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Dated Den Do-Over

By: Danny Lipford
Den with brick fireplace and stained wood cabinets.

Dated den in Mark and Sharon Scott’s home before renovating.

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Mark and Sharon Scott love their home, but the den hadn’t been updated since the house was built in 1985. The grass cloth wallpaper and wood paneling were still in good condition, but they looked dated and made the room dark and uninviting.

To remedy the situation, we removed the grass cloth and painted the walls and paneling to give the room a bright, airy appearance.

Grass Cloth Wallpaper Removal

Removing wallpaper from wall.

Removing grass cloth wallpaper.

To remove the grass cloth wallpaper, we started by using a wallpaper scoring tool to punch tiny holes in the grass cloth. Next, we mixed up wallpaper stripper, using the formula below.

Wallpaper Remover Formula:

  • 3 gallons hot water
  • A 22 oz. bottle of wallpaper stripper
  • 1/4 cup fabric softener
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

A pump up sprayer and paint roller were used to saturate the walls with the stripper mixture. The wet wallpaper was then covered with a layer of thin plastic sheeting to keep the remover from drying out.

After the walls had soaked for several hours, the plastic was removed and the grass cloth wallpaper peeled off.

When all the wallpaper has been removed, drywall joint compound was used to patch any dings and dents in the walls.

Watch How to Strip Wallpaper and How to Repair Drywall to find out more.

Painting and other work in room with drop cloths covering floor.

Hard at work on the den renovation.

Painting Wood Paneling

The wainscoting paneling was sanded lightly to dull the gloss finish. Next, the grooves in the paneling were filled with drywall joint compound, allowed to dry, then sanded smooth.

Finally, the paneling was primed with an oil-based primer, and then topcoated with two coats of latex wall paint.

Read our article on How to Paint Wall Paneling to find out more.

Textured Ceiling Repair and Painting

Before painting the textured ceiling, a spray can of stain blocking ceiling paint was used to cover any water stains. Watch How to Cover Water Stains on a Ceiling to find out more.

To keep texture from flaking off, roll the ceiling as little as possible when painting.

Once the ceiling had dried, the masking tape was peeled off, and a putty knife covered with cloth was used to scrape any paint off the crown molding.

Woman painting wall with roller.

Homeowner Sharon Scott rolling a wall in her den.

Painting Walls

After the walls had been primed, a bright light was used to find any remaining imperfections in the drywall. The defects were filled with joint compound, allowed to dry, and sanded before the walls were painted.

The wood paneling below the chair rail was painted a darker shade of gray (HGTV HOME by Sherwin Williams, Into The Gloaming, HGSW2455) than the walls above the chair rail (Sherwin Williams, Natural Choice, SW7011).

A 3/4″ nap roller was used on the paneling to provide better coverage and more texture.

Watch our videos on How to Paint Paneling and How to Paint Walls to find out more.

Window Glass Replacement

Man removing fogged window glass.

Removing fogged window.

The airtight seal between the two panes of glass on the insulated windows in the den had failed over time, allowing moisture in and causing the panes to become discolored and foggy.

To fix the problem, a glass company measured the windows and ordered new insulated glass panels to fit the existing window frames.

The old glass panels were then removed, and the new glass installed.

Watch How to Replace Insulated Glass Windows to find out more.

Den with brick fireplace, stained wood cabinets, and painted walls.

Remodeled den after wallpaper removal and painting.

Other Tips from This Episode

Screwing downspout to ceiling joist with cordless drill.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Downspout Overhead Storage Rack

To store molding, wood strips, and pipe overhead in your shop or garage, cut two short pieces of vinyl downspout, and attach them to the ceiling joists using 1” screws. Drill holes in the downspout to provide access for the screwdriver bit. (Watch Video)

Hart Quick-Tatch Combo Kit

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Hart Quick-Tatch Combo Kit

The Hart Quick-Tatch Combo Kit includes four different sized stainless steel notched trowels, a rubber float, and an interchangeable soft grip handle all in a handy carrying case. The Hart Quick-Tatch Combo Kit is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Driving screw in plywood subfloor with cordless drill.

Ask Danny Lipford:
Fixing Carpet Floor Squeaks

To stop squeaks under a carpeted floor, carefully pull back the carpeting and find the location of the floor joists by the nails in the plywood subfloor. Drive 2” to 3” long screws through the subfloor and into the floor joists as needed to stop the squeaks. (Watch Video)

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Dated Den Do-Over