Wallpaper that is more than a few years old can be a nightmare if you want to re-do your home or if you need to upgrade its look so it can be sold. Keeping the old wallpaper in place can date your home making it look old and out of style. There are several ways you can handle this sticky situation. It will depend on how much time you want to invest in the process and how creative you can be.
If you have the determination and the time, you may be able to get the adhesive to give way so the wallpaper can be removed. You will need to use a strong adhesive remover and a good scraping tool to get rid of all the old residue and it will more than likely take you several hours, maybe even a few days. If the wallpaper is stuck to drywall, you will have to be extremely careful not to gouge the surface. Removing it is probably the best option if you have multiple layers piled on top of one another.
Prep and Paint
If you don't want to remove the wallpaper and it's still firmly attached, you may be able to paint over it. Go over each seam and make sure there are no loose edges or tears. If you have to glue any of the seams down, make sure to wait until the glue has thoroughly dried before starting to paint. Apply two or three coats to make sure any pattern or color from the wallpaper is completely covered. In most cases, painting over one or two thin layers of wallpaper works quite well. If there are more than just a couple of layers, you may want to explore other options.
Beadboard is also an alternative that gives you multiple options. You can choose to cover a portion of the wall or the entire area. Beadboard works great when used to cover the lower portion of the wall. Top with decorative molding and you have beautiful wainscoting around the base of the room. Beadboard comes in sheets like sheetrock or paneling so it's much easier to cut and affix to the wall compared to older types that were attached board by board. Beadboard is extremely versatile and can give your room an entirely new look, especially if you choose to cover the entire wall. If you choose to cover only half, you can create stark contrast by painting the wall a light color and the beadboard a dark, rich brown or natural color.
Paper Over Paper
You can always choose to put wallpaper over wallpaper. Before you start, you will have to prep the walls by removing any torn pieces and gluing down any stray or loose edges. Let the glue set until it is completely dry before attempting to put your new wallpaper up. If you try to apply it too soon, the glue may not dry completely leaving you with bubbled up areas and even stains from the excess moisture. While it's not the best idea to put another layer of wallpaper on a growing stack, it's passable if there are only one or two layers to deal with.
Removing old wallpaper can be an extreme pain in the rear. If you don't have the time or the inclination to waste hours, or sometimes days, look into the other options that are available. There are a few that will take just a few hours to accomplish and will dramatically improve the look of your home, as well as making it look more modern and up-to-date. Of course if you don't have the time to remove the wallpaper and paint, you can always contact us for a free estimate.