Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Bathroom Wallpaper Comes Down!!

Work has already begun on the main floor bathroom here at Our Sound Home!  As mentioned in my Winter 2011 To Do List for our home, we want to start with the bathroom remodel since it’s in the worst shape and most dated looking room in the whole house.  Here is some before-photo-eye candy:

 Notice the wallpaper on the window is a different pattern - love it!

Not even a full day into the new year, I started scraping that wallpaper off.  Goodbye, seashells!  I am finally finished, and spent several hours on just the wallpaper removal part of the project.  Here are some things I learned along the way: 
  • I found the best tool is a flat edge spatula that you would normally use for spackling; it's what I would call a spackle spatula (also known as a putty knife, I just think spackle spatula is more fun). 
  • Remove all the stuff from the bathroom, such as towels, artwork, trash baskets, etc. so that the wallpaper you flake off is easier to clean up.
These are the steps I used that worked best for me, but I am willing to bet your process will vary depending on the type of glue, age of the wallpaper, and type of wallpaper.
  • Peel off top layer of paper in desired area – I was unable to get onto the bottom layer on my first try, but I know that some types of wall paper (or types of glue used) make it easier to remove all the way to the bottom sticky layer. Not for us! So, we start by tearing off sheets of the top layer for starters.
  • Get the bottom layer wet; I just used a spray bottle and soaked the paper all the way through.
  • Wait! Take about 2 - 4 minutes to let the water totally seep through the paper. It’s easier in the long run if you give it a minute or two to completely soak through that bottom layer of the paper.
  • Using the flat edged spatula, start scraping! Use quite a bit of force, so that you can fully get the layer off the wall.  I found that if I was too careful, it didn’t take the bottom layer off completely and I would have to go back and scrape some more of the sticky stuff from that same spot.
  • Keep going, wall by wall, until complete! I did my wallpaper removal for the entire bathroom in three sessions for a few hours each - probably a total of 6 hours.

Now, for the after photos - drum roll please!

The bathroom overall isn't nearly finished; we still need to update or find a new vanity, counter top, sink, mirror and lights.  But, first things first will be a little spackle in some larger holes on the wall (along with some smaller cracks in paint we found under the paper), sanding down the rough spots, and getting a fresh coat of paint up on the walls.

These large holes were under the wallpaper - my best guess is that a shelf was here in the past.

Small cracks in the wall we'll re-spackle and sand down before painting

I have to admit, this is a big sigh of relief for me.  The bathroom feels much less busy, and the spackling and painting will be an easy fix for the next few months while we pick out those other new pieces we'll put in the bathroom.  I'm of course loving (scarcasm...) the fact that the paint under the wallpaper is (no surprise) flesh - peach toned.  I know it could be worse, but just think it's funny since everything else in our house is was the same color. 

So, what do you think?  Does anyone else have any tips for wallpaper removal that I missed?


  1. SO MUCH better!! I can't believe how much of a difference it made--even without painting! But I'm glad that you got a photo of the windowsill... we don't want to forget about that one. ;)

  2. This is one project that I've been lucky enough to NEVER have done. My mom's done a lot of it, though. She always uses some sort of spray that helps with the removal.

  3. Wow, what a difference!! I can't remember whether you have another wallpapered room in the house, but if you have more of this type of work to do, my parents have an electric wallpaper steamer that makes the paper just about fall right off the walls. I'm sure they'd be happy to loan it to you. Love you!

  4. Thanks guys!

    @Ryan - Thank you so much for thinking of me. But, this is luckily all we have to do in terms of wallpaper removal. Love you back!