How To Remove a Wallpaper

Wallpaper removal can be a messy process if done wrong. Do you want to learn how to remove wallpaper? It's actually pretty simple if you keep things organized. All you need are a few tools and the patience to let those tools do their job. These tools include a scraper tool, scraper or broad knife, screwdriver, painters tape, wallpaper stripper, paint brush, roller and tray, drop sheets, garbage bags, bucket, sponge, step ladder, dish washing liquid or sugar soap. You can also use a wallpaper steamer which uses very hot steam to melt the adhesive for wallpaper removal.

If you are going to use stripper be sure to use PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), ie; rubber gloves and safety goggles. Make sure the room is well ventilated, an oscillating electric fan is ideal, and open the windows.

Start by preparing your work space. Remove all furniture and window treatments from the room or move to the middle and cover with drop sheets. Next using a screwdriver, remove all power and switch covers. Isolate the power to the room, and place painters tape over the envelopes to avoid getting stripper on them. Likewise with any other surface you wish to avoid getting stripper on. Place canvas drop sheets on the floor, as these do not get slippery like plastic sheets.

Now it is time to score the wallpaper. Start in a corner near the ceiling and preferably along a seam. Use the scoring tool in a circular motion, this will put hundreds of small holes in the wallpaper allowing the stripper to penetrate. To start just do a 3 'square section as a test. Next roll on the stripper and allow 15-20 minutes for the stripper to penetrate the score holes and dissolve the adhesive. DO NOT rush this step. If the stripper starts to dry out during this time apply a second coat to ensure the area holds wet. Another option is to use a steamer, make sure you keep the steam plate firm and tight against the wall. After the recommended amount of time, use your broad knife to lift the seam and pull the paper away from the wall at a 45 degree angle. Continue working around the room from top to bottom in approximately 3 foot wide sections, using your scoring tool and stripper or steamer. Always put your scraps in the garbage bags. A common problem is some of the paper backing will remain on the walls. To remedy this, just apply some more stripper, wait the required amount of time, then use your scraper to remove it.

Once all the wallpaper is removed, there still might be some adhesive and small pieces of paper backing remaining. Just reapply stripper, working from top to bottom in 3 or 4 foot widths. Then wash it off using soap and water and a sponge, repeat as necessary until the walls are clean. Once the walls are clean and dry, you are ready to apply an interior primer if you are painting. Or, if you are going to wallpaper, you will want to apply a wallpaper sealer / primer.