The Wallpaper Stripper – Make Light Work of One of the Worst DIY Jobs

Wallpaper stripping has to one of the most tedious, laborious and time consuming DIY tasks that any DIY enthusiast will endure. But with the correct equipment and methods this task can at least be more tolerable. So if you have decided that a new look is required in your house and there is old wallpaper that needs stripping, the first thing that you must do is to ascertain as to which type of wallpaper is actually hanging on the wall. There are basically two types of wallpaper, these being strippable wallpaper and old non-strippable wallpaper.

To discover if you actually do have strippable wallpaper you should start in a corner of the room and try to just peel the wallpaper back. If you find that the wallpaper does strip from the wall then you can have a little celebration as you have the easier and less time consuming job in front of you.

With strippable wallpaper the stripper tools you will require are hot water with a detergent mixed in, a sponge, rubber gloves and a painters spatula. To remove this type of wallpaper will take some time and require elbow grease, but if done correctly, your walls will be left completely stripped of any wallpaper and old glue residue. So to remove this strippable wallpaper just begin by peeling back the paper with your fingers and pulling it of the walls in strips. It’s likely that you will not be able to peel it all off though and are highly likely to encounter stubborn areas that refuse to be stripped. With these stubborn areas use your sponge to apply a water and detergent solution which will soak into the paper and soften the glue behind it. When the glue is softened you just scrape it off the wall with the painter’s spatula. Once you have removed all the paper it is a very good idea to go over the whole wall with the sponge and water solution to remove any excess glue that is hanging around. Such household substances like vinegar or fabric conditioner can be used for this. And then now your room is fully prepped and ready for the new wallpaper.

Now the other type of wallpaper you face is the old non-strippable type. With this paper the job in front of you is a much bigger and tougher one. The equipment required for this job is a perforating knife, chemical wallpaper remover, painter’s spatula, hot water, broad knife and a paint roller. Before beginning it is a very good idea to empty the room of any furniture and items as the job will be very messy. If you can’t remove everything from the room then at least make sure the items are covered properly to protect them. Because most wallpapers have a layer on top of them that is water resistant you need to break through this layer and you do this by using your perforating knife. Score the paper in a criss-cross fashion being careful not to cut too deep and damaging the plaster underneath. When you have scored the paper, mix up your chemical wallpaper stripper to the manufacturers instructions. Apply this chemical mixture to the wall with the paint roller and take a 15 minute break or so to allow the mixture to do it’s job. When the mixture has fully penetrated the wallpaper and softened the glue behind it you can then remove everything from the wall with your spatula. Always work upwards from the floor to the ceiling. When all the old paper has been removed you should treat the wall with a heavy detergent mixed with water to remove any stubborn parts. You will also find that you probably have to do some minor work to the drywall behind. When the wall is completely dry you can sand the walls to give you a super smooth wall to work with when hanging the new wallpaper.

If when working with this old non-strippable wallpaper you would prefer not to use a chemical wallpaper stripper then an alternative is to use a wallpaper steamer. You can buy one of these from any good DIY stockist or even the internet. When you begin to look for a wallpaper steamer you will discover that there are many varieties and options out there for you to buy. So buy the best one that suits you and your needs. If you do not wish to buy one, you can always hire a steamer by the day. The wallpaper steamer will loosen the wallpaper and then you just use the spatula to scrape the paper from the wall. Always work from the floor up to the ceiling and again, as with using a chemical stripper, always clean the walls after removal in the same manner.