Spending a couple of days or more preparing the interior walls of your home can be a little tedious, but it is time well spent and can make a great deal of difference to your wallpaper or paint finish.
Once you have covered any furnishings and carpet with your dustsheet, start by removing all the old wallpaper.
I recommend using a wallpaper steam stripper, and if like me you have little patience for what I consider to be the worst decorating job there is, then they can be purchased for around £20 – £30 for a DIY model or you can hire a more professional version for around £20 for a weekend or £31 for the week.
Either way, I always use one.
If your budget won’t allow for a steam stripper then the alternative is to scratch the wallpaper with a knife (not too deep, you don’t want to damage the walls) and wet it down with warm water.
Wait a short while and then scrape it off using a wallpaper scraper.
With the steam stripper let it reach temperature then start at the top of the wall, the steam soon penetrates the wallpaper and it can be removed quite easily again using your wallpaper scraper.
Check the water level in the steam stripper tank regularly to ensure it doesn’t run dry.
Safety tips :- Keep a watchful eye on any water that may run down the walls onto power sockets and light switches. Have a dry towel or cloth handy just in case. Steam wallpaper strippers obviously release hot steam and water so take precautions against burns such as wearing gloves and keeping children and pets away from the work area. Check your stepladders are in good condition and take care not to step on any stripped wallpaper that may be on the treads or at the bottom of the steps as the old adhesive on wet wallpaper can be very slippery.
When all the wallpaper has been removed you can start to fill any holes or cracks in the walls using a flexible filler that won’t crack. The filler can be left a little proud of the wall surface and sanded down flush when dry.
Fill any gaps along the skirting boards and architrave too as these will show up as black lines when the decorating is completed.
Run your hand over the wall surface and remove any remnants of wallpaper or small bits of plaster and dirt using your wallpaper scraper and fine sandpaper. Even the smallest pieces of debris will show through the wallpaper and spoil the finish.
You should always paint woodwork and the ceiling prior to hanging your wallpaper, when you do this paint about 1/2″ – 1″ (12 – 25mm) of the wall above the skirting boards, around any architraves, window ledges and just below all the ceilings outer edge in the appropriate colours. This is done to hide any discrepancies that may happen when you trim the wallpaper to length or make cuts around doors etc.
It’s worth spending a lot of time on this part of the job as excellent preparation makes a massive difference to the final result.
Tools required for preparing interior walls for decorating
- Knife and warm water or steam wallpaper stripper
- Dry towel or cloth
- Wallpaper scraper
- Filler knife
- Fine sandpaper
- Dust sheet