Repair & Maintenance

How to remove wallpaper

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woman putting up new wallpaper
It used to be a daunting task, but removing wallpaper is easier than you think
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Tips on how to remove wallpaper so that you can re-paper or paint your walls

You won't know how hard - or easy - removing that old wallcovering will be until you try. Here are a few guidelines to help you to learn how to remove wallpaper and either replace it with new modern wall treatments or paint.

Before starting, test a small area to see if it simply peels right off. If the product peels off leaving only the glue on the wall, your job is really easy! It means you have strippable paper (which is true of most new wallcoverings).

Here's how to remove wallpaper that is strippable:

Tools and Materials: Sponge, hot water, and a broad (6") paint spatula. 1. If necessary, soften the paste underneath the paper with a sponge and hot water. 2. Scrape the paper off with a six-inch broad knife and remove as much of the residue as possible. 3. Rinse the walls with TSP or with a neutralizing solution of 1 cup white vinegar mixed in 1 gallon of water.

If your wall paper is not the strippable kind, here's how to remove wallpaper that is older:

By modifying commercial wallpaper remover you can remove old wall treatments much more quickly and efficiently. Combine the following: 3 gallons of very hot water 1 bottle of paper remover with reactive enzymes (the label should state that it's enzyme based) 1/4 cup liquid fabric softener 2 tablespoons baking soda

Using Wallpaper Remover

This method is often more easy and less messy than steaming and works well with older, difficult to remove wall coverings.

Tools and Materials: Sprayer or paint roller, paper remover, broad knife (large paint spatula) sponge, small perforation tool, trisodium phosphate or white vinegar and water.

Note, many people have found that by using a paint roller rather than a sprayer you can achieve better results. Whichever you choose, make certain to move furniture away from the walls and to put drop cloths on the floor to avoid damage.

1. Mix your remover according to the instructions above.
2. If the wall covering has a vinyl or water-resistant surface, use your perforation tool to break the surface so the remover can reach the adhesive. Be careful not to damage the wall itself.
3. Spray or roll the remover on your wall, starting at the bottom and working up to the ceiling, one area at a time. When you've covered all the walls, repeat this process twice, making sure to apply in the same manner and order.
4. Wait for 15 minutes as the remover works. Don't rush the process. Let the solution do most of the work.
5. Using your broad knife, scrape each strip off the wall, working from the bottom up. Work your way around the room in the same order that you sprayed. The strips will come off easily.
6. Spray or roll the stripped walls with the remaining remover, then use a sponge to remove any adhesive residue.
7. Rinse the walls with TSP or with a neutralizing solution of 1 cup white vinegar mixed in 1 gallon of water.

Note: In many instances, if you try to strip it before applying the remover solution, the top layer will come off easily, leaving the backing and the adhesive. Just follow the above directions to complete the job.

If you plan to put up new wall treatments be sure to use a primer specifically designed for its application. This will help in the future the process of removing wall coverings easier. Or, if you plan to paint the walls, be sure to use the applicable primer is ensure a smooth application of paint.

Good luck on your project now that you know how to remove wallpaper.

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