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home staging, staging homes, how to stage homes
home staging, staging homes


How to Strip Wallpaper

Stripping wallpaper can be a very unpleasant, time consuming and tedious task, often involving the use of vinegar, hot water or a steamer.

Thanks to a new type of wallcovering removal product from William Zinsser & Company, the job just got a whole lot easier. They have a fast acting wallpaper stripper for do it yourself types. They also have two tools called PaperTiger and PaperScraper that make the job easy as well. You won't be as likely to gouge the wall or do any damage to the underlying drywall or plaster either. Below is a simple 3-step process.

1. Score the wallpaper. If you are not able to dry-strip or peel the paper on the wall, and if it has a vinyl or another waterproof surface, you'll need to make perforations in the surface so the stripper solution can get behind the wallpaper to break down the old wallpaper paste. The PaperTiger is designed to do this. It's a scoring tool with tiny spiked wheels located under a palm-comfortable handle. The spikes create small tears and holes in the wallcovering surface and lift small sections of paper away from the wall. The wheels are mounted in a swivel mechanism like castors on a chair, so the tool can be moved in any direction on the wallcovering-even in circles. Scoring is fast and easy, and the tool perforates wallcoverings to a controlled depth so as not to damage the underlying surface. PaperTiger works on all type of wallcoverings, including foil, vinyl, vinyl-coated papers, painted wallcoverings, and multiple layers.

2. Apply stripper. After scoring the wallcovering, apply a wallpaper stripper to resolubilize and break down the paste behind the wallcovering. A popular brand is DIF. It's an enzyme-based product that comes in an economical concentrate that you mix with warm water and apply with a sponge, paint roller, or garden sprayer. DIF is also available in a no-mess gel formulation that applies conveniently with a paintbrush or roller. As the stripper wets out and resolubilizes the paste, the enzymes break down the paste's chemical structure, destroying its adhesive strength. This method is better and faster than using dishwashing liquid or vinegar and water solutions.

3. Scrape off the paper. The loosened paper may come off in sheets or large sections with little or no scraping. Where it doesn't-and to start the stripping when needed-use the PaperScraper. This tool is designed to glide along the wall with a blade fixed at the optimum angle to scrape without gouging the wet wallboard beneath. It has a "doorknob" handle similar to the PaperTiger, and is easier to use than conventional scrapers or putty knives.

Using this three-step process, you can remove wallcoverings in half the time required by steamers or ordinary tools and ordinary wallpaper removers-with no gouging or other damage to walls. There's less mess, and left over DIF solution is great for removing traces of residual paste that are left on the wall.

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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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