How To Remove Wallpaper: 4 Step Guide

How To Remove WallpaperRemoving wallpaper can be an intimidating prospect, and with good reason.  Depending on the circumstances, some old wallpaper comes off easily, but that’s not something you’ll discover until the process is well underway.  It’s best to approach the task well prepared for every eventuality.

If the wall behind the wallpaper was primed or painted, it will likely make the removal process much simpler.  If, on the other hand, the paper was applied to unpainted drywall, the task is going to be considerably more involved.

Check The Wall Condition It Was Applied To

Your best bet is to begin by removing a small section of paper and then checking to see if the wall behind has been primed or painted.

If it’s unpainted drywall, you’ll need to proceed carefully so as not to tear the paper backing from the wall.

Gather Your Wallpaper Removal Tools

Prior to beginning the project, you’ll need to obtain some wallpaper stripper. This is a liquid solution that you will spray on the wall.

wallpaper stripping solution

And if you don’t already have these on hand, you will also need to pick up:

Step 1: Start In The Corner

Starting in a corner, pull a piece of wallpaper away from the wall.  It may peel away easily in one piece, or you may be able to remove it in several sections, leaving only a trace of glue residue behind.

If so, you can apply wallpaper removal solution at this point, but you should take care to remove as much of the paper as you can while it is still dry; excess moisture runs the risk of damaging the wall.

Step 2: Apply Removal Solution

Apply the paper removal solution using a squirt bottle or a garden sprayer. Begin by spraying the wall at the top and move in approximately four foot sections.  Saturate the wall with a fine mist, but again, don’t get too carried away.

Step 3: Scrape

Then, using a scraper, scrape away the remnants and glue residue.  Take care not to nick the wet drywall with your scraper.  Continue until you have removed all wallpaper and glue.

For stubborn residue, sand it away with a piece of sandpaper.  This may require several pieces, because glue tends to quickly diminish the sandpaper’s effectiveness.

Step 4: Score (optional)

For particularly difficult pieces and residue, it may be necessary to employ a scoring tool.

Score the wallpaper and then apply more removal solution, allowing it to seep through the paper and loosen the residue beneath.

Use a scoring tool only as a last resort, since it’s very easy to damage the drywall underneath.

Paint

If you plan to paint the wall rather than hanging new paper, you must prime the walls so that the paint will properly adhere to the treated surface.

Final Thoughts

Removing wallpaper can be a challenging undertaking, so take your time and follow these simple steps.  And remember, if in doubt, it’s better to engage the services of a professional rather than to regret the outcome (and potentially extra cost) later.

Load Bearing VS Non-Load Bearing: The Essential Guide to Removing Walls in Your Home

PaintingHome renovations often become small demolition projects, especially when it comes to living spaces and kitchens that have too many walls.  Modern day homes are open spaces.  Pretty typically, only the bedroom and bathroom occupy a separated space from the rest of the house.  Layouts are now more determined by the layout of furniture than by actual wall dividers.

So you have decided to join the buzz and tear down a wall.  Before you do that, make sure you read this! Some walls in a house are absolutely essential they are what helps keep that roof up!

Here are the keys to determining the load bearing versus non load bearing walls in your home:

Floor Joists

These are the horizontal supports that appear under a floor, in a ceiling or on top of the houses foundation. Unfinished basements provide the best visibility for spotting these joists.  Go downstairs and just look up!  Once you have them in your sights, take note of the direction that they are running.  Are they north/south, east/west?  Their direction will help signal where a load bearing wall probably is.  Load bearing walls typically run perpendicular to floor joists.

Beams

While you are in the basement, look around to see if you notice any beams. These are typically made of sturdier materials and run vertically from the foundation upwards.  If the beam is coming out of the wall, that segment of wall is load bearing. The same goes for if you see a beam running across the ceiling on one of the levels of your home.  The walls that that beam is connected to are more likely than not, essential to the integrity of your home.

Upstairs

Does your house have more than one floor? If so take note of the walls and their locations on the first floor, then head upstairs.  On the next level notice which walls have the same placement as the first.  If there are more stories, keep going up and note the walls that continue all the way to the top – these are likely your load bearing walls.

Blueprints

If you have the blueprints to your home: your life is easy. Open up your blueprints and look for the structure section often indicated by the letter “S”.  The framing plan will help you have a more reliable look and your homes interior plan.  Look for beams, and the direction of floor joists.  If the wall you’d like to remove is not connected to a beam, or running perpendicular to the floor joists in its room: then it’s more than likely not a load bearing wall.

Watch This:

Need More Help?

Removing the wrong wall in your home can have disastrous results.  Don’t accidentally demolish your home.

When you are looking to remove a wall, contact a craftsmen to take a look first.  Handyman Matters wants to be your local resource for any home improvement projects or questions.  Give us a call today! 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

How To Repair Drywall AKA How To Fix A Hole In The Wall

There are many reasons you might need to repair drywall (also known as sheetrock).

Do any of these ring a bell?

  • You hung one too many pictures in your hallway
  • You installed a coat rack, put a ton of purses on it, and pulled it straight out of the wall
  • Someone threw open the door, and it dented your drywall
  • Have a crack in your drywall? Read this post.

It’s OK, these things happen.  Don’t worry, Handyman Matters is here to help you fix your brand new hole in the wall. Depending on the size of the hole, you’ll need a few different supplies. We’ll walk you through 3 different scenarios:

If the hole is the size of a nail or screw

 SUPPLIES:Drywall

First:  With the drywall knife, smooth on a glob of spackle or drywall compound.  Let filling dry for about an hour or so.

Then: With a wet sponge or a piece of sandpaper, sand the surface of the patch until it is smooth.

Finally: Prime and then paint the corrected area.

If the hole is 1-2 inches large

SUPPLIES:

Here is what you will need:

  • A Mixing Pan
  • A Drywall Knife
  • Drywall Compound
  • Adhesive Wall Patch
  • Sandpaper/Sanding Sponge
  • Primer and Paint

First: Take your drywall patch, and place it over the hole.

Then: Use your drywall knife to smooth on the premixed drywall (do not sub for spackle, as this hole is too big).

Next:  After waiting an hour or so for the patch to dry, use a damp sponge or a piece of sandpaper to smooth out the patch.

Finally: Prime then paint the area to match the rest of your wall.

If the hole is larger than 2 inches

SUPPLIES:

First: Cut the around the hole with a drywall saw so that the hole is either a square or a rectangle.

Then: Measure the hole and see if it’s next to any studs.

Next:  (If there is a stud ignore this step.)  If there’s no stud, measure and cut two small planks of wood, around one and a half times the size of the hole.  Place the planks on the inside of the wall, perpendicular to the floor and parallel, on either side of the hole. With drywall screws, screw in the top and bottom of plank through the outside of the wall.

After:  Cut out a piece of drywall that is the size of the hole.  Fit it into the hole, and screw this new piece into the backers you have just created.

Finally:  Cover the screws you just made with drywall tape. Then you are ready to finish up. Apply drywall with your knife, let it dry, sand down, and then prime and paint.

Need someone to do it for you? Handyman Matters is here for all your large and small project needs.  To find a Handyman in your neighborhood call 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME, or enter your zip code in the box at the top-right corner of your screen.

Tile Installation Tips

Ceramic tile is easy for even someone who is not a regular do-it-yourselfer to install, whether on the floor, the walls, or a tub surround.  Its popularity stems from the fact that tile is very hard, water-resistant and easy to clean.  It does take a bit of patience and diligence and a fair amount of measuring.  So, keep in mind the traditional credo of carpenters:  Measure twice, cut once.

Here are some other tips for tile installation:

  • There’s a difference between floor and wall tiles.  Wall tiles are thinner and smoother than floor tiles.
  • An installation job will need two types of tile. One is filler tile, which will take up most of the surface, and the other is trim tile which goes around the edges of the room and around the corners.
  • Shower stall walls or a tub surround should be prepared with a cement backboard or a waterproofed drywall before the tiling begins.  Make sure to take out any old material at the point where the tile will touch the top of the tub or the base of the shower.  Leave a quarter-inch space for caulking.
  • Be sure to lay out the job precisely.  Ideally, tiling should start in the center of the wall or in the center of the floor.
  • Must-have tools for a tiling job include a tile cutter, a notched trowel, a notched spreader, a level, a rubber float, nippers, roofing felt and roof cement, a stapler and staples, silicone caulk, soap dishes or other accessories, painter’s tape, mastic, grout and grout float, grout saw, hammer and cold chisel, shims, drop cloths, a rod cutter, a sponge and a glass cutter.  A rented wet saw is optional.   You should use some of the tools to experiment on some old tiles, perhaps the ones taken off the wall to make way for the new ones, before the real job begins.
  • Apply adhesive in sections of small squares until you feel comfortable setting the tile.  Keep the room as well-ventilated while you work, to prevent over-exposure to the fumes of the adhesive.
  • If a tub surround or shower stall has been freshly tiled, neither the tub nor the shower should be used for at least two weeks.  If the tiles have been put on the floor, they shouldn’t be stepped on until the mortar is hardened.  If you decide you need to adjust a floor tile that’s too far to reach, find a sturdy piece of plywood to step on.

And, of course, if any of this just seems too overwhelming to tackle, you can always contact Handyman Matters to have a professional complete the work for you, call 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find the location nearest you!

Improving Walls and Ceilings

Improving walls and ceilings is an excellent way to bring back the life of your home and great for maintaining equity on one of the biggest investments in your life.

Many of the wall upgrades can be handled by an experienced do-it-yourselfer with a bit of know-how and the time to undertake the projects.

If you have dents in the walls or ceilings and/or holes, you will need to have scrapers, plaster, knife, spackle, cloth, sandpaper and paint.  You may also need the patches that come with plastering kits in the event some of the holes require additional attention.

Before you start with the spackling, make sure the area is clear of dust and other debris.  Apply a coat of spackle to the area and wait until it dries.  Then sandpaper the area and dust it again to remove any remaining particles.

