Removing wallpaper starts with determining the type of walls you have but whether you have drywall or plaster, the task is much easier than it used to be. If your home is old, you likely have plaster walls and if you knock on the walls, there should be a dull sound because the walls are usually very solid. If your home is newer or you suspect that there’s drywall, tapping on the wall and hearing a hollow sound will let you know for sure. If you aren’t sure even after knocking on the walls, you can ask an expert to come look at them or ask the builder of the home if the company is still in existence.
Getting Started Is Easy
With few exceptions, it is not recommended to place new wallpaper over existing wallpaper; instead, you should remove it before moving forward. This means doing a little prep work and once you remove everything off your walls and place the furniture away from those walls, the prep work can start. This includes covering the furniture, placing towels over your baseboards, and then placing drop cloths over the towels. Now you are ready to move to the next step.
To Remove Strippable Wallpaper:
Use a putty knife to peel away the corner of the wallpaper. If it comes off easily, you can proceed.
To remove a strip, simply grab the lower corner and pull until both corners come free. Next, grab the bottom edge using both hands and pull until the entire strip is removed, then repeat for the remaining sections of the wallpaper until everything is removed.
If for some reason, the wallpaper gets stubborn and isn’t budging, use a razor knife by holding it perpendicular to the wall and making horizontal strips roughly 10 inches apart. Next, loosen that section, pull it free using your fingers, and then continue with the remaining sections.
To Remove Peelable Wallpaper:
Similar to strippable wallpaper, this type of wallpaper has a top coat that comes off as easily as the strippable kind. Peelable wallpaper contains two parts, the top coat and the backing, so after the top coat is removed, you can remove the backing using water. Even if the backing is in good condition, always remove it.
To Remove Washable Wallpaper:
Washable wallpaper has a top plastic layer that should be removed with water. With a scoring tool, make several holes or slits in the wallpaper and then spray the area with water, including the slits themselves. After 10 minutes, you can scrape the paper off with a putty knife.
Other Removal Tips
If you use a steaming tool to remove the wallpaper, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Because you have to steam and remove the paper at the same time, this method can be somewhat cumbersome. Always wear goggles and gloves when using this method and take your time so the job is done right.
If you are using water to remove wallpaper, mix hot water with a liquid stripper concentrate and apply it to your walls using even strokes. Work just one section at a time and start at the top, stripping it away with a scraper and making sure that the water doesn’t dry before moving onto the next section. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for best results.