Furry wall needs a trimming

Stripping grass cloth covering may require wallpaper steamer

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Q: We built a new home in 1984 and hung grass cloth on one wall. The wallboard was not textured, but the remaining walls in the area were. I would like to remove the grass cloth and either wallpaper or paint the wall. Can I paper or paint over it? A: Let's see, grass cloth wall covering – was that before or after shag carpets and harvest gold appliances? Whether you paint or paper, you're going to have to cut the grass. If you're lucky, the grass cloth will come off in nice big strips. Try thoroughly wetting the wall first with a mixture of fabric softener and warm water. If that doesn't work, you will have to rent a wallpaper steamer. Be forewarned, it is a hot, wet and messy job. But it should be tolerable on a cold winter's day. Protect your floor (wood or carpet) with a drop cloth. Remove any glue residue. With time and patience, you will be left with a nice, smooth, unfinished wall – a fresh canvas. If you decide to repaper, start with an acrylic wall-covering ...