Old wallpaper can make a house look dated. If a room in your home could use an update, you should be able to remove the wallpaper yourself. The steps will depend on the type of wallpaper you have.
Before You Get Started
Cover the floor with a tarp and use painter’s tape to secure it. Cover any electrical outlets with painter’s tape and turn off the electricity before removing the wallpaper that surrounds them. Have one or more large trash cans ready to toss in sheets of wallpaper as you remove them.
Which Type of Wallpaper Do You Have?
Use a putty knife to loosen a sheet of wallpaper at a bottom corner or seam. If it pulls away easily, it’s strippable wallpaper that should be easy to remove without water or chemicals. You may be able to simply pull entire strips off the walls. If you encounter some stubborn pieces, you can use a knife to cut them into horizontal strips.
In some cases, you will need to mix a liquid stripper concentrate with hot water. Brush it on the wallpaper, working in sections from top to bottom. After the mixture has had a few minutes to soak in, start using a scraper to peel off the wallpaper. If the wallpaper is old and won’t absorb water, use sandpaper or a scoring tool to scuff the surface. Then spray the mixture again and let it soak in until you can remove the wallpaper.
Peelable wallpaper has a top coat that can be removed in the same way as strippable wallpaper, leaving behind a layer of backing. Remove the backing with the stripper concentrate/water solution and follow the same steps.
Since washable wallpaper has a plastic film designed to stop water from penetrating, you will first need to use a scoring tool to cut holes in the paper. Spray water into the slits, wait 10 minutes or so to allow the water to soak in, then remove the paper with a putty knife.
If you have wallpaper that just won’t budge, you may need to use steam to loosen it. Rent a steamer and ask someone to help you. Pour water into the machine and wait for it to boil. Place the steamer pad on the wallpaper, wait about 30 seconds, then check to see if the wallpaper is loose. If so, the other person can peel it off, using a scraper if necessary.
Update Your Home
If you’re tired of looking at wallpaper from a bygone era, you should be able to remove it fairly easily. Figure out what kind of paper you have, assemble the necessary supplies and get some help so you can modernize and transform the room.
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