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How to Remove Old Wallpaper

Picture of a person busy with the action of how to remove old wallpaper.

Good ways to remove unwanted wallpaper.
Copyright: iStock.com/Allkindza

How to remove old wallpaper can seem like a daunting task. This is true whether moving into a new home or giving an existing space a new look.

Many people try to paint over it. But they soon discover the imperfections and peeling often produce unsatisfactory results.

Preparing the Room

Removing wallpaper is often wet and messy. Prepare the space before starting any work. Remove crown molding and baseboards. Seal the floor with painting canvas and secure it with painter’s tape.

This is especially important for wood flooring and carpeting. You can do damage to them while working.

Tips for Removing Wallpaper

When determining how to remove old wallpaper, the budget will often determine the most affordable method.

Here are a few tips on how to remove old wallpaper with the least amount of effort. They will help you remain budget conscious. By keeping in mind that time is money, minimizing this task will result in money saved at the end of the project.

Removing Dry-Strippable Wallpaper

With any luck the wallpaper installed will be dry-strippable. This is a newer product that requires less effort to remove.

Start by lifting 1 corner of the wallpaper with a putty knife. Grasp the wallpaper with both hands. Now peel it back at a 15 degree angle. The wallpaper will come off the wall in small manageable sections.

It is important to avoid pulling straight out as this could damage walls. Starting each section the same way will have the job completed in no time.

Removing Wallpaper Using Chemicals

Sometimes you will need chemicals to remove wallpaper. One of the least expensive methods is using equal parts fabric softener and warm water.

Make sure the water is warm, but not too hot as the object is to soften the glue without destroying the wall or wallpaper. Removing big sheets of wallpaper at a time results in the completion of the job in less time.

Spray the solution in sections and let it sit for about 5 minutes. The paper will then peel right off. Use a scoring tool or sandpaper for stubborn areas. Roughen the areas and apply a second application of the solution. Now repeat the peeling process.

Large sheets will not result from using the scoring tool and sandpaper. They rip the wallpaper in small pieces. Although more time consuming to remove, it is safer on walls.

Gently scrape areas where the wallpaper is particularly strongly adhered to the wall. Scraping with a putty knife usually works.

It is important to keep any scraping gentle and to the least amount needed. This action can damage drywall. You will have to repair it before painting.

Take Off Wallpaper with a Professional Grade Chemical Stripper

Another option is buying a professional grade chemical stripper. You can visit your local hardware store to buy it.

Although more costly, these products are usually effective. Take extra precaution during use or these products. The chemical compounds are extremely toxic. It is important to use heavy-duty gloves, eye protection, and a mask when using these products.

Dispose of removed paper only at a bio-hazard disposal station, as well.

Discussing options with a hardware store dealer will help you select the best brand for your job.

Using Equipment to Take Off Wallpaper

Many large hardware stores also provide equipment for rent to take off wallpaper. For removing wallpaper the best option is using a steamer made for this purpose. Steamers are easy to use and safe, yet messy due to the water they produce.

Prices on equipment rental can vary so be sure to check around before making a commitment. The dealer can explain in detail how they operate.

Finishing the Wallpaper Removal

Important Note: Store your supplies safely. Keep out of the reach of children.

Wash surface areas and repair any damage after removing the wallpaper. It is important not to paint until the drywall has had enough time to dry.

How to remove old wallpaper is the easy part. After painting, the hardest part is deciding what to do with your new space.

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