Wallpaper Removal – The Complete and Concise Guide

Last updated Sep 19, 2021 | Home Improvement | 0 comments

For every homeowner, it is common knowledge that new wall covering is capable of transforming a room,  elevating it from just plain normal to stunning. The process of wallpaper removal isn’t as simple as most fellows would like to believe. If done correctly and meticulously, the correct results are reaped and minimal flaws are witnessed. However if the process is rushed over, it can be the source of a lot of grief. Before determination of the finest approach to wallpaper removal, it is important to first gather knowledge of the kind of wallpaper present as well as the wall surface type behind the wallpaper. In majority of the cases, walls are either plaster, smoothed evenly over lath or drywall (in this case, gypsum sandwiched in between paper layers). This piece looks at effective removal of wallpaper, and the right methods and procedures to follow with regard to both wall types.

How To Remove Wallpaper

If the wall type is the drywall kind, it should be kept in mind that this kind of wall is a lot more susceptible to water damage than its counterpart. Such walls require dry stripping. To carry this out effectively and with minimal flaws arising, the first step to take is to loosen the strips at the corners by with the employment of a putty knife. When this is done, it should be followed by the slow peeling back of the wallpaper. Many people do not realize how important the angle of peeling is. For best results, it is important to stick to an angle of about 10 to 15 degrees. Yanking the wallpaper straight from the wall only serves to damage the wall behind it, more so if it’s the drywall kind. The kind of wall paper whereby after peeling, only the decorative paper gets off leaving a paper backing behind is referred to as peel-able paper. In the case of this kind of paper, new wall covering may be put right on top of the backing paper. In the wallpaper removal situation where the wallpaper is non-strippable or the house owner feels the need to remove the backing paper and leave only the fresh wall, the thing to do is turn to warm water or a solvent for wallpaper removal. The market is teeming with solvent brands. One should proceed to amply soak the wallpaper. A spray bottle comes in handy but to ensure that the wall, and not the floor is soaked, the best tool to employ is a paint roller. After soaking the wallpaper, one should proceed to scrape away the sodden wallpaper with a wide taping knife or a wallpaper scraper if it is available. One thing of importance to note is that one should never soak a larger area than is possible to scrape away in the space of a quarter hour. If the warm water soaks into the drywall for longer than fifteen to twenty minutes, it is possible that the drywall gets damaged. While scraping off the sodden paper, one should let it fall to the ground. Towels or canvas drop cloths should be put down to absorb any dripping solution. They also ensure that the individual conducting the wallpaper removal does not dirty his shoes and laces too much.

Non-porous Wallpaper Removal

In the case where the wallpaper is non-porous, it is necessary to roughen the surface before application of the remover. This is to ensure that the remover solution is able to penetrate and dissolve the adhesive. In order to roughen up the surface, significantly coarse sandpaper may be used in either a hand-sanding block or a pad sander. A scraper must not be used after the wallpaper is already soaked; it could very well damage the drywall. A wide taping knife does the job best. However if the soak and scrape fails to do the job, then it is time to go for the gold standard in wallpaper removal: the wallpaper steamer. It is a hefty work if the wallpaper removal involves removing more than one layer of wallpaper. It is even a greater task if the removal process involves removing wallpaper that has been painted over. In the cases where the wallpaper has been applied to a wall surface that isn’t properly sealed, successfully removing it without causing some form of damage is largely impossible. For such arduous tasks, it is necessary to either rent a wallpaper steamer (renting goes for about fifteen dollars for half a day), or invest in a do-it-yourself model (the price gravitates around fifty dollars a model). One other important thing to take note of in the case of a wallpaper steamer is that while it is all and well to use one with relative confidence on the walls of the plaster kind, absolute caution should be applied while using it on dry walls, which are susceptible to water damage. The first thing to do is fill up the wallpaper steamer with water and give it time to heat up amply. It is also important to keep a baking pan at hand, for putting in the hot plate when it isn’t in use. Starting at the wall top, one should place the hotplate against the wallpaper until it softens up. After this, one should move the hotplate to an adjacent area and scrape off the already softened paper. A wallpaper razor scraper should be employed to scrape off the paper and put it in a container, preferably a plastic one. When through with scraping off the wallpaper bits, the hotplate should have heated up and softened the next area. However, the speed at which the wallpaper is softened largely depends on the porosity of the wallpaper. The more porous the paper is, the faster it is softened and thus, the faster the process of wallpaper removal. It must also be noted that both the steam and water from the steamer can drip off the hotplate and scald one. To prevent this, it is prudent to stand on a step stool for removal that’s above chest height. Rubber gloves are also a big help in preventing scalding, as are long sleeved shirts and blouses.


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