There’s no way to sugar coat it. Removing old wallpaper is hard work. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some steps you can take to make the process easier and faster. You can even reduce the costs of your overall home renovation budget by following some simple guidelines.
We’re going to show you exactly how you can save time and money removing old wallpaper.
Before you start on the task of removing your old wallpaper it’s a good idea to identify the type of wallpaper you’ll be removing.
Arch 20 identifies 7 different kinds of wallpaper in popular use today and for each one you might want to take a slightly different approach to your wallpaper removal solution. For example, liner paper can actually be painted over and it’s also easy to remove if you choose to go that route. Here’s a list of the 7 types of wallpaper they identify:
How many times have you heard someone say how much easier a task is when you have the right tools for the job? It might be cliche, but it’s true.
When you’re removing old wallpaper you need to have the right tools on hand if you want to make a tough job easier. Here’s a list of the tools you should have before you start:
If you’d like to save a bit of money instead of purchasing a professional grade wallpaper removal solution, you can try a home remedy.
You have two options if you want to use a homemade wallpaper remover. The first is a combination of fabric softener and hot water. Your mix should be about 75% hot water and 25% fabric softener.
If you don’t have any fabric softener available vinegar is a good alternative. In this case, 1/3 of your solution should be vinegar and the rest hot water.
Either of these methods can work, but you may have to experiment with your solution to get the right mix. That’s why it’s sometimes easier to purchase a professional wallpaper removal solution instead.
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Now that you have your tools it’s time to remove everything from the walls. This includes pictures, wall mounted TV’s and anything else that you may have covering your wallpaper. You don’t want to damage anything valuable while you work. The best way to clean the walls is to first use a duster. This step is important beause you want to remove any cobwebs and unseen dust that may be hanging on to the wallpaper. If you don't have a duster, you can use a damp cloth to remove the dust.
After the walls are cleared you’ll want to move furniture out of the way and protect your flooring. This is where the drop cloth comes in. Removing wallpaper can be messy work and you’ll want to make sure the mess doesn’t end up on your floors. You can also use cardboard or newspaper neatly placed around the work area if you don't have any drop cloths.
The best place to start removing your old wallpaper is by using your screwdriver to lift a corner and then begin to strip away the facing. You don’t need any tools initially — just carefully pull off as much of the wallpaper as you can. For stubborn spots you may want to use the putty knife. When pulling, try to pull it off in a downwards direction to avoid tearing. Gloves come in handy at this point for added grip.
From here things get a little messy. It’s time to break out the hot water and throw on a pair of gloves.
You’ll want to apply the hot water in areas where the backing still remains. The water makes it easier to strip it off, but you may have to let it soak for a minute before attempting removal. Just don’t leave the hot water on the wall too long as it can damage your drywall. For this step you can use a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with your homemade or store bought solution and spray it onto the wallpaper, letting it settle in for a moment before continuing to pull.
If you do damage any drywall as you remove the backing you’ll want to repair it before you apply your new wallpaper or paint.
Fill holes with the drywall mud and then apply the tape over top. Apply another layer of mud over the tape.
Once the mud has dried it will need to be sanded. You may have to apply an extra coat of mud before moving on.
Sometimes you may find that the backing won’t come off with hot water alone. You can try one of the home remedies we mentioned above or you can try what the pro’s use. Remember to ask for help from a friend or family member. If you're not feeling confident to DIY this project, you can always call in a professional.
If you hire a professional to remove your wallpaper they will often use a stripping gel when they run into difficulty removing old wallpaper. This spray on solution moistens the glue under the wallpaper and makes it easy to remove. You should be able to remove any remaining paper with this solution and now you’re ready to apply your new wallpaper or paint.