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It’s done. It’s FINALLY done. The UDH is wallpaperless!

Well, I guess not completely… there’s still some strewn on the floor… but at least it’s no longer attached to actual walls and instead destined for the garbage can (except for one piece… I’ve tried to save one piece from each room for a project I’m working on).

This feels epic, in a way. After four years of peeling paper, it’s done. That took longer than getting a graduate degree (and speaking of epic, I was pretty excited to get this in the mail a couple of weeks ago!).

It all started with the guest bedroom back in 2010. Granny and Mom were over helping me get some things cleaned for the big move-in. And Granny took to the guest bedroom wall with its toothpastey mint-colored walls and ugly wallpaper. At least that stuff peeled off easily!

It seems as though each subsequent room has escalated in terms of stuck-on wallpapered trickiness. I’ve tried everything! The downstairs half bath was next, though I can thank my uncle for the majority of that makeover. He tore all of it down while I was at work, also in 2010.

The two bathrooms upstairs (guest and primary) weren’t really all that hard. I learned how to use a wallpaper solution to loosen the glue, and then repair damage with a smooth skim coat job.

I got covered in dust in the process, but hey – at least the paper was gone.

Next up was the dining room. Toughest so far, and wouldn’t even come off with the steamer. Mom was here for that tear-off, too. It’s not finished, but I got a skim coat on the walls before switching to the kitchen last fall.

And now, the kitchen is also wallpaper-free. After realizing that there were two, sometimes three layers of wallpaper on the wall, I gave up trying to salvage the first layer of drywall paper. If you know that you’re going to have to skim coat anyway, what’s the point in trying to be careful? Just let ‘er rip.

Mom was over this weekend and helped me tear down the rest. She was so determined, she even celebrated every time a piece came off in a large sheet (“YEAH!!!”).

In the end, I’ve still got quite a bit of repair work ahead of me, but I think the brown and white splotches all over the walls are still an improvement over greasy, yellowed, country kitchen paper. Don’t you?

Oh, right – sneak peek of the tile! Tell ya all about that on Wednesday’s #duelingDIY post. And let me just use the word “epic” again for obnoxious emphasis ;)

How about you? What were you up to over the weekend?

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  1. I can only imagine. We had a lot of borders in this house but I was so happy that it was either cheap or just poorly placed and came off so easily. Wallpaper free is the way to be. Keep your kids off wallpaper!

  2. That is so awesome! I am afraid to think you might hang a piece of artwork in your home with the wallpaper on it??? I adore those pictures of your Grandma helping out–just too sweet. The tile looks great….things are moving right along. Yeah, my masters diploma is rolled up in the top of my craft closet. I was trying to keep it safe and unbent. Not sure it’s holding up so well–I should check. (cringing now).

  3. Yay!

    I got exactly NO housework done this weekend. But I did take a bunch of no longer used Zoe items up to the attic, so I consider that a (tiny) success :)

  4. woo hoo! de-wallpapering is THE WORST. I made my (at the time high school aged) brother-in-law stay with us for a week to help me take all the wallpaper down while my husband was in school, and I paid him in 2 xbox games of his choice. After a few 12 hour days it was gone and I had to promise I’d never make him do it again. lol.

  5. Great job on removing all that wallpaper!

    My husband and I were all psyched to get a project we’ve been putting off forever done! Once the kids were in bed we got everything out – and realized we were missing one needed supply. D’oh! Oh well, we’ll try again tonight.

  6. Another small bite completed.

    Ahhh, now you get to pick out paint colors. In my mind I’d rather peel wallpaper. Which is exactly the way my better half would have it.

    Looking good.

  7. We had a bunch of God-awful wallpaper removal to do on our first house. That tenacious horribleness really makes one consider the practical applications of a Molotov cocktail in the home improvement process. Rebuilding might just be easier.

  8. Removing wallpaper is so painful. But, in my experience, trying to wallpaper (with your husband) is divorce material.

  9. Hi. I just recently came across your blog and am enjoying seeing all the progress.
    I particularly liked the no more wallpaper. What a time consuming project but well worth it. Great Blog.

  10. Hi, Sarah—I was delighted to find your site yesterday as it had the exact information I have been looking for for days, about repairing walls after wallpaper removal. Weird how it didn’t come up on my searches until I looked for “what’s the difference between spackle and joint compound”. Anyway,we were trying to strip paper from our dining room walls but stopped working at the paper when we saw how badly the drywall was getting damaged. We didn’t want to keep pulling the paper if we were just going to have to strip out the drywall and put new up. Finally I was able to get someone in who told me I could just sand it and prime it and have it skim-coated etc. without removing all the old layers. I have been inspired by your site to try the skim coating myself, however I am wondering if I should try to get the rest of the old paper down or if I can just seal it like the contractor said, and go from there. I realize you are not a professional per se (!) but wondered if you could speak to that. Please forgive me if you have answered this above or elsewhere, I’m just getting in a bind for time–as you probably are as well…Thanks!!! I bought supplies yesterday per your list, by the way, and love the look of your dining room, may go that way ourselves with the picture frame molding etc.

    1. My two cents, so just speaking from my own home’s experience: you’re right that I’m definitely not a pro, and the contractor who told you that is probably thinking that’s what HE would do, but the downside to not removing the paper first is that IF there is a bubble underneath that wallpaper, you’re not going to be able to get it out because you’re putting stuff on top, which will expose any issues underneath. You’re sealing any mistakes left in the wallpaper before you put the skim coat on, which would be FINE if the wallpaper was perfect to begin with. But more than likely, there will be a bubble somewhere that needs to be fixed. It’s not a bad option if the wallpaper seems perfect enough on its own and has no texture to fill in, but my own opinion would be to never cover over existing wallpaper (paint, skim coat, or otherwise). Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks so much, Sarah. After writing you I kept trolling and reading more on your site, so that same day I began removing the rest of the paper. I’ve had to take a break today because I’m so sore after probably 11 hours over the previous two days (and the room is barely half done…Layers two and three are vinyl and scoring/soaking does no good on them). I’ve had confirmed over and over why it’s the right thing to do, when I suddenly get a pocket of air inside the layers. Again, thank you.