Q: We bought a house three weeks ago and we would like to repaint all the walls. The problem is that in some areas or rooms there is already wallpaper. How we can get rid of the existing wallpaper? What do we need to do it ourselves?
A: You can try soaking and scraping the old wallpaper off, and if you are lucky, the wallboard was properly prepared and sealed before the wallpaper was applied, and it will come off rather easily. If so, wash the adhesive off, retexture the wall if necessary to cover seams and other flaws, and paint.
You can also rent wallpaper removal machines which puncture the paper and inject steam behind the paper. Often as not, however, you will damage some of the wallboard and need to repair it by “floating” a coat of drywall compound over the wall and retexturing before painting. If you have a lot of trouble removing the paper, I encourage you to stop and call a wallpaper and/or painting specialist with experience removing wallpaper, for best results.
Sometimes, people wonder about just painting over wallpaper. This may be advisable when it is impossible to remove some or most of the paper without damaging the wallboard. You should still seal what won’t come off, float a layer of drywall compound, and retexture before painting. This approach won’t necessarily save much time, effort, or money.
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