How to remove painted grass-cloth wallpaper?

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Old 02-26-13, 01:57 PM
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How to remove painted grass-cloth wallpaper?

Yes, it is going to be a difficult task, I know :-( I'm thinking to strip the paint first, to make water penetrate into the wallpaper, then let the wallpaper soak, say, in hot water. The wallpaper is on the sheetrock. Do you think paint strippers like "Citristrip 1 qt. Safer Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel" from Home depot work fine and won't damage drywall? Any experience? Or better solutions?
 
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Old 02-26-13, 03:00 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I think a stripper would be more trouble than it's worth. Grass cloth is some of the easiest paper to remove although I don't think I've ever removed any that was painted. I'd take a utility knife and cut into the grass cloth -[be careful not to cut too deep] and see if that will allow you to get a putty knife under the cloth and pull it loose.

Worse case scenario, cut all along the cloth and then apply water. The cuts will allow some of the water to get to the adhesive. The sell a 'wheel' that has blades set at a predetermined depth that makes it a lot easier but I don't know if the wheel will cut deep enough into painted grass cloth.
 
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Old 02-26-13, 03:03 PM
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I had to remove only one panel of grass-cloth in my home to change out the plumbing rough-in for the master bath shower. It was not painted and I replaced the panel with some left-overs when I was done with my plumbing. That one section of bare grass-cloth literally took me over an hour to take down without damaging the wall. Can't imagine removing a whole room that has been painted!!!!

I would seriously think of alternatives such as covering the walls with 1/4" of new drywall. You will have to get creative around the doors and windows when you re-trim. I would not hesitate to take this route if the wife insisted the grass-cloth had to go. Other ideas are to add some crown and chair rail moldings or other decorative elements to take your eyes away from the cloth.
 
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Old 02-26-13, 03:18 PM
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czizzi - did you get the grass cloth wet before you tried to remove it? I've never had any issues removing grass cloth..... unlike vinyl paper that can be a bear to remove if the wall wasn't prepped right first. Was the wall painted under the grass cloth? or was it bare drywall?
 
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Old 02-26-13, 03:31 PM
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The rest of the house was appropriately sized and changing/removing wallpaper was a breeze. I'm a contractor so these things are not new to me. As this was my own house, I tried everything and nothing softened the glue. It did however, ease my decision to never attempt to change out the room. Therefore, I am gleefully waiting for grass-cloth to come back in style
 
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Old 02-26-13, 03:37 PM
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I wonder why our experiences with stripping grass cloth is so different

Grass cloth has been out of style for quite some time - maybe it's due to reemerge
 
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Old 02-26-13, 09:26 PM
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Thanks for you suggestions. I've just tried to cut into the wallpaper and then apply cloth with hot water for an hour, but it looks like that water didn't penetrate well. Just within half of inch around the cut. Is it usual or I did something wrong? By the way, what is wrong with striper? Is there any difference between liquid and gel striper? Neither of them helps, you think? I just hope to get more area for hot water to penetrate through, not just along the cut...
 
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Old 02-27-13, 05:35 AM
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You need to make multiple cuts [I probably didn't explain that well ] The more the paper is cut, the more chances the water has to get to the adhesive.

I'm not saying a paint stripper won't work, just that I believe it will be more trouble than it's worth. You'd have to really protect the floors!! I only use strippers on rare occasion and don't know a lot about the various types. When I need a stripper I usually ask the paint rep at the store which one will be best for the job at hand.
 
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Old 02-27-13, 05:52 AM
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I fear a can of worms has been opened. Your test has proved that the cloth is sealed and there will be no penetration of water to soften the paste. Horizontal cuts may make gravity work in your favor, but I foresee an awful lot of cutting. Lots of cuts means lots of repair to the drywall beneath.

Be careful with strippers, I have used adhesive strippers that actually burn you if you get them in contact with your skin. Its a chemical burn and it is a delayed burn by a couple of seconds. You think you have time to wipe it off your skin, but usually I always seem to spread it around in the process and make it worse. Liquid strippers are like water, they will run all over the place. Gel strippers can be applied with a brush and you will have more control over the application.
 
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Old 02-27-13, 06:03 AM
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I Agree (again) With Marksr

Should be a piece of cake. Carefully, attempt to peel it off DRY, first. Always try this, paying particular attention to what is happening where the paste meets the wallboard. If you notice that the surface of the wallboard is peeling with the grass cloth, STOP. Wet a five foot width section of the grass cloth thoroughly from top to bottom, in that order. A clean inexpensive pump garden sprayer works best. The paper backing of the grass cloth will absorb the removal solution. The strings that are used to hold the grass together will usually help to keep the grass cloth together as you work to remove it in sheets from the top, down. Work slowly and use a 3"-4" wall scraper (the kind that has a replaceable blade in the head and is very sharp (be careful no to cut yourself or use the wrong angle where the blade meets the wall or you'll gouge the wall). If you don't want to spend the money for a scraper, you will at least need a Broad Knife as a removal tool. If you use a garden sprayer, you could mix a quart of any consumer quality removal solution mixed into the water. Sometimes you can get away with a little bit of dish liquid soap..not too much...don't make it "sudsy". Add removal solution or dish liquid soap AFTER you fill the sprayer 70% full. Cover your floor immediately below the sprayed wall with old towels, then some thicker sheet plastic or plastic trash bags that have been cut open completely and then layed out. This will minimize the mess. Clean up the fallen (removed) grass cloth, often, and stick it in a good trash bag as you go, minimizing the mess-so you don't track it everywhere you go. Work on a 5-6 foot width at a time, praying the grass cloth ahead of you in advance to allow for sufficient soaking time. Remember that it is time consuming. Just exercise patience. You can do it.
 

Last edited by papernpaste; 02-27-13 at 06:10 AM. Reason: incomplete directions
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Old 02-27-13, 06:06 AM
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Work on a 5-6 foot width at a time, praying the grass cloth ahead of you in advance to allow for sufficient soaking time
I'm sure he meant spraying the grass cloth ahead. That pesky s didn't want to type
 
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