About Wallpaper Removal:
Wallpaper has been manufactured
and installed for several generations. Usually consumers repapered over existing
wallpaper. Pulp wallpapers of the time easily adhered to each other. Removal
products did not exist in the early days. When called for, consumers removed
wallpaper with "home recipes". The most common recipe was vinegar and hot water.
This method worked because the pulp content of the wallpaper readily absorbed
fluids. The acid in the vinegar would attack the wallpaper paste (usually starch
Wallpaper boomed onto the
decorating scene after World War II. Many manufacturers entered the market place
and by so doing created new types of wallpapes. Wallpaper was not made just from
pulp paper anymore. The outer surface (the part seen by the consumer) now had
several types of looks; grass cloth, string, fabric, vinyl, etc.. . The new
wallpapers required a "backing" paper. The backing paper was laminated to the
outer surface to give the wallpaper strength. New stronger adhesives became a
necessity to adhere the wallpaper to the wall.
Wallpaper use grew in the 1960's
as a decorating material. Manufacturers jumped at the market demand. Competition
created more paper types and adhesive variations. Bold colors and patterns were
the rage. Foil and flocked wallpapers appeared.
The demand for wallpaper peaked in
the 1970's. Manufacturers responded by introducing new products; viyl, and
prepasted wallpaper. Vinyl, an oil based product, is cheap and easy to print.
Typical vinyl wallpapers consisted of an outer layer of vinyl laminated to a
paper substrate (often called "backing"). Vinyl coated wallpaper is a
paper substrate onto which the decorative surface has been sprayed. Most vinyl
coated's are manufactured as prepasted ( a thin layer of glue applied to the
back and cured); the intent was for the consumer to reactivate the glue with
water at home. Someone coined the phrase "strippable" which is still used today.
Strippable was supposed to mean easy removal. It really meant that the vinyl
outer layer would peel away from the backing. The consumer was to install new
wallpaper over the old backing. This started the consumer's and professional
paperhanger's mistrust of manufacturers. Nobody thought about the consumer's
past experience with wallpaper and human nature. Trained for years to paste
wallpaper, consumers now added paste to the back of the prepasted wallpaper
figuring that "a little bit of glue is good therefore a whole lot of glue is
Solid vinyl wallpaper (commonly
called "commercial vinyl") was introduced in the 1970's. It is isolid sheet
vinyl designed to be used extensively for commercial buildings to save the cost
of paint maintenance in high traffic areas such as corridors and hotel rooms.
Commercial vinyl is thicker when compared to common wallpaper, has no backing,
and and is applied directly to the wall. Since commercial vinyl was developed
for high traffic areas abused by people, adhesive manufacturers reacted by
developing more powerful adhesives.
Seeking more uses for wallpaper
manufacturers promoted borders in the 1980's. Borders are manufactured prepasted.
Wallpaper adhesive manufacturer's jumped at the chance for a share of the
consumer dollar by creating "border adhesive". Most border adhesive is polymer
based. This resulted in consumers pasting a product that does not need paste and
creating a problem.
The construction boom of the post
World War II years led to the development of gypsum wallboard (commonly called:
Drywall). Drywall is gypsum sandwiched between two layers of pulp paper and is
the common wall material today. Drywall is supposed to be sealed after new
installation.The 1970's saw the advert of texture. Texture was developed for a
new look and to speed construction. Texture usually is machine applied and is
supposed to be sealed.
Construction boom times often
bring poor craftsmanship. With demand so high for labor and speed, less than
reputable individuals began using short cuts. Wallpaper was painted over,
installed on unprimed surfaces with multiple adhesives, and multi-layered to
name just a few. Removal under these conditions became a nightmare, starting the
decline of wallpaper use. Wallpaper manufacturers became strict about which
adhesive must be used on which primer on which wall finish. Don't believe me?
Read the label on a roll of paper. Why did the manufacturers become so
strict? To stop the decline of wallpaper use and to protect their liability.
Close behind the wallpaper
manufacturers came the adhesive manufacturers seeing the opportunity to sell
gallons of adhesive. Not surprisingly wallpaper adhesive manufacturers make
their own removal products. However it is important to note that their removal
products are formulated to remove their adhesive, not a real world condition. In
the real world typical wallpaper installations are done by consumers or
professional paperhangers. Some consumers do not follow instructions. Consumers
try any combination of adhesives or follow poor service. Many professional
paperhangers (thought they are shy to admit it) mix adhesives to create a recipe
that works for them. Rarely are adhesives used per manufacturer's
In 1990, Safe and Simple entered the industry as a wallpaper removal service. We have removed over one
million rolls of wallpaper of all types in every situation. We tested the
removed wallpaper and developed products we could rely upon daily. We look at
each roll of removed wallpaper as a learning experience .... we have to.