Tips For Removing Wallpaper
Wallpaper is a funny thing…now it’s popular, now it’s not. It’s popularity rises and falls with regularity. If you have ever had a wallpapered room (and I’m sure you have or you wouldn’t be reading this article), sooner or later you’re going to want to take it down, whether it’s because you want new paper on your walls or you’re ready for a new look and you want to paint instead. Removing old wallpaper is not a quick and easy job…it takes time and effort.
Many people just pick a seam and start pulling, which can leave a big mess on your floors and on your walls, because it seldom comes off in nice full sheets, the way it was put up. It can rip and shred and be very frustrating. Another side effect of removing wallpaper is leaving damaged walls because you haven’t removed it properly.
Here are some tips that will make the job a little easier:
- Pick a time for this project when you have plenty of time…give yourself the “space” to tackle the job without any time constraints…depending on how much wallpaper you have to remove, you probably need 1-2 days. If possible, set aside a weekend.
- Prepare your room properly by removing all switch plates and outlet covers and by protecting the floors and baseboards, things could get wet and sticky.
- While your walls are still dry, locate a place where the wallpaper might be loose, often times near the ceiling or at a bottom corner, and begin pulling off the top layer or “facing”, pulling at a 45° angle. If you’re lucky, your paper will come off in sheets which will eliminate the need to score the paper with a sharp object and possibly damage the walls. If your paper has been up for a long time, the facing may not come off easily and you will need to score the surface before applying hot water.
- If it’s necessary that you need to score through both layers of paper, so it can absorb the water better, use caution not to cut all the way through to your walls.
- If your paper has come off, leaving only the backing to remove, using a sponge, apply hot water (some people add a little fabric softener) to soften the paste. Let it sit for about 10 – 15 minutes giving it time to absorb. Work in small areas of your wall so the water doesn’t sit on it long enough to damage the surface, especially if the paper is on drywall. Using a spatula or putty knife (make sure there are no sharp, square corners that could damage your wall), gently begin scrapping the backing off. It’s important that you don’t try this with plastic tools, because they are too thick to get under the backing.
- If some of your paper refuses to come off with this process, you may need to use a wallpaper stripper to remove it.
- Make sure you have removed even the smallest piece of paper or paste…although they may be tiny, they can cause a new paint job to crack or flake away. Washing down your walls with clean water and towel drying them will often remove unseen particles and remove residue from the paste.
- If you’re going to paint your walls, let them dry thoroughly.