Saturday, October 15, 2016

I'm in Love with a Stripper

A homemade wallpaper stripper, that is. (Sorry, T-Pain.)

Before mudding and painting the upstairs drywall, we needed to remove an old wallpaper border that wrapped around the bedroom. I've heard all kinds of horror stories about removing wallpaper, so suffice it to say I was not looking forward to this task.

But, in a strange and unaccustomed reversal from our usual projects, this turned out to be much easier than anticipated. 

The reason? Fabric softener.

Fabric softener is the secret ingredient in homemade wallpaper stripper. A 50/50 mix of fabric softener (unscented, please) and water worked like a charm for us. Apparently, the fabric softener stops the water from evaporating as quickly, so it can soak the old adhesive more effectively.

I put the mixture in a spray bottle, sprayed down the border, wiped up any excess drips so the water didn't damage the drywall, and then walked away for 15 minutes. Then I could slide a scraper under an edge, and the whole strip came away cleanly! There were some spots of old adhesive and backing left behind, but those came up with another spritz and scrape. 

As you can see from the damage here, the stripper really made a difference - even a test scrape at the dry wallpaper took some drywall with it. And we really had to wait the whole 15 minutes to get the full benefit.

A wallpaper-free wall! It's really satisfying to see the clean strip where it peeled off so nicely. Up next: a fresh coat of paint.

As an added bonus, in order to reach the border all the way around the room, we had to get rid of all the drywall and wood scraps that have been piling up over the last couple months. Just having all that floor space freed up makes me feel one step closer to done!

Hermione lying down on the job.


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