Is that outdated wallpaper getting you down? Whether you’ve just bought a new home or you’re getting ready to sell, removing old wallpaper can seriously refresh an otherwise dated room. While removing old wallpaper can be a time-consuming job, it is actually not that difficult. With a little bit of know-how and some elbow grease, you can easily remove that wallpaper yourself. Here’s what you need to know to get the job done right.
Prepare the area
First things first – you need to prep the area where you’ll be removing the wallpaper. This means protecting the floors, trim, woodwork and furniture in the room. Removing wallpaper requires a good amount of water, so you’ll want to protect all your surfaces with drop cloths and painter’s tape.
Once you’ve prepped the room, you can begin peeling off the wallpaper. In some cases, the wallpaper may already be pulling away from the wall. Start there and see how much you can remove by hand without water. Newer wallpapers are easier to strip than older ones. If you’re lucky, you may be able to remove whole sheets of wallpaper this way.
After you’ve pulled off as much as you can by hand, it’s time to use some water. Spray the wallpaper with warm water. At this point, you can also add a liquid stripper concentrate to the water. This is particularly helpful if the wallpaper is firmly stuck to the wall. Apply the water solution liberally to patches of wallpaper – about much as you can tackle in 15 minutes. You don’t want the paper to dry out before you have a chance to remove it. Let the solution soak into the paper.
Scrape it off
Once the wallpaper is soaked, you can use a taping or joint knife to scrape off the wallpaper. If the wallpaper still isn’t coming off, spray it again and let it soak in. When you’re scraping, be careful that you don’t scratch the wall or remove the top layer of drywall. It’s possible you may find another layer of wallpaper under the top layer. Remove one layer at a time. Keep a trashcan handy so you can easily dispose of the wallpaper you have removed.
After you’ve removed all the wallpaper, you’ll still have bits of paper and paste left behind. The best way to remove this residue is with a sponge. Dip it in the water solution and give the walls a good wash. You may have to repeat this step a few times to make sure all the residue is completely gone. If you don’t, then you may have problems later when you try to paint or apply new wallpaper.
Removing stubborn wallpaper
There are some wallpapers that just won’t budge, even after you’ve tried the steps above. In those cases, you can try removing the wallpaper with a steam stripper. This device uses boiling water to soften that stubborn glue. This can be a strenuous job, so it’s helpful to have two people.