaper scorer, being careful not to damage the sheet rock. Then, he told me to spray the water from top to bottom of the wall. Since you are removing the carpet, as I was in many rooms, I didn't have to worry about carpet, but I still placed towels around bottom baseboards so water did not soak through carpet to the floor. Next, he told me to walk away!!! Don't be tempted to pick…walk away and let the water and the paper and the glue get to know each other very well. This was the hardest part, I wanted to start picking immediately. My hubby was sure all the moisture was going to ruin the sheet rock…NOT. Let it sit 30-45 minutes and then check on the progress. I would check on it every 10-15 minutes or so, but never picked at it, and if it seemed like the water had evaported somewhat, I added more. I mean I put the water to it, and it worked…fantastic. The wallpaper peeled off in huge long sheets. I was doing a major happy dance! It did not ruin the sheet rock, in fact, it was way less harmful to the sheetrock than all the digging I did to my dining room. If you're not finished, you might give this a try. Wishing you much success!

  20. If this happened to me… I think I would STOP the project. Call my handiman, get him to remove the drywall and hang new, once that was done, paint, install floors and SMILE! Fighting with wallpaper is the single most frustrating task. Good luck with it all! I hope it turns out absolutely beautiful for you with all your hard work put in.

  21. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal says

    Oh Susan! This is my bedroom to a T. I know exactly how you feel. I was almost in tears trying to get that paper off. We finally rented a steamers. It was the only thing that worked on the walls. We tried all that stuff, all of it. Give the steamer a try. I really think you will be happy you did. I had a lot of damage too. After some repairs I went with a flat paint. Not something I usually use but it does help hide imperfections! Good luck. Try the steamer!

  22. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal says

    Oh, I forgot to say you can rent a steamer. Not buy one. Also, before you paint you might want to prime. I use a sealing primer that was tinted to the paint. It was the smelly one. But regular primer won't help. So that any glue residue that I missed won't' affect the top coat of paint.

  23. The Quintessential Magpie says

    Susan, it's time to call in the troops! They can skim coat over that and be done with this nightmare. You poor thing!

  24. I've had to go through this recently as well…I feel your pain! πŸ™‚ Which is why it took me several years to decide to tackle it. I used the paper tiger scorer,sprayed well with fabric softener soluiton in a spray bottle, then waited a minute or two for it to soak in and used the steamer I had (a garment steamer :)Note: Next time I will rent one or buy one…the hose was not long enought to reach the top so I had to prop it up on a small table and with it having wheels, this was a bit of a challenge πŸ™‚ The top layer luckily peeled off and then I had to start all over again with the paper :/ sprayed again with the softener solution,waited for it to soak in etc. I took about a 3'X3' area at a time steaming and scraping with a metal scraper. it softened the glue really well. The dining room had two full layers of wallpaper over a nice coat of paint, thank goodness. The half bathroom had wallpaper,over paint,that was painted over the bottom beige layer of wall paper that is left when you peel off the top layer, which the previous owners apparently wallpapered over one thin contracters coat of paint…(hope that makes sense) don't think they ever primed the drywall! I could see the drywall paper through the paint after removing the wallpaper πŸ™ Then a lot of spackling and smoothing. If your doing that yourself, it is worth buying a sanding screen and the gadget that it attaches to. It screws on to a pole used for painting it allows you to sand more area quickly. I then went over by hand with a fine sanding block and feeling for bumps and rough areas with the other hand. My walls were a real mess and needed a lot of repair. I know it's sooo frustrating. It took several weeks to complete each room from first peeled piece of paper to smooth,primed & painted. Keep your eye on the prize! Take your time and I'm sure it will be just as beautiful as the rest of you home πŸ˜€ Best of Luck!

  25. Shari @ My Cottage of Bliss says

    Yep, been there…done that! I have tried the fabric softener and it works really well…provided the paper is not "married" to the wall, as it appears to be in your case. The hotter your water in the fabric softener/water combo, the better results you will have but running back and forth to the microwave to keep it hot is a pain. Frankly, I think the wallpaper steamer is going to be your best best at this point. You need that intense heat from the steamer to soften the glue. The basic $50-ish steamer from Lowe's is compact and VERY easy to use…like ironing on a vertical surface…and VERY effective. What you spend on the steamer, you will save in hours of tedious work and frustration. You can thank me later. πŸ˜‰

  26. marty (A Stroll Thru Life) says

    Oh my, what a daunting task. I think I would call someone and have them do all the dirty work. Can't wait to see the floors. Hugs, Marty

  27. This is why my house has alot of bead board!

  28. I feel your pain!! When we purchase our current house there was wallpaper throughout. We spent days struggling with various forms of removal and finally broke down and purchased a small steamer. Bingo!! It worked great and didn't hurt the drywall. The kitchen had THREE layers of paper and the steamer slowly peeled off 3 layers. I've had all my friends borrow my wonderful steamer and they love it! It may be slow but it does a perfect job. Good luck!!

