If you’re looking to save yourself some cash by doing as much decorating as you can before bringing in the professional decorators then you have probably thought about stripping off any old wallpaper yourself.
Depending on the number of rooms, whether it is just a small bedroom, or the whole floor and also what surfaces and age you are working with depends how much work you are going to have to do.
Wallpaper applied to fresh plaster only last year may simply peel off and come away in whole sheets leaving a perfectly smooth finish for the painting and decorating company to get started on. On the other end of the scale you may be looking at taking off layers and layers of aged wallpaper, each layer applied without removing the previously layer. This kind of situation replies a lot more patience, elbow grease and an eye for perfection.
Whatever state the wall is in you have to start with the end in mind and the end has to be a perfectly stripped wall. Far too many people look to save money by stripping the walls themselves, only to leave gouges and chunks of paper all across the walls. This kind of scenario just means the decorators have to take time carefully going over each wall and removing any leftover paper while filling in any holes caused by scrapers.
So remember, if you want to save money you have to do a proper job else it could end up costing you more.
Use the proper tools:
Many people (not professional painters and decorators) recommend a large sponge, stanley knife and hot, soapy water. The idea being you score all the paper with a stanley knife which allows the soapy water to penetrate the surface when applied with the sponge. Leave it to soak in then attack it with a wallpaper scaper.
The problems you tend to find with this are it’s messy as the soggy paper sticks to everything, it’s time-consuming as the wallpaper only comes off in tiny pieces and thirdly scoring the paper damages the plaster below so when applying the new rolls of wallpaper the dents and gouges tend to show through. This means extra time filling in the uneven surface before applying the paper.
The method that experienced painters and decorators would recommend, and use themselves, is use a wallpaper steamer. These can be rented from as little as £6 per day and make a world of differnce. A wallpaper steamer consists of a heated canister which you fill with hot water. This is then heated to produce a constant frol of steam which is pushed through a flat panel. Simply hold the paddle against the wallpaper while the steam works it’s way through the wallpaper then simply take it off with a scraper. The wallpaper tends to come off in 30cm square panels which make for easy cleaning and leave a nice clear surface.
Most, if not all painting and decorating companies in London will offer a full stripping service. This is somewhere that you can save money and the decorators won’t mind you doing it yourself to save money as long as you do a proper job. If you do start and find it is more difficult than you thought the it is probably best to hand over rather than continue in a half-hearted manner which the decorators will have to clear up after.