Thursday, July 12 2012
Look to the walls! Homeowners preparing Evansville houses for sale can hesitate when they suspect the overall look and feel of the interior has grown dated. With good reason, they may fear that prospective buyers will be drawn to newer, fresher-looking competitors…yet the cost and delay of all-out remodel is unattractive.
One alternative is to ‘look to the walls’ for an easy and budget-friendly alternative to a complete remodel. Few things can date a home the way old wallpaper does. Unfortunately, just painting over it is not a solution that usually works very well. Let’s face it: the old paper has to go!
While many newer types come off with ease, it can be downright difficult to remove old wallpaper. Those paisley daisies can be stubborn! Furthermore, many old homes have several layers, making the process even more daunting. Like any of the other processes involved in prepping houses for sale, this one will go considerably faster if you keep the end goal – the major increase in value – in mind.
If the offending wallpaper is a non-porous material like vinyl, start by making holes in it with a puncturing roller, handsaw blade, or even just rough sand paper. The holes will allow steam or chemicals to get through to the glue – it’s what you are working to neutralize. A wallpaper steamer helps ease wallpaper away by melting the glue that bonds it to the wall. You can usually find this specialty equipment for sale or rent at one of our Evansville hardware stores or home centers.
Another method is to spray or sponge on one of the several chemical solutions that dissolve the old bonding glue. Most of these preparations soak for about 15 minutes before removal. Alternatively, there is the least expensive option -- one that I find is usually just as effective. This is a one-to-one solution of fabric softener and hot water (the ‘hot’ is important). Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, then spray directly onto the wall. This mixture works best when made in small batches that keep the water hot enough to melt the glue.
Once the bond is loosened, starting in a bottom corner, pull upward, using a putty knife as needed to ease the paper away from the wall surface. After the paper is down, the best cleaning solution is regular dish detergent preceding a water rinse and towel dry. (In case I forgot to mention it, work clothes are a requirement for this project: old work clothes!)
Do-it-yourself projects like this considerably lower the cost of updating Evansville houses for sale…especially when compared with the alternative of hiring a pro. If you’re looking for more ideas on how to modernize and refresh your home before listing it for sale, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Together, we can develop a pre-marketing plan that works for you! You can reach me at 812-499-9234.
Monday, March 14 2011
After what’s felt like an eternity pretending not to see it, you’ve reached the point where you can no longer ignore that ugly wallpaper the previous owners put up. Yes, indeed, this wall covering must come down. Now.
The problem: How do you remove the wallpaper without damaging the wall — or yourself? There are several options, including steaming or spraying with chemicals, but you'll have to decide which one will work best for you and your wallpaper.
How do you remove the wallpaper without damaging the wall — or yourself? Use these tips to help you decide which option will work best.
"People usually have no clue on how to strip wallpaper," says Gerald Bishop, owner of Wallcoverings and the Fresno Wallpaper Design Warehouse in Fresno, Calif. "It's not that difficult. But it takes a lot of patience, and there's an art to stripping wallpaper."
Which method you use to take down the wallpaper will often depend on the product. Some wallpapers can be stripped dry, while others will need a removal solution. And then, any damage to the wall will depend on how the wallpaper was installed.
"Every job is different," Gerald says. "It all stems from what the contractor did before." For example, if the wall wasn't sealed with a primer before the wallpaper was put up, removing the wallpaper can cause some damage to the wall's texture or the drywall.
Using a steamer to remove wallpaper isn't as popular as it once was. "We used to use them 25 years ago, and they were (heated with) propane," says Larry Meacham of Larry's Painting and Decorating in Fresno.
These days, steamers are electric, he says. "They may work for some people, but I don't use them."
Gerald doesn't use steamers either. "It works, but you end up scalding your hands. It also takes twice as long to strip the wallpaper."
Instead, Larry and Gerald like to use a concentrated remover solution that is mixed with water. The solution dissolves the adhesive wallpaper backing, making it easy to take off. Before starting, gather the right tools and do some basic preparations. Tools you'll need include: one or two 3-to-6-inch broad knives, a ladder, a scoring tool and a garden sprayer, such as a 2-gallon plastic pump.
You'll need a plastic sheet or a drop cloth to cover the carpet or floor. Take down outlet covers, then mix the solution and hot water together. Larry and Gerald like to use DIF by Zinsser, which is available at home-improvement stores.
Next, test a small area of the wall, about a 3' x 3' section, by lifting an edge of the wallpaper. "You have to determine what the grain is," Gerald says. "It can be stripped left to right, up and down, or more."
If the wallpaper doesn't come off easily, spray the remover-solution mixture on the area and let it soak into the wallpaper. You may need to apply it several times.
Next, try stripping the wallpaper by hand. The backing will be left, which you can scrape off with a broad knife.
If the mixture isn't penetrating through the wallpaper, use the scoring tool in circular motions to make tiny punctures into the material. This will allow the mixture to saturate the wallpaper and its backing quicker.
Gerald cautions, however, to use the tool as a last resort. "You have to do it with the right pressure and not gouge the drywall," he says.
As you take off the wallpaper, you may find more underneath. "No matter what the manufacturers tell you, you can only take down one at a time" without risking damage to the wall, says John Franke, an interior design expert with the Comfort Council, an advisory board of design and lifestyle experts.
Once the wallpaper and its backing are removed, spray the wall with the mixture one last time and scrape off any missed spots. Then, wipe down the wall with a moist sponge and let it dry for a few days.