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Removing wallpaper

VARIABLES: Removal times will vary greatly depending on the type of wallpaper in place and the condition of the surfaces. Removal and prep could take several days.

MATERIALS: 12-inch baseboard masking, blue painter's masking tape, wallpaper remover (white vinegar solution or chemical remover)

TOOLS: Screwdriver, wallpaper perforating tool, spray bottle or garden sprayer, rubber gloves, plastic bucket, 3-inch plastic scraper, sponge, moisture-proof drop cloth

Do The Ceiling First - If you're wallpapering the room and painting the ceiling and trim, do the ceiling and the trim first to avoid the inevitable drips and spills on the fresh paper.

Removing wallpaper is an inexact science—get the right tools and give yourself plenty of time. Removal is the only way to guarantee the best results but, if the surface is in good condition, professionals often paper or paint right over the old paper. Make your decision about the condition of the wall objectively and honestly before you proceed. If you have any doubts, remove the paper. In any case repair and priming are essential. Remove nonvinyl papers— cleaning will do more damage than good. Clean vinyl and vinyl-coated papers the same way you clean painted walls. Removing wallpaper goes one of two ways—incredibly difficult or unbelievably easy. Be prepared for a tough job and be surprised if it’s not.

Wallpaper Removal Blues - I’ve decided there should be a law against putting wallpaper over unprimed drywall. Why? Because it just won't come off. Of course, that's never a problem until you decide to pull it down and redecorate. People I know not only removed the wallpaper, they also removed the paper facing on the drywall. I helped them put up wallpaper liner so they could paint. "Next time," I said, "try testing a small section first and maybe paint over the wallpaper rather than removing it."

1 Turn Off The Power At The Circuit Breaker Panel, then remove all switch and outlet covers on the walls you are stripping. Cover switches and outlets with blue painter’s masking tape. Cover the floor with a moisture-proof drop cloth, then apply 12-inch baseboard masking and blue painter's masking tape to the baseboards. Allow it to overlap the drop cloth for complete coverage.

2 Perforate The Wallpaper For Water Penetration. A perforation tool such as the one shown is fast and effective. Apply just enough pressure to perforate the wallpaper without damaging the underlying drywall.

3 Apply Wallpaper Remover To An Entire Wall With A Spray Bottle, or garden sprayer if you are removing paper from a large area. Both are available at garden shops or home centers. Mix the remover with water as hot as you are comfortable with to speed removal. (A solution of a cup of vinegar per gallon of water is an effective alternative to commercial wallpaper removers.)

4 Remove The Wallpaper. Wait 10 to 20 minutes or follow manufacturer's instructions. Then, wearing rubber gloves, peel off as much wallpaper as you can with your hands. Before turning to the scraper, spray on a second application of remover. Peel Off Remaining Wallpaper. Use a 3-inch plastic scraper. Scrape lightly to avoid having to repair a damaged surface.

5 After Removing All Of The Wallpaper Wash The Wall Several Times, using fresh water and a sponge to remove paste residue. Residue will reduce bonding of the paint and cause

Stain-Blocking Primers - You may still see the blemishes you're trying to eliminate after applying a stain-blocking primer. It's doing its job, which is blocking the stain. Test with your finish color to see if the blocker is effective.

Painting Over Wallpaper

Can you really paint over wallpaper? The short answer is yes, you often can. Some papers themselves are almost impossible to remove without damaging the surface. And, removing paper that has been applied to plaster walls or over unprimed drywall can be extremely difficult. If the surface is smooth and in good condition, professional painters will prime and paint over the existing paper. However, they do make sure the paper is securely on the wall and that all the seams are tight. They paint a test area to make sure the paper will hold, do any necessary repairs, and finally they prime with a tinted primer and then paint the room. So, if the old paper just won’t come off, do what the pros do. If the paint sticks, and if the wallpaper remains securely attached to the wall and the seams don’t show, painting over the old paper will probably look fine.

1 Residual Wallpaper Paste Is Invisible And Interferes With Paint Adhesion. To remove it, wipe the wall thoroughly with a wet sponge. Repair any dings or dents with fast-drying surfacing compound. Remove dust and debris before continuing.

2 Apply A Tinted Shellac-Based, Stain-Blocking Primer On A Test Area. Wait 24 hours. Repair minor blisters or bubbles by slitting them with a utility knife and glue to the wall with a wallpaper adhesive. Apply the finish coat. If the coverage looks good, finish priming and painting the rest of the room.

Priming And Painting Walls

VARIABLES: Time estimates assume a 10x12' room and that surfaces have been properly prepared. Drying time between coats will depend on temperature and humidity.

MATERIALS: Primer and stain blocker, high-quality latex paint, wall repair materials, blue painter’s masking tape, 120-grit sandpaper

TOOLS: Putty knife, brushes, rollers, spray bottle (for priming brushes and roller covers), extension pole, 5-gallon paint bucket with roller grid, small paint bucket, latex paint respirator (optional), safety glasses, drop cloth, ladder (if necessary), rags

Although priming is vital to a lasting finish and a great-looking room, there are also sound economic reasons for a good priming job. If you spend $30 for a gallon of designer paint, you don’t want to see stains or discoloration bleeding through because you didn’t take time to prime and seal the wall. Primer isn’t just a watery paint. It is formulated to adhere well to a variety of surfaces and seals them to prevent stains and discoloration from bleeding through the final coat. The finish coat sticks more effectively to a primed surface than it does to plaster, wood, or an earlier coat of paint. Priming not only adds to the durability of the paint job, it may prevent you from having to roll on a second top coat—especially if you have the primer tinted the same color as the finish coat. Prime and paint more efficiently by following a logical sequence: First apply stain and varnish to any new trim to protect it from paint. Next prime and paint the ceiling, proceed to the walls, and conclude with any trim that needs to be painted. Careful masking at each stage will allow you to work quickly and freely, saving time in the long run.

