Author Archives: Halcyon

Removing Wallpaper in a Portland Home


Removing wallpaper is a tedious task, Sometimes it is easy, sometimes not, depending on the wallpaper to be removed.
Here I will tell you a way of removing wallpaper that has been painted over from plaster walls.

Here are the tools you need for an effective job at wallpaper removal 

1-  Roll of plastic ( 1 ml ) thick   
2- A  couple rolls of 1 1/2″  masking tape
3- Wallpaper scraper   

4- A few packs of wallpaper scraper blades
5- 2 gallon sprayer bottle (garden bug sprayer type)
6- A bag of TSP(trisodium phosphate)
7 -Some dry rags
8- 2 gallon bucket
9- sponge
10- Putty knife
11- N-95 dusk masks
12 A step ladder
13- Trash bags

So first things first !

1- Make sure the heat and air conditioning are turned off. If possible, turn off the electrical power to the room.
2- Its best to have the room emptied  of furniture if possible, for that make it easier to maneuver around the room. (If not push all the furniture to the center of the room and cover with a plastic drop cloth).
3- Wipe off the baseboard with a dry rag to get the dust off.  (This will help the masking tape stick better).
4- Go around the room, tape the baseboard with the masking tape, leaving the bottom edge of the tape not stuck to the baseboard.
5- Roll out the plastic the length of the room (adding on about 2 extra feet)
6- Unroll (open) the plastic. It is usually 9 feet wide.  
7- Tuck the plastic under the edge of the masking tape that is not taped to the base board. Press the plastic to the tape so the plastic adheres to the tape.
8- Now we need some elbow grease. Start by scraping off the layer of paint off the wallpaper. Scrape as much wallpaper (dry scraping) as possible.You probably will have to change the scraper blades a few times. They dull pretty fast.
9- Fill up the 2 gallon spray bottle (garden sprayer) with hot water and about 4 tablespoons of TSP. (TSP acts as a water softener, so the moisture penetrates behind the last layers of wallpaper faster).

10- Pump up the sprayer and start spraying walls from the bottom up. Do the 1st spray around the room lightly, then spray the walls of the room a 2nd time. Wait about 15 minutes and spray the room a 3rd time. Depending on the wallpaper, type of paste used, etc., the walls may have to be sprayed multiple times.My experience is sometimes it is ready to be scraped off in 10 minutes, other times a few hours.

This is removing wallpaper in a bedroom

This is removing wallpaper in a bedroom

11- When the wallpaper is saturated enough, it should scrape off the wall with ease using the wallpaper scraper. If when you start scraping the wallpaper and it leaves bits of wallpaper, it means the wallpaper is not ready to come off the wall yet and need to be sprayed again and let soaked for a while more.
12- Scrape off a section of the wallpaper and wipe the wall down with warm water & a sponge >that gets off any remaining wallpaper paste.
13- Use a putty knife to clean up the edges around the ceiling lines, doors, windows baseboards, etc.  (any place where there is trim)
14- Make sure all the walls are wiped clean.
15- Pull the tape off the baseboard , plastic included. (That is why always tape the plastic to the baseboard. the plastic collects the water, scrap paper and the paste, etc. and you end up with a clean floor)
16- Wrap up the plastic (with the trash),throw in the trash bag.
17- Now you have a room with the walls completely removed of wallpaper.

Here is a finished room after the wallpaper has been removed

Here is a finished room after the wallpaper has been removed


In one of my next posts, I’ll give you some  more tips on removing wallpaper from drywall,
foil wallpaper, and a few other procedures I use. 

Hanging GrassCloth Wallpaper

Hanging GrassCloth Wallpaper

Hanging grass cloth wallpaper is a great way to decorate a wall that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
There are many different types , brands and manufacturers of grasscloth.
(Brewster, Jeffery Phillips, York Wallpapers, Design Materials) just to name a few.

Things you need:
2-Paste (clear paste (Romans 880 or Romans Dynamite clear paste)
3- Paste table (a table to paste the paper on)
4- Wallpaper hanging tools (wallpaper brush, wallpaper seam roller,
bucket, warm water, sponge)

Things to do:
1- Prep the wall. If there is old wallpaper on the walls, the old wallpaper should be

2- Patch and smooth the walls. Then caulk the corners & edges of the walls.
(If its dark wallpaper, I’d suggest figure where the seams are going to fall and
paint the seams the background color of the wallpaper)

3- Apply a wallpaper sealer to the wall. (I like to use “Guardz” or Zinzer All Prime)
Usually takes about 2-3 hours to dry.

4- Layout the wall (figure out where the seams are going to fall)
Hanging grasscloth on a wall, the seams have to be measured out, so the
two end sheets are the same size.
Grass cloth is 36″ wide.
Lets say a wall is 184″ long . Then you will need 6 strips
(4 strips at 36″. The 2 end strips at 20″ each)

20″ 36″ 36″ – 36″ 36″ 20″ = 184″ long

5- If the wall is 7’8″ high. then I add on 4″ (that makes each sheet 8 feet)
A double roll of grasscloth is 24 feet long. So you will get three 8 foot strips.
When you hang the strip of wall paper, hang so there it 2 inches on top and bottom.

6- Hanging the grasscloth:
When hanging, paste a strip of the wallpaper (grass cloth) “book” fold it and let it
sit for about 5 minutes so the paper will expand.

7- Start in the middle of the wall.
Hang the 1st strip level.
With a level, draw a level line. Hang the sheet of grass cloth.
Hang it so there is at least 2 inches on the top and bottom.
Crease the top and bottom with a 1″ putty knife.
Trim the sheet using a 6″ broad knife and a sharp snapable razor knife. (Be careful)
Roll the seams on each side using a seam roller.
Using a warm wet sponge, wipe off any paste on the ceiling and the baseboard.

You have now hung your first strip of grasscloth!!!! Congratulations

Continue hanging the rest of the strips as you did the first, and you will have a beautiful wall!!!

The results of hanging grass cloth wallpaper