One thing you need to know about old houses is that the walls will either have lead paint or wallpaper on them. Both are not fun to remedy or get off and sometimes you will have both. I think I lucked out with having only wallpaper, what I didn’t realize is that I had four layers of 100-year-old wallpaper!
There are a few methods that people use to remove wallpaper, one that is common is to perforate the wallpaper usually done with a type of roller and then to spray a solution on the wallpaper to loosen the glue underneath. This didn’t work because there were so many layers of wallpaper. Another is to steam the wallpaper, this didn’t work either probably because it was 100-year-old wallpaper.
So I found a 4-inch scraper blade that worked well for me. Now it takes some practice and it worked for me because my walls are lath and plaster so the under surface is quite solid. It also came quite naturally for me because I used to carpet LDS temples for a living and we would have to scrape carpet off the concrete floors with a very similar tool and motion.
This is one of the 100-year-old wallpaper layers that some friends of mine said I should leave on one wall as an accent wall. I’ll admit it is a pretty cool pattern but there is a very strong part of me that cringes to see that wallpaper seems to be coming back in style.
After scrapping four layers of 100-year-old wallpaper of every inch of my upstairs I had small scrapes or gouges in my plaster. I have to tell you though that lath and plaster workers from back in the day were very good. The spots where there was no damage and I wiped off the glue from the wallpaper were so smooth that it was like glass!
Now that the 100-year-old wallpaper was removed I needed to patch the plaster that was damaged to have a smooth wall, this process went very similar to mudding sheetrock. Apply a layer, let dry, sand, wipe clean and repeat until the wall was smooth again.
The next step/issue is that there was residual wallpaper adhesive on the walls. If you just paint over this it will react with the paint and you get quite a mess. So I found this product that is used to seal drywall and wallpaper by Zinsser called Gardz and it got all my walls sealed and prepped for primer.
At this point, I had a whole upstairs to prime so I used a Graco paint sprayer to speed up the process.
After a little bit of work and a couple of coats, I had all of my walls primed ready for paint.
At this time it was time to paint, I had a paint color in mind that is done by Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Grey which is in the greige category and it looks really nice. I saved money by taking a sample into Home Depot and having them match the color for me though so that I didn’t break the bank on Sherwin-Williams prices.
So that and white trim it is looking really good much better than 100-year-old wallpaper. If you ask me having a paint sprayer is the best thing that ever happened to paint. Although it’s not my favorite thing to do. What have you found to help move your wall projects along faster? Let me know in the comments below. Also if you have any questions make sure to put them in the comments and I’ll get back to you.