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How to Remodel Bathroom Walls:

Removing and Replacing Wallpaper, Sizing Walls, Preparing for Painting, and Installing Bathroom Fixtures

© 2008 by All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile

Stripping wallpaper from a bathroom wall

This article explains how to renovate bathroom walls; removing and replacing wallpaper, sizing the walls, preparing drywall for painting, and removing and installing bathroom fixtures.

Why Remodel Your Bathroom Walls?

Realtors are quick to point out that the two key rooms in your home as far as home equity is concerned are your kitchen and your bathroom. With that in mind, these areas are important to keep up to date, especially if you’re considering selling your home anytime soon.

Your bathroom takes a lot of wear and tear and decorating trends change; at some point a remodel will be called for. This article will prepare you for tackling the wall part of your DIY project, specifically preparing for wallpaper or paint. If you’re leaning towards ceramic tile, head over to here to learn how to install tile on bathroom walls.

Remove Your Wallpaper if You’ve Got it

Stripping Wallpaper Bathroom walls have either wallpaper, tile, or paint. Whichever you have, the first task you want to take on is to take off all your bathroom wall accessories. This includes items like towel racks, toilet paper dispensers, etc. Mirrors can usually remain.

If you have painted walls, simply caulk the holes and fix any damage on the drywall and you’ll be ready to repaint. If you are planning to hang wallpaper you’ll need to sand off any texture.

If you currently have wallpaper, start by wiping down your walls with a sponge and a bucket of warm water. The purpose of this is to loosen the glue. If the walls were sized (painted with a compound like primer to keep the glue to soak into the drywall) when the paper was hung, this should be an easy process. If not, you might have to use a wallpaper steamer and the job will get nasty.

Skim Your Walls with Drywall Compound

Drywall Taping and Floating Tools The object here is to achieve a smooth surface to work with. This is done by skimming your wall surface with drywall compound, or “mud”. Use a wide floating knife for the big areas and a narrow taping knife for the tight spots. Perhaps even something so narrow as a putty knife. This is common when you remodel a bathroom because of so many narrow surfaces.

Next, sand your walls lightly after the mud has dried. You might need to repeat the skim step to get a satisfactory finish. Don’t rush this part of the job. Of course, if you are planning to texture and paint, it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. It’s your call.

Apply a Wall Texture or Wallpaper Sizing

When you’re satisfied, you can focus on paint, wallpaper, or a combination in different areas of the bathroom. If you decide to paint, it’s always a good idea to texture your wall surface. Otherwise, any and all imperfections will raise their ugly heads.

The glossier the paint you use, the more obvious these imperfections will be and you will be looking at them every day.

There are many simple texturing techniques. Or for a really unique look, check out this homemade knockdown texturing tool that I made.Knockdown Texture Tool

The next step is to apply a high quality latex primer to prepare your walls for the paint. I like both Zinsser Primer and Kilz Latex Primer.

Be certain to use painter’s tape on the areas where you are cutting in like window frames, baseboards, pedestal sinks, etc. When the primer has dried, apply a high quality paint. I’ve had good results with Glidden and Behr.

It’s key to use the proper type of paint. A satin, eggshell, or gloss paint works well in bathrooms. They are easier to clean, but more important for a humid environment, they are not porous like a flat sheen.

If you have settled on hanging wallpaper, be sure to size the walls as your first step; just roll it on with a roller. If you removed the old paper, you know how important this is. Next, hang the wallpaper.

Finally, Reinstall Your Bathroom Fixtures

In almost all cases, you will be fortunate to find even a single stud to screw into. Invest a few bucks in an electronic stud finder for locating them. When you can’t find studs right where you need them, no problem; use spring-wing toggle bolts or E-Z Anchors.

Many people use those little plastic wedges with screws that seem to come packaged with everything. The only one I trust is the E-Z Anchor. It works because it screws into the drywall with wide threads so it grabs securely.

That’s all there is to it. Not rocket science, just patience and attention to detail! Got some tips to share? Use the comment box below.

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