A gray tint in the primer will produce a better final color in the finish coat, especially with darker colors such as red.

The first step to a good paint job is applying primer. It goes on like regular paint and can be tinted to match the finish coat. Primer makes applying the final coat easier and can reduce the number of top coats required.

THE TRUTH ABOUT OIL (ALKYD) AND LATEX - If you've heard about the danger of putting latex over oil-based paint, forget about it. Once the paint is dry they're perfectly compatible. For the homeowner the larger issues are drying time and odor: oil takes longer to dry and has a stronger smell.

1 FIX THE DINGS. Examine all the surfaces, then carefully repair and sand any cracks, holes, or dents before you apply the paint.

2 TINT THE PRIMER. A percentage of the volume of a primer can be tinted with the final color to ensure good coverage with finish coats. Not all primers need tinting, so ask a salesperson and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

3 MASK THE ROOM. Determine the order for painting the room. Paint last the areas that are likely to get dripped on. Prime (and paint) the ceiling first, walls second, and trim last. If you plan to prime the trim with a different tint than you will use on the walls, mask the trim first. Mask the top of the walls if you are painting the ceiling; mask the ceiling and trim if you're starting with the walls.

4 SPOT PRIME. If using latex, dip the brush in water to help it absorb the primer. If using alkyd, dip the brush in mineral spirits. Brush out the liquid on a piece of cardboard to remove loose bristles. Brush primer on areas of walls and trim that need special attention: patches in drywall and plaster, areas of bare wood exposed by scraping and sanding, and any spots treated with stain blocker.

5 PRIME THE ROLLER. It's hard for a dry roller to absorb primer or paint, so "prime" the roller before you put it in the primer or paint. If the primer is latex, spritz the roller with a garden mister and squeeze off the excess water. Use mineral spirits for alkyd primer. Run the roller over the paint grid or roller pan several times to get an even amount of primer on the roller cover.

6 PRIME THE CEILING. Start on the short side of the room and "cut in” the edges about 2 inches wide and about 5 feet long along the edge of the ceiling. Then, wearing safety goggles and an old cap, roll paint onto the ceiling, working the roller into the cut-in area to remove as many brush marks as possible. Roll with diagonal strokes and move from the edge toward the middle of the room. Continue cutting in and rolling until you’re finished.

7 CUT IN A SECTION OF WALL. Wait until the ceiling dries and mask it off with blue painter's masking tape. Mask off the trim if you haven't already done so. Starting in a corner, prime along about 5 feet of trim, 5 feet of ceiling, and from top to bottom of the corner.

8 ROLL THE WALLS. To minimize the wall area that will have a brushstroke texture, run the roller over the strips you've primed during the cutting stage, getting as close as possible to the masked trim, ceiling, or adjacent wall.

9 BEGIN ROLLING AT THE TOP SECTION OF THE WALL ALONG THE CUT-IN STRIP, and work to the bottom in a series of Ws, as shown above, to avoid creating a visible pattern of vertical passes. Move along the wall in 3- to 5-foot sections, cutting in and rolling until the job is done. Work in sections small enough to cover with a single load of the roller, and always roll up on the first stroke. The key is to overlap areas of wet paint.

10 SAND THE WALLS IF NECESSARY. Wait until the primer is thoroughly dry and sand lightly with 120-grit sandpaper. Tear a piece of sandpaper in fourths, and then fold one of the quarters in thirds. Whisk the paper along the wall, removing bumps and other high spots. When the paper loads with paint dust, refold it to reveal a fresh face, and continue. An alternative is to drag the surface lightly with a 4- to 6-inch putty knife. Once you've finished, wipe the wall with a damp rag to remove dust and debris.

11 ROLL THE CEILING WITH THE FINISH COLOR. When the primer is dry, mask around the ceiling. After cutting in a section, start rolling. Protect your eyes with safety goggles and wear an old cap. A 5-gallon bucket with a roller grid requires filling less often and is less likely to tip than a paint tray. Use a relatively dry roller to reduce spattering. Roll diagonally, as you did to prime, to avoid creating visible rows across the ceiling. Extension poles allow you to reach more area without leaning dangerously from a ladder.

12 CUT IN THE WALLS. After you've painted the ceiling, remove the tape from the top of the walls and allow the ceiling to dry thoroughly. Then mask off the ceiling and trim to paint the walls. Start painting in a corner and cut in a few feet along the ceiling, a few feet along the baseboard, and the starting corner.

13 ROLL CLOSE TO THE WALL PERIMETER. The texture of brushed areas is different from rolled areas. Paint into the freshly cut-in areas with a roller, removing as much of the brush-stroke texture as possible. Cover as much of the cut-in as you can without getting paint on other surfaces. Starting with an up stroke, work from the ceiling toward the baseboard, rolling on large W-shape strokes. Back roll with a light load of paint to smooth things out.

14 PRIME AND PAINT THE TRIM. Remove the masking for the walls, allow the paint to dry thoroughly, and mask off for the trim. Control dripping by pouring the trim paint into a small bucket and dip the brush about halfway into the paint. Tap the brush against the sides (instead of scraping it around the rim) to remove excess paint in the tip of the brush; this will leave paint in the body of the brush.

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