Posts for Tag : Painting Services


Wallpaper Removal

Super hard or super easy!  Wallpaper removal is all based upon one issue.  Were the walls properly prepared prior to hanging?  When hanging wallpaper the walls must be primed or sized with a sealing type paint or primer that is made for this process.  Back in the ’70s and 80’s I hung wallpaper almost every day.  It truly was the in thing.  The very best way to size the wall is to use an oil-based slow dry primer with a flat or Matt finish. Don’t use quick-dry oil primers, they are shiny and the paper may not adhere.  The next best thing to size is a water-based sizing specifically designed for under wallpaper.  Oil-based primers are best because they bond great to the existing latex wall paint and they insure and will not let the paste or the water at removal time penetrate into the underlying paint and wallboard.  The removal is a snap with oil-based primers. 


1:   If the walls were not sized and or the paper installer hung the paper over raw sheetrock or over cheap latex paint then the problems just got worse.  The wallpaper will come off in small pieces and you will do a lot of damage to the wall creating a lot of patching to get the wall looking nice for paint.

2:   Pre-pasted, vinyl-coated wallpapers:  Water will not penetrate the vinyl coating and they can seldom be removed in large pieces or sheets.

The process for removal!

Tape the baseboards and cover the floors with two layers of protection.  You will be using a lot of water.

Step # 1:  Test the existing wallpaper.  Locate a seam, joint or edge of the wallpaper.  Use your fingernails or a flexible putty knife to see how much of the top layer can be removed without any water.  Three things can happen.  If the top layer or all of the paper is solid vinyl, then it will come off in sheets.  This is the best outcome.  If you start at the bottom corner or a top corner and slowly pull away at an angle the paper may come off in sheets just like it went on.  If the paper is fabric backed then the only thing left behind will be the adhesive (more on that later).

Step # 2:  If the wallpaper is paper backed vinyl (i.e. the top layer came off and there is a fuzzy paper layer still on the wall) or if you were unable to remove the top layer then there are additional steps.  It’s time to break out the pump-up garden sprayer.  A one or two-gallon unit will suffice.  It’s also helpful to buy some paste removal products like DIFF.  Mix as per instructions using hot water (hotter the better) and wet the wall down. Start with maybe an 8’-10’ wall.  You will need to soak the paper with 2-3 applications of hot water over a 10 – 30-minute time frame.  Make sure you test after each layer of water to see if the paste has softened.  You will need putty and or patching knives for this process.  When the paste is soft, you should be able to slide the putty knife under the paper layer.  Apply pressure to the putty knife against the wall and slide the blade under the paper removing the paper layer.  If the paper gets too wet or if it is too dry you will have trouble.  At this point do everything you can to prevent wall damage.  Priming, patching, sanding all take a lot of time and a fair amount of skill to make the walls look nice. 

Step # 3:  At this point, all the paper has been removed.  The walls may have a very heavy layer of paste or a very thin layer. The paste could be so thin that you can hardly tell it is there.  It’s time to test again.  Use that pump-up garden sprayer and wet down a small area about 2’x2’ you may have to wet it down again as stated above.  Use your fingers and test the wet down area.  It will be slippery or sticky.  At this point, you will need 5-gallon buckets, 3M scotch bright pads, and sponges.  You will need to keep wetting down the wall and washing off the paste until the walls are clean and free of paste.  The wall is free of paste when your wet finger grabs to the wall rather than slides on the wall.  The idea here is that you will be washing the paste off the wall and rinsing the sponge into your bucket.  You will need to continue to change your water.  Washing the wall with dirty (paste filled water)  is pointless.  If you don’t remove all the paste from the wall then the new layer of paint may not adhere or it may bubble up.  It is very important to remove all the paste from the walls.  Use lots of light and be patient. 

Problem wallpaper (vinyl coated).  If you can’t remove the top layer and or the paper won’t get wet with the sprayer then you will need to sand.    The point here is to break down the coating on top of the wallpaper.  When the wallpaper was manufactured they used a varnish type vinyl coating and sprayed the front of the wallpaper.  This is preventing water penetration and preventing the underlying paste from getting wet.  Buy or borrow a random orbit sander and find some 40 Grit sandpaper to sand the coating off the wallpaper.  You will need to test wash to ensure that you sanded enough.  Sanding will create scratches in the varnish type coating this, in turn, will allow the water to penetrate and soften the underlying glue and or adhesive.  When you are able to wet down the paper, then complete as stated above with steps two & three.

