How To Remove Wallpaper

Removing wallpaper doesn’t have to be a tedious and dreadful project. Yes it will take a little time and some elbow grease but if you follow these steps you will end up with the wallpaper and glue completely removed and then you can move on to painting your walls or hanging new wallpaper. First you will have to figure out which type of wallpaper you have. Basically there are two types. Most of the newer wallpapers are strippable while the older wallpapers will require more labor. I will show you how to remove both types.

Strippable Wallpaper.

Tools Needed: Hot water with detergent mixed in, a sponge, rubber gloves and a painters spatula.

To determine if your wallpaper is strippable simple start in a corner and see if it will peel. Use your spatula to loosen stubborn areas and soften the glue using your sponge and detergent solution. Once all wallpaper is removed scrub the wall completely making sure all glue is removed. A gallon of hot water with 2 cups of vinegar will make this easier. You could also use solutions of fabric softener, various household cleaners and dish detergent. You can experiment to see which works best for you.

Older Non-Strippable Wallpaper.

Tools Needed: A perforation tool such as utility knife or paper scorer, bottle of wallpaper remover, hot water, painters spatula, broad knife and a sprayer or paint roller.

Before you get started, make sure you have any nearby furniture and carpet covered with a tarp. Believe me, this is a tip you don’t want to forget as removing wallpaper is messy business. Most wallpapers have a water repelling layer on top to protect it. Because of this you will have to score that top layer to loosen the glue by using a utility knife or paper scorer (sometimes called a paper tiger). Using a crisscross pattern score the area to be removed. Do not cut too deeply as it can damage your wall. Mix the wallpaper remover according to the manufacturers instructions (DIF is a good wallpaper removal product and I would recommend it). Using a sprayer or paint roller moisten and scored areas and allow 15 to 30 minutes for the liquid wall paper remover to soak in. Next using your broad knife or painters spatula scrape off strips of wallpaper from the wall. It’s best to start from the bottom and work you way upward. The strips should come off without too much work. Keep working until all the paper removed from all areas.

Once all of the wallpaper is removed make sure to rinse the area with a heavy detergent mixed with hot water. Most likely there will be some minor repair needed for the drywall. You may need caulking around the windows, trim and ceiling areas. Once the sheetrock is completely dry you can sand the walls to remove any rough spots. Make sure to dust off the walls when finished.

If you don’t want to use the techniques listed above you could try using a steamer. Most rental stores or paint shops will rent one to you. When using a steamer make sure to work on smaller sections at a time. Once the wallpaper is loosened you need to use your broad knife or painters spatula and remove it by working your way up. Again, once the paper is removed you’ll need to clean the walls as described above.

Once your walls are completely dried they are ready for painting or new wallpaper. Make sure you use a primer designed for that application. Since wallpaper is installed on smooth walls this would also be a good time to think about texture if you plan on painting the wall