Wallpaper Woes: Prep & Removal of a Bygone Trend

Posted by Steph Kaye on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 3:07pm.

Wallpaper could be standing in the way of getting an offer on your home.  

When selling your home, you will find that there are always particular tasks that are worth the extra effort: maintaining a well-manicured lawn, decluttering your home, and wallpaper removal.  Buyers today do not have the appreciation for this particular design choice as did the buyers of twenty years ago.  Wallpaper is considered old-fashioned and can make your home look weary and outdated.  Simply put, the wallpaper needs to go!  

Wallpaper removal does not have to be a tedious, difficult task.  Using the right technique and giving this project some of your time will ensure that all wallpaper is removed expediently, allowing you to move forward with the timely sale of your home.  

Sellers often inquire as to whether they should remove the wallpaper before listing their home on the market.  Ninety-nine percent of the time, the answer is "yes" and, for those sellers who do not pose this question, Lang Premier Properties often suggests removal.  The bottom line: wallpaper is dating your house.  This particular decor is over-personalized to your specific taste and is a hinderence to buyers who might attempt to picture themselves living in your home.  While it is possible to offer a buyer credit, which would allow the buyer funding in order to remove the wallpaper upon purchase, the point is that wallpaper makes it difficult to sell a home.  Most sellers wind up getting far less money upon sale when electing to leave the wallpaper alone.  If you are thinking you don't have the energy for this task, consider hiring a professional to remove your wallpaper before you list your home.  

For those who are gifted at DIY-ing, stay tuned for some helpful suggestions and tips regarding wallpaper and why it needs to go bye-bye!


Is this really necessary?

If you want the best possible price for your home, the answer is YES!!!

While there are still some buyers out there who appreciate wallpaper, they make up the minority of house hunters.  The odds that you will sell your wall-papered home in a timely manner for the price you desire are quite slim.  Your professional realtor could bring your a hundred qualified buyers, however only a few of those buyers would actually make you and offer and it would be low-ball at best.  Wallpaper has not been a popular design choice for the past fifteen to twenty years and you are taking a risk by selling your home papered rather than taking the opportunity to remove all wallpaper.  Buyers are known to drive off when they sense even a hint of outdated-ness in a home.  The entire goal when selling your property is to make it as appealing as possible to the majority of buyers rather than hope and pray for a minority buyer to make an offer.  

If you are still unsure, consult your professional, experienced realtor in order to get the opinion of an expert.  

Start your engines!

Before you commence your removal process, there are two important things to consider: 

1. Identifying the Wall

In order to safely remove wallpaper, you will need to identify the type of walls in your home.  Plaster walls sound dull upon knocking on them and are harder than drywall.  Plaster can usually be found in homes older than 50 years.  

For homes less than 50 years old, it is likely that the walls are comprised of drywall.  Drywall will sound dull upon knocking.

Plaster tends to be more durable and drywall can be damaged easily.  If you have drywall, be gentle in removing wallpaper.  

2. Identify the Paper

Strip-able wallpaper is the easiest to remove as it may simply be pulled off the wall with your hands and requires no water or chemicals to remove.  Peel-able wallpaper is a bit more tricky.  The top vinyl coat can be peeled off by hand, however you will need water to remove the paper beneath.  Washable wallpaper has a plastic film on the surface to repel dirt and grime.  This is where things get tricky as washable wallpaper has a plastic film which prevents water from penetrating to the paper for removal.   You will need puncture the plastic film before applying water while being careful not to cut too deeply, resulting in damaged drywall.

Pre-Removal Preparation

Begin by washing the walls you will be working on and clear away any furniture and rugs.  You might want to utilize drop cloths in order to catch loose debris.  Gather your tools, hot water, and applicator, and don't forget your scraping tool.  


Depending on the type of paper you are removing, there are two major techniques to successful wallpaper "remediation".  

1. Water Removal

You can purchase liquid stripper at your local hardware store or you can use hot water independently of chemical assistance.  Fabric softener can also be used as a stripper.  Hot water can soften the glue which holds up the paper.  If you are encountering difficulty, you can rent a steamer machine, however most people prefer a spray bottle filled with hot water or hot water sponges and large brushes.  It is best to soak the wall in the water or products of choice for a while and then begin scraping once the paper is thoroughly soaked through.  Newer wallpaper will be easier to remove.  Older wallpaper, on the other hand, will require a bit more effort.  If you find that you are still having trouble, try scoring the wallpaper and spraying once again to allow for better penetration.  Try to avoid this as your first plan of attack as you may be unnecessarily adding work that might be avoidable.  

2. Steamer Removal

Remember: there is on shame in renting a steamer, but using a steamer is a job for two people.  

Prep For Paint

Once you have removed all the wallpaper, you are ready to prep for paint!  A fresh coat of paint will only enhance the end result and will be a crowd pleaser for prospective buyers.  

In Closing

Don't make the mistake of  avoiding your wallpaper.  You might be leaving money on the table by doing so when you go to list your house.  Every home stands to benefit from stripping wallpaper.  In addition, stick with a neutral pallet for paints.  Off-white is usually best and appeals to the largest crowd of buyers.  Remember: you are not making the changes to please yourself.  You will be moving, after all, so try not to settle too much on your own personal preferences.  Selling a home for the most money means making it appeal to the largest percentage of buyers.

If you'd like to learn more, please don't hesitate to message Lang Premier Properties online or call us at 1-855-526-4466.

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