“I've just moved house and I'm looking to remove the existing wallpaper. I've always found it very hard to remove myself – do you have any tips?”
Moving house is always an exciting time and it’s only natural to want to redecorate and have the place feeling ‘your own’ as soon as possible.
Removing wallpaper is a tedious job - but with a few handy tips, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. The key is all in the preparation – taking a little time to prepare properly will give you a better chance of success.
So, firstly put a dustsheet down to cover the floor (if you’re keeping the flooring, that is) and cover the existing skirting boards with tape and plastic sheets, as these may get wet. Have some old towels or rags handy to soak up any excess water that may drip down the wall too.
Begin by pulling off the top layer of wallpaper, so you only have the backing on the wall left to remove. The best way to get the top layer off is to start with a corner and get your scraper under it to lift it.
Then you should be able to gently pull down across the sheet to get off the rest.
Once you only have backing paper left on the wall, mix a capful of fabric softener with warm water in a bucket and then, using a sponge, wash it over the backing paper.
Allow the water to then soak in, which will help loosen the glue that is holding the paper up. Work in small patches of wall so the paper doesn’t dry out, and when the backing softens, use your scraper to prise the paper off the wall. Rub firmly but don’t jab the scraper into the wall as this may damage the wall’s surface in the long run.
Be sure to get every bit of old paste off the wall as well, to give you a clean surface to re-paper or paint over.
Electric steamers are an option but they can be expensive. The water and scraper method is cheap and just involves a bit of elbow grease!
You can read more by Nadine Hill at jugglemum.co.uk.
“My mantelpiece and fireplace surround is looking very tired and I would like to re-paint it. Is there a special heat-resistant paint that I need to use?”
Giving a coat of paint to a fireplace is an excellent way to give it new life. If it’s the wooden mantelpiece and surround that is going to be re-painted, there is no need to buy a special paint as they’re generally not affected by the heat of the fire. The mantelpiece and surround can just be sanded down, primed and then repainted.
If you have a brick fireplace that could do with a little revamp, firstly clean down the bricks with a wire brush and hoover. After that, paint the bricks with a water-based primer and then paint to finish.
However, if you are intending to paint anywhere that the flames will touch or that will get hot (like the grate, for example), a high heat-resistant paint will be needed. You can easily find high heat-resistant paints online and in hardware stores.
You can read more by Carole King at deardesigner.co.uk/.