How to Remove Wallpaper

Whether your wallpaper is peeling or you want to refresh your space with paint, there are a few things you need to do to prepare for wallpaper removal. We have put together tips on preparing your walls for removal and removing the wallpaper from your walls to help make the process more efficient.

Start by Identifying What Type of Walls You Have

Before choosing a removal method, you will first want to determine what type of walls are under your wallpaper. For plaster walls, these will mainly be found in homes that are more than 50 years old and are more solid with a dull sound of you knock on them. For drywall, this is common in homes built within the last 50 years. Drywall is not as sturdy as plaster, so take care not to damage the wall with the scraping tool during removal.

Preparing Your Space for Wallpaper Removal

You will want to begin by taking everything, pictures, signs, etc., off the walls. You will also want to clear out any furniture that can be easily moved and cover over heavier items to prevent damage.

We also recommend that you cover your baseboards using old towels or some type of cloth. Take plastic drop cloths and tape them over the towels to the baseboards. This will keep your flooring and baseboards clean. Once you have prepped the area, you can begin the removal process. For the average-sized room, you can expect the removal to take about a day.

How to Remove Different Types of Wallpaper

The type of wallpaper you have will help you choose the method you can use to remove it. A common type of newer wallpaper is strippable wallpaper. This type of wallpaper can be removed easily with no need for chemicals or water.

Strippable Wallpaper

To remove strippable wallpaper, start at the bottom of the wall at a corner or seam and use a putty knife to pry up the wallpaper. The wallpaper should pull away from the wall easily, allowing you to remove it in strips. If you have difficulty removing the trips, you can use a razor knife to help loosen the strips. Cut horizontal strips roughly 10 inches apart using your fingers to loosen the wallpaper and pull it off the wall.

Removing Washable Wallpaper

This type of wallpaper features a plastic film that allows you to easily wash off marks and stains. When removing this type of wallpaper, you need to score the plastic film to create holes and then soak the wallpaper with a spray bottle. Be sure to get the solution into the slits so it can get behind the wallpaper. Allow the solution to soak in for at least 10 minutes, and then use a putty knife to scrape away the wallpaper.

Removing Wallpaper with Water

To remove wallpaper with water, you will need to use a liquid stripper concentrate. Mix the stripper with hot water and apply the mixture to your wallpaper with a sprayer or a brush. You should apply the stripper from top to bottom in sections. Working in small sections will prevent the wallpaper from drying before it can be removed.

Allow your section to soak in the mixture, and then use a scraper to strip it off the wall. If you are having trouble with the water being absorbed, scuff the old wallpaper with sandpaper to help with absorption, coat the section two more times, and then allow it to soak in for 30 minutes to ensure it will be ready to strip away.

If you have peelable wallpaper, you will need to peel off the vinyl topcoat and then proceed with stripping the wallpaper with water to remove the backing.

Removing Wallpaper with Steam

If traditional methods are not working, a steamer is a last-resort option. This can be a difficult process and is a method that you should have assistance from a family member or friend to complete.

The steamer uses boiling water to soften the wallpaper glue so the paper can be removed easily from the wall. Steamers can be rented, but before using one, be sure to carefully read the instructions to avoid injury to yourself or damage to your walls.

Residential Painting Services to Freshen Your Space

At MasterBrush Painting, we provide clients with expert painting services using experienced painters and top-quality paints. If you are ready to ditch the old wallpaper and add a clean, fresh look to our home, we have got you covered! Contact us today to learn more!

Henry Weber
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