I started to tackle the faux-textured, tissue-papered walls in the family room. I figured it was going to be quite difficult, and I decided to start with with the one skinny little side entry wall.
Basically, the walls were, to the best of my determination, NOT primed. In the interest of frugality, I decided to start the project with a variety of on-hand scrapers, and a spray bottle of good ole water. Around the left corner of this wall is a painted wall in our back hallway. The faux finish continues and wraps around to the wall on the right side. I taped off the baseboard and used an old beach towel (which has always been a rag) I ran a small blade along the right side corner, about a foot up. I sprayed with water, waited about 10 minutes, then started to scrape.
What you’re seeing is further into the project. But, you can see that I gouged the wall in my zeal, and created a mess. No problem: I could patch and skim coat that area. Also, in my defense, the little side walls are never, ever flat and even, are they? They’re constructed, to start, with a bunch of drywall mud most of the time. I’ve seen drywallers do this many times.
It became quite clear that the water was not going to penetrate the glaze well, and that my scrapers were not the correct tools for the job. My next step was going to be using fabric softener, but I had a hunch my scrapers would yield the same results. I needed a tool that would keep the correct angle and scrape stuff easily. I needed something other than water to dissolve whatever materials had been used. And I needed something to help break the glaze barrier. I had $15 in Westlake Ace coupons, so off I went, and got these Big Girl Tools.
The Paper Tiger is a wonderful tool, when used correctly, and I owned one several years ago. Be aware, the blades that cut the surface of the paper, can also cut you! Do not, not, not attempt to see what they feel like, or leave them within reach of children or pets.
This tool must be used very lightly. Don’t press it against the wall. Just lightly roll it around the paper you’re trying to remove. It will score the top surface of the paper, or in this case, glaze, to allow the remover to penetrate to the adhesive and dissolve it. I had already let the wall dry completely from my mistake, but the tissue was still firmly attached to the area. So I gently scored the wall, this time three feet up.
Reviews for DIF wallpaper stripper are high all over the Internet. It actually stays where it’s sprayed! And it is supposed to penetrate the little holes made by the Paper Tiger and dissolve what it touches. WEAR GLOVES. I donned a pair (which I keep in my stash always) and sprayed up to where I’d scored through the glaze. I let it sit 20 minutes.
This is the tool I thought would make my wallpaper-removing life a breeze. It holds the blade at the correct angle, it’s lightweight, and it was under $10. As always, I got replacement blades. The “blades” aren’t sharp, btw. After the requisite 20 minutes, I used this scraper to remove the pasted-on tissue paper. But. The wall isn’t flat, so it missed the center part. I had to keep turning to find the correct angle for it to scrape, but that caused a little more gouging.
A total hour and a half and three applications later, I’m not liking the return on investment. I returned the unopened replacement blades, and cleaned then put the other items up for sale on Facebook.
I dug out the little sheet of info the former owners left us about the faux finisher. Although she is no longer in the area, and no longer in the business, she took about 20 minutes of her time to walk me through what she did, and what kind of fix would be in store. What a lovely person.
Tissue paper was dampened, crumpled, glued to the walls, then sponged with two colors of paint and a topcoat of glaze. The lack of primer is a big factor in this being a real pain in the behind to remove. The faux finisher said that she always, always would tell clients that this was permanent, and that they would have to live with it, or replace the drywall, before she started.
She suggested knocking back the big folds of paper with a scraper, then sanding down the texture, then applying a skim coat of mud, more sanding, etc. Still, she said, the walls would never be flat and smooth. Ever. She said if I wanted that, the best thing would be to replace the drywall.
So, I’ll be spackling the roughly 8″ x 36″ area of wall that is now damaged, texturizing it, priming and painting the whole little side wall to make it work. Replacing drywall for that huge room is not anywhere on my radar right now. I’m going to think about it and possibly revisit the issue over the winter (as I’d planned last winter). For now, I’m considering these ideas:
1. Knock back the big areas of texture, prime all the walls, and repaint.
2. Sand down as much as is reasonable, one wall at a time, then prime and repaint.
3. Just prime and repaint.
Well, I guess that’s one project off my list for now, and just a small repair project added.