Removing Old Finishes

If the wall or ceiling to be given a new covering is painted or wallpapered, preparing the surface for its new finish is quite straightforward. However, if it was previously covered with materials such as texture paint, ceramic or polystyrene (plastic foam) riles or wall panelling, more work will he needed to remove the old finishes and return the surface to its original condition.

Textured finishes are tackled indifferent ways, depending on their type. Texture paints arc basically thick water-based (latex) paints, normally used to create relatively low-relief effects, and can be removed with specially formulated paint removers. Some textured effects formed with a powder or ready-mixed compound are best removed with a steam wallpaper stripper, which softens the compound so that it can he easily scraped away from the wall.

Never attempt to sand off a textured finish. There are two reasons. The first is that it will create huge quantities of very fine dust; the second is that older versions of this product contained asbestos fibres as a filler, and any action that might release these into the atmosphere as inhalable dust must be avoided at all costs.

For tiles and wall panelling, complete removal or a cover-up with plasterboard (gypsum board) are the two options available. The former will leave a surface in need of considerable renovation, while the latter will cause a slight loss of space within the room, as well as some complications at door and window openings.

Removing Textured Finishes

1. Strip texture paint by brushing on a generous coat of proprietary texture paint remover. When the paint has softened, scrape generous coat of a proprietary texture off with a broad-bladed scraper. Wear paint remover. Stipple it well into the paint and leave it to penetrate.

2. When the paint has softened, scrape it off with a broad bladed scraper. Wear gloves, and also safety goggles if working on a ceiling.

3. Once the bulk of the coating has been removed, use wire wool dipped in the paint remover to strip off any remaining fleck of paints

4. Remove powder-based or ready-mixed types using a steam stripper, which will soften the finish. Never try to sand off this type of finish.

Removing Ceramic Tiles

1. On a completely riled wall, use a hammer to crack a tile and create a starring point for the stripping. On partly tiled walls, always start at the tile edge.

2. Use a broad bolster (stonecutter’s)chisel and a club(Tailing) hammer to chip the old riles off the wall. Have the wall replastered afterwards rather than trying to patch the surface.

Removing Polysterene (Plastic Foam) Tiles

1. Lever the tiles away front the ceiling with a scraper. If they were fixed with a continuous coat of adhesive, consider temporarily covering the tiles with heavy lining paper. Fur the best finish, fit a new plasterboard(gypsum board)ceiling, nailing through to the ceiling joists.

2. If the tiles were fixed in place with blobs of adhesive, use a heat gun to soften the old adhesive so it can be removed with abroad-bladed scraper.

Removing Wall Paneling

1. The last board to be fixed will have been nailed to the fixing grounds through its face. Use a nail punch to drive the nails in and free the board.

2. The other boards will have been secret-nailed through their tongues. Use a crowbar (wrecking bar) to prise them away from their grounds.

3. Finally, prise the grounds off the wall, and use a claw hammer or crowbar with some protective packing to lever the fixing nails out of the wall