Wallpaper can turn plain walls into colorful works of art, but many people avoid wallpaper because they are under the impression that stripping and removing wallpaper isn't easy. Hanging wallpaper doesn't seem nearly as difficult since it's something new and exciting, but stripping and removing old wallpaper can be a chore. Wallpaper isn't always easy to remove, even strippable wallpaper.
Research reveals several suggestions on removing wallpaper. Before using any type of wallpaper stripper, remove as much as you can by hand. The top layer of wallpaper is usually easy to remove, but sometimes sheets of wallpaper separate. The bottom layer that is glued to the wall can be very stubborn. If the wall wasn't painted before the wallpaper was hung, removing the wallpaper will probably be far from easy.
Precautions to Consider Before Removing Wallpaper
Stripping and removing wallpaper can be a messy task. Before starting to remove old wallpaper, make sure the floor and nearby furniture is protected with plastic or other tarp material.
Many people use scoring tools before attempting to remove old wallpaper. A scoring tool creates small holes in the wallpaper, and after the wallpaper is wet, the holes allow the wallpaper to better absorb the water. When the wallpaper is fully saturated, it comes off fairly easy, but scoring tools have been known to make indentations in drywall. If you plan on using a scoring tool don't use too much pressure. Experiment in a small inconspicuous area before scoring an entire wall.
There are commercial products that can make stripping and removing wallpaper easier. Although they are easy to use, store-bought products can become quite expensive and they tend to be more irritating to the skin. Start with cheaper homemade products for stripping and removing wallpaper before resorting to buying wallpaper stripper from the store. Chances are the homemade wallpaper stripping products will work surprisingly well, and you'll save money in the process.
Many people swear by this easy method of stripping and removing wallpaper. Simply pour about five ounces of liquid fabric softener into a sixteen-ounce spray bottle, and finish filling the bottle with hot water. Shake the bottle well, and spray the mixture on the wallpaper. Allow the fabric softener and hot water to soak in for about ten minutes. After the wallpaper and glue has softened, scrape the wallpaper off using a nylon scrapper.
Dishwashing liquid that contains degreaser is said to make the chore of stripping and removing wallpaper very easy. Those with unpainted walls beneath their wallpaper will find this method of stripping and removing old wallpaper especially easy and very simple. Spray a mixture of dishwashing liquid and warm water on the wall, one section at a time, and allow it to soak in for about ten minutes. The wallpaper should be very easy to remove with a nylon scrapper.
Many people have found vinegar to be helpful in stripping and removing old wallpaper. The acid in the vinegar naturally softens the paper and dissolves the glue. Personally I would try the other easy methods of stripping and removing wallpaper first, since vinegar has a very strong odor.
The objective in using any of these methods is to remove the wallpaper completely. Let your walls dry and then inspect them to see if all the wallpaper AND the backing has been removed. Run your hand over the wall. If it feels rough or like sand paper you probably have not removed all the glue or backing. You may have to follow up with some sanding.
If after reading this you are tempted to try painting over the wallpaper…don’t. The paint will most likely soak into the wallpaper and it will become bumpy at best. The result will not be pretty.
I have hung wallpaper and removed wallpaper. I like paint better!! Visit the Benjamin Moore or Sherwood Williams page on our webpage and review all the possibilities. Then give us a call and schedule an estimate.