Finally, it’s time to patch the walls to ensure the walls look nice for painting. 

Feel free to call Lake Area Painting & Decorating with questions or for a price to complete all this work as stated above. We would love to hear from you.


PART TWO-Painting a Textured Ceiling

This process in and of itself has caused many people problems, pain and cost.  You see the dirty little secret is that 95% of textured ceilings are installed incorrectly when the house is built.  All manufacturers of sheetrock, joint or patching compound and texture recommend that new sheetrock is primed prior to installing texture.  This step is usually skipped.  In modern home building, ceilings are very seldom primed prior to applying texture.  This practice creates major problems when you want to paint a textured ceiling.  Ceilings textures are water soluble and due to lack of a primer, they have very little adhesion to the new sheetrock.   Latex paints and primers are primarily water.  When the texture gets wet with the paint or primer the texture can fall off of the ceiling.  This is not pretty and can cause you to have to re-texture the complete ceiling.

Make sure all walls, flooring, furniture and all ceiling hardware such as lights are covered.  The most difficult items to cover are the walls.  We use 1.5” OR 2” Low adhesive masking tape by the 3M Company.  The tape must be installed very carefully at the wall ceiling joint. Line the tape up with the texture and firmly press the tape onto the wall.  We use a narrow 1.5” putty knife to secure the top edge of the tape to the wall at the ceiling line.  We leave the bottom edge of the tape loose if possible in order to tuck the plastic under that edge.  We use 12’ wide plastic on a 400’ roll to cover all the walls.  Again you tape the wall at the ceiling line then tuck the edge of the plastic under the bottom edge of the tape.  You then unfold the plastic to cover the walls all the way down to the floor.
Ready to paint?  First and foremost, test the existing texture to see if it has ever been painted, there are many ways to do this.  Try a putty knife edge first, gently scrape at the popcorn texture.  If it has never been painted it will fall off easily, almost like a powder.  You can even scrape it off with your fingernails.  If the texture seams soft like it has never been painted make a 2nd test.  Get a wet sponge and carefully gently wash a very small part of the ceiling.  If it turns to mud and or washes off immediately you have now confirmed that the texture has not been painted.  You must prime the ceiling first before painting it and you should spray the ceiling with an AIRLESS SPRAYER.  You can rent one of these at your local rental store.  You really should hire a contractor at this point.   If the ceilings have been painted before then most of the danger described above is passed. You may only need one coat of paint and you can roll the new paint onto the ceiling.  Use a heavy nap roller ¾”-1” nap.  Take your time don’t miss any spots.

Priming and Painting an unpainted textured ceiling.  Call your local contractor Lake Area Painting & Decorating or rent that sprayer and learn how to use it.  Suffice it to say in untrained hands you can create many more headaches than just water damage.  The process and technique for rolling and/or spraying will not be discussed here.

The safest primer to use in terms of your textured ceiling not falling down is an oil based or alcohol based primer/sealer.  However, if you don’t have a full face respirator you will be overcome by the fumes from the solvents.  We have found in careful hands we can use a quick drying primer like (Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3) or a slow drying Penetrating primer like (Zinsser-Gardz Problem Surface Sealer).  When you apply these primers DO NOT OVER APPLY!  If you saturate the popcorn texture it may fall.  You may want to test a small area first and let it dry.  This will ensure you have no problems.  You want to apply a very even uniform coat.  Once the primer has dried you can apply the finish paint.  You don’t need expensive paint for this.  Actually the cheaper the better, but make sure the color is what you want.  A good product for this is Super Hide from Benjamin Moore.  You can get this product at Abbott Paint and Carpet located in White Bear Lake.

Your best solution for painting your textured ceiling is to call your 5-star local painting company that has been in your neighborhood for almost 70 years, Lake Area Painting & Decorating.

Check back soon for our last blog post in the series – Removing and repairing damaged ceiling texture.