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Do it yourself.

HERE ARE TIPS for completing do-it-yourself projects.

Q. How do you remove wallpaper from drywall that was not primed without damaging the drywall?

A. It's unlikely you will be able to strip the wallpaper without some damage to the drywall, but damage can be minimized by using a wallpaper scoring tool, such as the Paper Tiger, from a home center or wallpaper-supply store. Also, buy chemical remover such as DIF and a wallpaper scraper (gel-type DIF clings to the wall better than liquids and is often more effective).

With the scoring tool, carefully make tiny perforations in the wallpaper. Work on one section at a time, starting in the least conspicuous area. This will give you a chance to improve your technique. When some of the paper is scored, apply the remover with a sprayer or roller. The perforations allow the remover to penetrate to the paste and soften it so the paper can be stripped off, leaving minimal damage to the underlying surface. Follow directions on the remover container.

Nicks, gouges and other drywall damage will be done to the paper's facing after each section is finished. Remove traces of paste by applying more DIF and scraping off the paste residue. Finally, use a damp sponge to clean the drywall and let it dry thoroughly. To restore the drywall, apply a coat of sealer such as Gardz, followed by a skim coat of drywall joint compound and another coat of Gardz. Visit, click on Do It Yourself, then on Projects and then on Wallcovering Projects.


Another tip: Whenever papering new drywall, apply a coat of sealer or sizing first. It will facilitate easier removal.

Q. How can we seal plastic-laminate countertops to help prevent staining?

A. Advise residents to always use cutting boards when preparing food on the counter. But knowing that they don't always listen, it's best to wax the counter with a thin coat of high-quality furniture or automotive wax. Sealer polish Gel-Gloss is one product that leaves a thin coat of tough carnauba wax that will resist stains.

Q. How do you flatten a wall-to-wall carpet that has wrinkled and has humps after three years of use?

A. Wall-to-wall carpet is generally fastened at the perimeter of the room with so called tackless strips. These are metal strips, attached to the floor, that have prongs facing up to snag the edges of the carpet. To refasten or stretch the carpet, you need a tool called a knee kicker, which costs approximately $25. Working from your hands and knees, use the tool to snag the top surface of the carpet and then give it a sharp rap with one knee, which stretches a section of carpet. It takes a lot of whacks and some expertise to properly stretch a carpet. With patience and a strong knee, a creditable job can be performed. You likely will have better luck finding the tool online. Perform a keyword search for "carpet knee kicker."

Questions should be e-mailed to Gene Austin at
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Title Annotation:Maintenance Insider: Wallpaper and Carpeting
Date:May 1, 2009
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