If you are peeling off old paint, use a putty knife or paint-scraper to remove as much of the material as possible.  Spackle around the edge of the chipping paint and then sand down the area and dust it thoroughly before applying new paint.

Removing stains will require solvents; some require nothing more than a damp sponge; you can also try dish soap in small quantity.  Tougher stains will obviously require a stronger cleanser.  If mildew has collected, particularly mold spores, this should be cleansed with a bleach solution to prevent it from reappearing right away.

A larger quantity of nail holes or other more significant damage may require re-plastering an entire area.  Obviously, this is a much larger undertaking, not necessarily beyond your ability to do it, but it’s well worth considering if, at this time, you would be better served by engaging the services of a professional remodeler/repairman.

In any event, maintaining the upkeep and look of your walls and ceilings has more than just cosmetic value; it keeps the integrity of your home at its best, as well.

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How To Repair Drywall Cracks In Your Home

Getting rid of drywall cracksLike a squeaky floor or a loose lockset, even the smallest drywall crack or nail pop can be cause for concern for new homeowners or prospective buyers, triggering service callbacks or resulting in lost sales.

Sure, you can try to explain those blemishes away with talk of “normal settling,” which may in fact be true, but folks on the fence about buying a home at all look at those figures and dimples as red flags of poor construction quality and perhaps something more problematic and costly, and not worth the risk.

Drywall cracks and nail pops occur at framing joints, primarily around openings and corners.

What Causes Drywall Cracks?

Causes range from foundation or soil settling to lumber components reacting to seasonal climate changes and misaligned or improperly installed framing members, supports, fasteners or connectors.

Deep-seated reasons, often indicated by diagonal cracks (as opposed to straight along a framing joint) may indicate a failing (or failed) foundation, improperly engineered framing loads or truss uplift.

How To Fix Drywall Cracks

  • Use a utility knife to cut a narrow, V-shaped groove along the length of the crack.
  • Blow out debris and drywall dust to create a clean cavity.
  • If the crack is along a framing member, drill screws on either side of the crack into the solid wood behind it, about 6 inches along the crack, with the heads countersunk.
  • Bridge the entire groove with fiber-mesh joint tape and apply a hot-mud compound with a taping knife on either side of the tape, covering it and leaving a 20-inch “patch.”
  • Feather and sand/texture to match the surrounding finish.

How To Prevent Drywall Cracks

Cosmetic cracks and pops are almost inevitable, but you can go a long way toward reducing or even preventing them by using high-quality, straight-framing lumber that is allowed to acclimate before being installed.

This helps ensure that framing and drywall joints are aligned, tight and properly secured.

DIY Painting Tips For A More Professional Finish

DIY Painting Tips For Your HomeWhen doing home renovations and redecorating, many people choose to do their own painting.  While the services of a professional painting contractor are undoubtedly the best plan, you can save a decent amount of money and complete this portion of the project yourself.

What’s the difference between a professionally painted wall and a DIY job?  Usually consistency of the finish, the edges and the clean up are top quality.  If you can take care of these three areas, your paint job will shine like a pro’s.

Buying the right paint for your area is a good start to a fine job.  You’ll have to choose between flat (often ceiling paint is flat), semi-gloss and gloss.  There are also many kitchen and bath paints with a high resistance to mold and mildew and other specialty paints for textured finishes.

Decide which type suits your area and ask at the store for their recommendation.  Generally high gloss paint is the easiest to wipe clean and flat paint is the least expensive.

Make sure the surface you are painting is clean and ready to receive a new coat of paint.  No oils should be present and the wall surface should be dry.

Use a clean roller and brush.  Be careful to mix the paint well before you start and stir often during the project.  Paint in small sections with a regular pattern of rolling and a consistent amount of paint loaded onto the roller each time.

Many homeowners get impatient when painting; that shows up in the edging.  Take the time to properly tape areas off.  This includes all trim, cabinets, fixtures, floors and ceilings.

Be slow and deliberate with all edging especially where a light color is meeting a dark color.  Buy top quality masking tape to reduce the chance of bleeding and remove the tape as soon as the paint is cured enough on the walls.

When you make mistakes, fix them right away.  Have a wet cloth handy for latex paints and some thinner on hand when using oil based.  Catching these mistakes as you go along will mean less work at the end.

Professional painters know how to leave a jobsite in pristine condition. Why is it that homeowners often don’t do the same for their own rooms?

Use a tarp wherever you need to protect flooring or furniture.  Wipe down all of the areas that have paint splotches or brush marks afterwards.  Remove masking tape and replace any furniture and decor you moved.

It’s a lot of work to clean brushes and rollers, but it’s worth the effort to reduce waste.  Used paint brushes and rollers are great for craft projects or paint jobs that require less of a fine finish.  With latex paint any rags and clothes used can also be washed.

Dispose of empty paint cans properly as they’re usually considered hazardous waste.  Many regional landfills and other businesses that deal with waste removal will take them.

By following in the footsteps of a professional painter you can enjoy a better quality finish in your home.  DIY painting is a fun project to do alone or with friends, and most rooms require only basic tools.  Enjoy this easy and inexpensive home improvement even more with a finished look that’s professional.