SHIPLAP! I knew I wanted shiplap as a decor element in the house somewhere after I binged watched “Fixer Upper.” (I mean who hasn’t!) I immediately fell in love with Joanna Gaines and her decor style. And at first sight of our stairs I knew I wanted to remove the wood paneling and lighten it up in anyway possible. When we removed the first wood panel we revealed wallpaper underneath and in my mind I figured would be a piece of cake to remove like the dining room wallpaper.
My hope was that the original shiplap from 1905 would be beneath the wallpaper. I had this thought because when my parents had gutted their turn of the century house 10 years ago it had shiplap that was the wall structure. It was the way they built homes back in the day! I ended up being right about this; however I turned out to be wrong about how easy the wallpaper was to remove and it ended taking me three times as long!
(This post contains affiliate links)
Below is after the wood paneling was removed. The paneling was nailed in with penny nails so it was easy to remove in big sheets by just pulling at it with pry bar.
REVEALING THE SHIPLAP
I originally thought this wallpaper would be so easy to remove but I turned out being very wrong! The wallpaper was very old and not made like wallpaper you find today. It had a shiny finish with a thick paper backing and had mesh like seams. With my sister-in-laws helping me we scraped and peeled what we could but we weren’t making much progress as you can see below.
At this point I realized we needed to do more than just scrape with putty knives. I was also concerned about using any type of chemical or solvent to remove the wallpaper and possibly risk ruining or staining the wood. So I ended up doing an experiment using just water and a spray bottle.
Spraying on the water and then scraping ended up working great but it became very time consuming and this project ended up turning into my own personal Mt. Everest! There were nights I didn’t even want to look at the stairs! I think in total it took over 3 weeks of off and on work to remove all the wallpaper! I am so thankful for my hubby’s sister’s who came to help. I would not have been able to get it all done without them!
We had to get the paper backer very wet in order for it to be scraped off the wood, so I would saturate the wallpaper and let it sit 10 minutes or so and then go back and scrape.
Below is the progress:
The hardest part was reaching near the ceiling. We had to use an extension ladder and a multi position ladder and my hubby had to help with reaching to those spots I couldn’t. You will see in some of the pictures that we put drywall on the ceiling as it had previously had ceiling tiles that had a very black glue residue that I didn’t even want to try to remove.
FINDINGS OF THE PAST
One cool part about removing the wallpaper was the paint marks we found of where the old staircase use to be.
If you are tackling a similar project make sure you have:
- Plastic drop cloths to tape to the doorways so the dust doesn’t go into the other rooms
- respirator mask
- ear plugs: I needed to use these as the sander was way too loud for such a small space
My sanding selfie!
Here are the walls before sanding:
In order to prep the walls for paint I took our shop vac with the brush attachment and vacuumed the walls. I also wiped them down with a wet cloth in order to try to get all the dust off.
We first primed the walls with Rust-Oleum Primer and then I chose Behr’s Whisper White for the paint. We only ended up applying one coat of paint. We were in a bit of a time crunch for the painting of the stairwell because the carpet was being installed the next day! We worked into the night with the help of my sister-in-law’s and the hubby who so graciously helped paint even though it is the thing he dislikes doing the most!
This first picture is of him dancing doing the “rototiller” LOL! I’ll pretend I don’t know him!
After the beautiful carpet was installed!!!
I hope that Joanna Gaines would be proud! Doesn’t it look so much better! So bright and inviting! I love the rustic look of the shiplap with the knots in the wood that show through. I also love that the wood isn’t perfect, that’s what tells the story!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites