How to Remove Wallpaper Without the Hassle

how to remove wallpaper

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You just bought a new house, and you’ve moved in. You’ve decided that the wallpaper in the house is not something you want to spend the next couple decades looking at. Maybe it’s already peeling, or perhaps it’s just not the right color or pattern.

Preparing to Remove Wallpaper

While removing wallpaper doesn’t have to be a nightmare, there is some time involved in removing it. Part of that time will be spent in preparation.

Here are the five steps for prepping for wallpaper removal:

1. Prep the Room

Before you can start removing the wallpaper, you need to clear out the room. Furniture will be in your way, so you need to move it, at least into the middle of the room.

You need to cover your furniture and floors with some sheets or a drop cloth. This may be a messy job, and it is a wet job. 

2. Find Out the Wallpaper Type

Before you start removing the paper, you need to know what you’re removing. It could be strippable wallpaper or peelable. Peelable leaves a paper backing behind when you pull it off, which means more work. There’s also traditional wallpaper, which won’t budge when you try to remove it during your test.

Traditional and peelable wallpaper both require chemical stripper to get them off the wall. Strippable is the easiest to remove.

3. Know Your Walls

The types of walls in your home will matter as well. You’ll be using water during removal and clean up. If your walls are drywall, you’ll want to go easy on the water, or they may get damaged.

4. Turn Off the Power

You’re putting water on your walls, so it’s important to turn the electricity off to the room you’re working in. You also want to cover all the light switches and outlets with painter’s tape to keep from getting water into them.

5. Get Your Supplies

You’ll need some different supplies depending on which type of wallpaper you’re removing. No matter what type it is, you’re going to need a putty knife, water, soap, and rags. For strippable, that’s all you need.

For peelable and traditional wallpaper, you’re also going to need wallpaper stripper, a spray bottle, rubber gloves, and a ladder. You may also need a scoring tool.

How to Remove Wallpaper – Strippable

Strippable wallpaper is the easiest to remove.

1. Peel It Off the Walls

You need to loosen the corner of the paper, which can be done with the putty knife. Pull slowly and close to the wall, so you don’t tear the paper. If it rips, you’ll have to put the putty knife to use again. You’ll do this until all of the strips in the room have been removed.

2. Clean Up

You’ll want to remove residue left by the wallpaper before you put up new paper or do any painting. This is done with soap and water and some rags.

How to Remove Wallpaper – Peelable

Removing peelable wallpaper requires even more work, which includes making a solution to strip it. It’s a mixture of wallpaper stripper and hot water, per instructions with the stripper. You may need to score the walls with a scoring tool over the paper if it’s difficult to scrape off.

1. Peel Off the Top Layer

This step is the same as the first step for strippable paper, but it will leave behind the paper layer. You’ll want to pull off all of the top layer before you start stripping the base.

2. Use Wallpaper Stripper

Apply the solution you mixed using a spray bottle. Do this one section at a time. Allow the removal solution to soak a few minutes, then scrape the paper off using the putty knife. Continue, section by section, until you’ve completed the room.

3. Clean Up

Follow the same cleanup steps as previously.

How to Remove Wallpaper – Traditional

Traditional wallpaper is removed the same way as strippable – you just won’t be pulling any wallpaper off first. Again, if the paper is hard to remove, use the scoring tool.

1. Use Wallpaper Stripper

Because you’re removing more than just a paper backing this time, you may need to let the solution sit and soak a little bit longer. You should still be doing this in small sections.

2. Scrape It Off

Now it’s time to start scraping with the putty knife. Move up the wall. Be careful to avoid gouging holes in the wall.

3. Clean Up

Wipe the walls down with soap and water to clean any residue left behind. You may want to find something to remove sticky spots, in case there is any stubborn glue still on the walls.

Redoing Your Walls

Once you’ve made sure all the wallpaper and glue are removed from the wall, you need to let it dry before doing whatever you want to do with it now. You’ll want to paint or put up new wallpaper.

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