    Debbie S

  29. I spent hours and days of futile scraping with my putty knife after having used that little "paper tiger" and DIF wallpaper remover. I finally resorted to using the bug sprayer filled with HOT, HOT water. I'd spray, wait for it to soak in, then employ my putty scraper. Wow- what a difference that made. After using the steamer and the paper tiger thingee, I found that I was scraping too many little pieces of paper. I wanted to peel back BIG pieces of paper, and employing the hot water spray let me do this! I know your pain, toots!!!! I still have one more room to go. I papered the laundry room and have changed my mind now- I want a painted finish. At least I primed and sized the walls, as opposed to the previous homeowner, whose papered rooms drove me nuts. LOL
    ~ Sue

  30. Susan- Grab that crows foot brush and sheetrock mud and put some splatter/drag txture( monterray drag) on those walls. I just did 3 bedrooms for a friend that was covered in wallpaper. I removed, then used crows foot brush and slap on mud -then drag with trowel! I get lots of request for that!!

  31. My Cottage Charm says

    Susan my love, you need a wallpaper steamer! I had a room JUST like yours and went through HEdoublehockey sticks with it too…then I discovered a lovely steamer. I even invested in one to keep! (yep, it was THAT much help) You might want to just go rent one to try..can't hurt. πŸ™‚

  32. I've had two houses that were covered with wallpaper from the 70s, I've peeled, scraped, washed, gooped up, and sandpapered a million times. (I hate the sight of wallpaper) The best thing is a steamer and humidifier, especially if you live in a dry climate. It helps a ton, And the wallpaper removers only work after all the paper is gone to remove the leftover glue. Sorry! I hope that helps some. Good luck

  33. Will you be retexturing your walls at all? Even if you are going for a smooth finish, if you add new plaster, you might ask if its the kind that absorbs and blends with whatever residue is left on the walls. I had to rip of wallpaper that has been installed on drywall with no primer and after I'd painstakingly stripped little piece by little piece off, the drywall texture guys told me the new products no longer require that….that it melts and absorbs the paper right into the texturing material! NOW they tell me! Anyway,,,,might be worth a question or two. Toni

  34. Lani Padilla says

    We just went through this with our master bedroom. Finally broke down and went to Lowe's a bought a steam stripper. It took almost 8 hours to get 1/2 a wall done the way you tried doing it. The entire rest of the bathroom … 3-1/2 walls plus the toilet stall … came down in about 2 hours with the steamer … and it came down in full sheets! I'll never wallpaper again, but if I buy a house that already has wallpaper in it, I won't be so inclined to run as fast as I can.
    So my tip of the day: Invest the $40 and buy the steamer!

  35. I just skim-coated over the wallpaper and then painted. It was VERY easy!

  36. Susan, We had the same problem with wallpaper. My suggestion after learning the hard way is to have your walls skimmed and smoothed. You can paint and be done with the walls. It is less messy and leaves your fingernails intact! It's also not a big mess on your new floor. Make sure drop cloths are used for easier cleanup. Wish you well and can't wait to see what all you do with your office.

  37. momstheword says

    I totally have been there. We tried scoring and using wallpaper remover, we tried hot water mixed with fabric softener, we even tried a steamer.

    But in an hour I got enough removed to about cover the size of a post-it note. It was ridiculous. Not to mention all the gouges in the drywall.

    My husband finally just sanded the seams down, and added some texture over it (to match the rest of the room) and painted over it.

    I am dreading removing the rest of the wallpaper in the house because clearly the previous owners didn't care or had no idea what they were doing.

  38. I think I should go into wallpaper removing business. Yes, removal is messy, but if I can do it ANYONE can. It's all in the tools. I love love love my steamer. Best money I have ever spent. I took two layers of paper off my dining room wall using DIF and my plate steamer. It is hot work but I'd rather remove paper than have to pay some one to put up new drywall.

    P.S. I spent 90.00 for my steamer at Lowes.

  39. I know I shouldn't be giggling, but your opening comments crack me up! Of course, I couldn't agree more…wallpaper removal is horrible.
    Every single room of our home was wallpaper covered when we bought it 10 years ago. The task of removing it is still quite fresh in my mind a decade later.
    Hang in there.

  40. Pat'sAdditon says

    Here's my take on wall paper. http://pats-addition.blogspot.com/2011/01/out-with-old-in-with-new-part-2.html Really really hate it!

  41. one word… steamer! then forget trying to spackle all the damage… id just do some of that texture mudding over it then paint πŸ™‚ i KNOW how frustrating this is!!! im on room number 3 now in our home! I wish i could take a bat to the person who put up the wallpaper and didnt size it! πŸ™‚

  42. Handy Man, Crafty Woman says

    ugh, I feel your pain. we've renovated 2 old houses, some rooms had 4 (and 5) layers of wallpaper in them. can you imagine? *faints*

    we tried EV.ER.Y.THING: those scoring tools, chemical removers, steamers, etc etc etc.

    the one thing that actually worked was: hubby filled up a sprayer with hot, HOT, HOT water, sprayed the wallpaper, a section at a time…then waited about 5 mins, soaked it a 2nd time…waited 5 mins…soaked it a THIRD time…let it really soak in, wait about 10 more mins (yes, its a lot of waiting around)..) but then, it just scraped right off with a putty knife…

  43. Try a product called Piranha, I got it at Lowes. It was so easy, I first removed the top layer, sprayed and remove with a scraper. It was not hard at all. Good luck

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