Here’s How to Remove Wallpaper with Success!
The wallpaper in your home has served you well, staying in mint condition all these years and making each room you have it in so unique and interesting. Now, you might be looking to freshen up the interior and have to peel it off your walls fast. Don’t fret, though — removing wallpaper doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. We here at Mike’s Decorating and Painting have the best tips on how to get it off quickly and without doing any damage.
The Right Tools Will Set Us Up for Success
To remove wallpaper fast and without damaging the walls, we will need:
- Painter’s plastic tarp and tape
- A lined garbage can
- Wallpaper scoring tool
- 5-inch rigid putty knife
- Safety goggles
- Pressure sprayer
To make the hot water solution, we can use either fabric softener or vinegar. Both can work wonders, but either may be a better option for certain types of wallpaper. In any case, hot water is the most important ingredient. The recipe is as follows:
- Add ⅓ vinegar (the one most of us already have at home) to ⅔ hot water (boiling or tap).
- Add ¼ fabric softener to ¾ hot water.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Wallpaper
#1 Protect the Rest of the Room
Water doesn’t mix well with floors and electrical outlets, so before spraying some on our walls, we must protect the rest of the room. For that, we will use a plastic painter’s tarp and some painter’s tape to secure it to the floor. If we have just one or even multiple electrical outlets, we ought to leave the covers on and cover the area with painter’s tape to ensure no water gets to them. When the wallpaper comes off, we’ll go back to the outlets to remove what’s left of it under them.
#2 Start Peeling the Wallpaper With the Scraper
To start the process, we will need to find an edge to our wallpaper and use our putty knife to pry it up a bit. That will leave a hole in the wallpaper, which we can then use to peel it down or scrape some more off the wall.
Our wallpaper may not come off in sheets, though, so we may need to opt for another method. Since there are two layers we have to peel off (the outer vinyl, bamboo, paper, or textile layer, and the inner adhesive), we may have to use a hot water solution to speed up the process.
#3 Score the Wallpaper
But before we mix up the solution, we have to create some holes in the wallpaper so that the solution could easily penetrate it. For that, we can use a wallpaper scoring tool. These don’t have to be expensive — we can find a cheap one on Amazon.
While using the scoring tool, we have to mind the pressure and keep it light so that we don’t puncture the plaster or drywall behind the wallpaper. The whole point is to puncture the paper as many times as necessary to let the hot water solution reactivate the adhesive. Once we do that, the wallpaper should come right off!
#4 Apply the Hot Water Solution and Peel, Peel, Peel
We’ve covered the bits that shouldn’t get wet (floors and electrical outlets), so now it’s time to wet the walls and get that wallpaper off.
Once we have our safety goggles on, we can start using the pressure sprayer to apply the solution. It’s best to go in sections by applying some solution to four-foot-wide areas. Then, all we have to do is wait for a few minutes for it to soak up and use our scraper (putty knife) to pry the corner of the wallpaper off the wall. We can then pull it off in larger pieces.
It’s a good idea to have a garbage can nearby so that we could toss any larger pieces right away. The smaller bits will fall onto the floor, but the tarp will make the cleanup easier in that case.
Keep in mind that the surface has to be wet for us to peel off the wallpaper. If it has dried, we have to keep working on the wet parts. Once most of it is gone, we can repeat the process to get the remainder off.
When we finally get to the outlets, we have to turn off the power first (find the breaker box to do this). Next, we remove the painter’s tape and the covers of the outlets with a screwdriver. The wallpaper there might still be wet, so we can just scrape it off. If it’s dry, we can moisten it with the solution a bit, wait a couple of minutes, and then peel it off.
#5 Do One Final Pass With the Solution
If there’s still some adhesive on the walls, we can apply some more solution and scrape it right off. However, we should cover the outlets again with the tape to ensure we don’t get shocked along the way. Once again, we should work in sections so that the walls stay wet enough for peeling.
Finally, we can use a clean wet cloth or rag to tidy up the walls by wiping them down while removing the last few bits of wallpaper. And that’s it — we’re all done!