How to Remove Old Wallpaper

Wallpaper gives homes a unique look and can make it easy to create an accent wall that gives your space more depth and color. However, removing old wallpaper can be messy, labor-intensive, and time-consuming. When undertaking any home project, you want to make it as simple and painless as possible without sacrificing the quality of your finished project! Warning: this project is going to require some elbow grease. We have some tips and shortcuts to help you remove your old wallpaper quickly and easily.

Grab your Tools

  • Water
  • Fabric Softener
  • Spray bottle, garden sprayer, or paint roller
  • Putty knife
  • Scoring tool (if necessary)
  • Ladder
  • Soap
  • Rags
  • Rubber gloves

Prepping your Walls

First, start by inspecting your wallpaper. Be sure to tape down the edges of your floorboards, ceiling, and any electrical outlets to protect them through the process. Take note of any trapped bubbles, flaking, or lifted edges. If you notice your wallpaper is still in great shape, often, you can get away with painting right over it. Use a razor blade to cut out any minor bubbles. Then, sand the seams, glue down lifted edges, and spackle over sections to blend any creases you may find. Prep your wall as normal. Don’t forget to prime with a quality primer. This will help to ensure that the old wallpaper is sealed firmly to prevent any lift underneath your paint in the future. Finally, you are ready to give your walls the restoration they have needed!

The Removal

However, if you find that the previous wallpaper is warped beyond repair and cannot be concealed, use these strategies to remove it with ease. Be sure to have a scoring tool handy.  Running the scoring tool over your old wallpaper will leave small perforations to make your soaking process work even better. Soak the wallpaper with hot water. Tip – use a compression sprayer to speed up the process! Dampening the wallpaper will loosen the glue underneath, making it more forgiving to peel back. Tip: Mix fabric softener into your water. The solution will do even more to help soften up your old wallpaper, ensuring the best “peel back” process. Use a paint scraper to gently begin lifting the paper away from the wall. Remove any residual glue or paper left behind. If you notice a lot of pieces left behind, repeat the soaking process with soap instead of fabric softener to give those stubborn pieces more attention. This will be the most time-consuming step in your removal. Give your drywall sufficient time to dry completely.

The Finished Project

Finally, you are now ready to prep, prime, and paint! We recommend using an oil-based primer to start your next project. Updating your home is exciting, and if done properly you will be proud to enjoy it for years to come. If you get discouraged with your project, give us a call. We are happy to help you bring your vision to life!

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