Removing Tough Wallpaper
When old paper resists new strippers
I recently bought a 1924 cottage and am in the process of stripping wallpaper and repairing plaster-and-lathe walls. On some walls there is a layer of brown paper beneath the paper or paint that overlaps about 3/8 inch every 18 inches. I am struggling to remove it. Ordinary wallpaper stripper is not working well and I'm wondering if you can tell me exactly what I'm dealing with. Was there some sort of process used back then to paper over plaster with plain paper and then to paint over that for a smooth look? Help!
— Miki, Everett, Washington
Steve Thomas replies : I don't know of such a process. My approach would be to scrape the paper off with a single-edge razor blade mounted in a scraper handle, see what I was faced with, and take it from there. If wallpaper has been painted it will not readily absorb the liquid stripper that loosens the paste. Sometimes the only alternative is to scrape it off manually.