How To Remove Wallpaper Like a Pro

Homes built in the 1980’s and early 90’s showcased wallpaper in dining rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Those popular floral wallpapers have been traded in for brightly colored paints, accent walls and faux finishes. If you have recently purchased one of these homes and are overwhelmed with the wallpaper that is now peeling or fading, perhaps it is time to remove it and invest in some paint to freshen up the walls.

The first mistake many homeowners make in wallpaper removal is tugging at the wallpaper and removing only the design part, leaving the backing and paste on the wall. Or perhaps they tug too hard and remove part of the dry wall. Removing the wallpaper slowly and methodically will salvage the walls underneath and save on wall repair later.

To begin, assemble the necessary equipment. Invest in some wallpaper removal solvent. Ask your painter or visit the home improvement store for a good solvent product. Most products are available in a spray bottle and are easy to apply. Next, purchase a wallpaper scraper that creates small holes in the wall, allowing the removal solvent to get underneath and begin to work. Finally, you will need a putty knife and a bucket of warm water with rags already soaking.

Roll the scrapper lightly on the wall…heavy pressing on this tool will make marks on the wall. Keep the wallpaper moist at all times. Next, spray generously and wait about 5-10 minutes. Using the putty knife, lightly lift the paper from a seam or corner. Tear slowly and carefully, removing as much paper as possible. For pieces that are left, use the putty knife to remove them or spray again for difficult pieces. Lastly, use the warm water to lightly wipe any leftover glue, wallpaper or dirt. Once all the wallpaper has been removed, allow the walls to dry, then spackle, if repairs are needed. Finally, carefully sand the walls to even out the wall surface and prepare them for paint. Depending on the condition of the walls, a complete prime coat is always a good idea!

If your walls seem rough or were heavily damaged in the removal, contact your paint professional.

Note To Homeowner: Don't be alarmed if you hire a painter or wallpaper removal company and they remove the wallpaper differently than above. There happen to be many different ways to remove it. We've described one of these methods that is easiest for the homeowner to try.

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