Wallpaper removal can definitely be a hassle. Luckily there are some tips and tricks that can make it a bit easier. Follow these simple steps to make this difficult job as simple as possible.
There are quite a lot of things you will need to successfully execute proper wallpaper removal starting with the following.
Tools You Will Need
- A Drop Cloth
- Putty Knife
- Paint Scraper
- Paint Brush
- Utility Knife
- Scoring Tool
- Spray Bottle
- Cleaning Cloths
- Wallpaper Steamer (As Needed)
Materials You Will Need
- Joint Compound
- Dish Soap
- Liquid Wallpaper Remover
Proper Wallpaper Removal
There are two possible scenarios when re-doing your walls.
#1 You want to add more wallpaper.
#2 You want to paint the wall.
If you plan on adding more wallpaper on top of your existing wallpaper then you can do so if it’s in good condition. However, if you plan on painting over your existing wallpaper you will need to perform a full removal.
You can safely paper over just ONE layer of smooth, well-adhered wallpaper as long as there are no bubbles or wrinkles. You should also repaste any loose paper, patch as necessary.
If you plan to paint then wallpaper removal is a must. Painting the wallpaper will make it much more difficult to remove in the future. The painted surface also won’t be as smooth and all your efforts will be a waste of time.
Wallpaper is a great way to create character and personality in your home. If you are happy with the current look, then there’s no need for removal.
How to Prepare for Wallpaper Removal
There’s a handful of things you’ll want to do before starting your project.
- Make sure your walls are clear of any decorations or objects.
- Move or cover any furniture in the vicinity.
- To keep your floors clean and residue-free, spread plastic drop cloths over old towels along the baseboards.
- Be sure to tape them in place for an airtight seal on all sides. Things will get wet and you will want to protect your baseboards.
How to Remove Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
If you have newer wallpaper that is the peel-and-stick type, then you will be able to remove it without water and chemicals.
Here’s how to tell if you have peel-and-stick wallpaper.
- When you get to a corner or seam near the bottom of your wall, use a putty knife and pry the edge away from the paper. If it pulls up easily with little resistance then you have peel-and-stick wallpaper.
- Grab the lower corner of a strip and pull it away until both corners are free. Hold with both hands, then slowly lift up on your end to remove all the layers at once.
- Use a razor knife to help you remove stubborn sections of paper from the wall. Hold it perpendicular and make horizontal strips about 10 inches apart, then loosen up the section with your fingers until it’s free.
How to Remove Wallpaper With Water
Some wallpaper will easily be loosened and removed by simply saturating it with water. You can also buy a tool called a wallpaper scorer. This puts tiny cuts in the wallpaper and allows the water to seep in. Then use a putty knife to remove the wallpaper.
How to Remove Wallpaper With Liquid Stripper Concentrate
If you go this route, you will need a liquid stripper concentrate. Mix it with hot water according to the manufacturer’s directions and apply using an old broad brush or sprayer. Work from the bottom to the top, one section at a time. Don’t try and tackle such an extensive area that the paper dries before you have had enough time to remove it.
To start, let the paper soak for a few minutes, and then use your scraper. When old paper won’t absorb water, you can scuff the surface with coarse sandpaper or use a scoring tool to allow moisture into it. After it’s thoroughly saturated apply twice more and let it soak for 30 minutes. The best way to know it’s ready is when you can scrape off pieces with your fingernail.
How to Remove Vinyl Wallpaper
Some wallpapers have a vinyl topcoat. Once you’ve peeled off the top vinyl coat, there is a backing left. Follow the directions for stripping with water to remove it and don’t leave any behind even if it’s in good condition.
How to Remove Washable Wallpaper
The surface that makes washable wallpaper easy to clean also makes it a little harder than normal to remove. To get water to penetrate the paper, you must break through the plastic film that covers it. Using a scoring tool poke holes through the paper and then spray water into the holes. After that wait about 10 minutes and scrape off the paper with a putty knife.
When it’s Time to Bring in the Big Guns AKA Steam Removal
When all else fails, you might have to resort to the strenuous job of steam-stripping. This is a bit more difficult as it requires you to steam and strip simultaneously. The steamer is a device used for removing wallpaper. It uses boiling water, which softens up any glue between the wallpaper and the wall which makes removal easier.
To remove vinyl-coated wallpaper, you still need to use a scoring tool and punch holes in the paper so that steam can reach the glue.
You can rent a steamer instead of purchasing one since this probably isn’t the kind of equipment you’ll use very often. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully, because they may vary depending on your machine. The basic steps are as follows.
- The first step is to make sure the power is off.
- Fill the steam reservoir with warm water.
- Turn the machine on and then wait for the water to come to a boil.
- With the gloves on and goggles securely fastened, place the steam pad onto your wallpaper for about 30 seconds.
- Moving the pad you should see the loose paper.
- Quickly remove with your scraper.
The Walls Are Now Free of Any Wallpaper and Need to be Cleaned
There are a couple of different steps to follow for the best results. These are as follows.
- Wallpaper strippers are a great way to get rid of heavy paste residue left behind after removing your wallpaper.
- Spray on the product and leave it on for about 20 minutes.
- Finally, use a scraper to remove the stripper.
- Then wash the walls with hot water using a sponge.
- When the walls are clean you can dry them with a cloth.
Why go Through the Hassle? Leave it to the Experts!
If this sounds complicated and time-consuming it’s because it is. Why not leave it to the professionals at Local San Diego Painting. Wallpaper removal is one of our specialties and we have all the tools to get the job done right.