How to Remove Wallpaper
Lee Kuenning - St. Henry, OH

Hardwarian Lee Kuenning

Western Ohio True Value

St. Henry, OH

How to Remove Wallpaper

Level: Experienced

Have you grown tired of that '70s green wallpaper in your bathroom? Do you want to give your kitchen a modern look? It's easy to give any room in your home an update by removing wallpaper that’s dated and painting your walls with a fresh coat of paint.

Depending on the type of wallpaper you're dealing with, and your personal preferences, you can tackle wallpaper removal in a few different ways.

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  • Getting Started

    Before you begin removing wallpaper, protect your floor by taping drop cloths or plastic sheeting to cover baseboard and floor edges. Cover the plastic with newspaper for added traction when walking. Newspaper will also absorb any water or chemical drips, so change it often.

    Dry-Stripping

    If your walls are covered with strippable wallpaper, consider yourself lucky! Wallpaper removal on strippable wallpaper is the easiest and quickest to remove by following these simple steps:

    • Step 1: Test the Wallpaper
       

      The first step in removing wallpaper with the dry-stripping method is to test the wallpaper to ensure it can be removed by stripping. Lift a corner of the paper from the wall with a putty knife or other flat tool. Grasp the paper with both hands and slowly peel it back at a 10 to 15-degree angle.

    • Step 2: Strip the Paper
       

      If the paper peels easily, you're set. If it's more stubborn, remove it strip by strip at the corners. Avoid pulling straight out as you may damage the surface.

    • Step 3: Remove Old Adhesive
       

      With a sponge, use a heavy-duty detergent such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) to remove the excess adhesive from the walls. Always wear rubber gloves and protective goggles to protect yourself.

    • Step 4: Wash Up
       

      Clean the wall using water and a sponge to remove any excess adhesive. Do not wallpaper or paint over the walls until they are completely dry.

    Chemical Soak

    wall paper stripper

    If you're not dealing with the strippable kind, you can remove wallpaper by using a chemical wallpaper remover solution and some additional elbow grease.

     
    • Step 1: Score the Wallpaper
       

      When using the chemical soak method, the first step to removing wallpaper is scoring it. Many types of wallpaper are made of vinyl or acrylic, which are nonporous and waterproof. Removing wallpaper made of these materials requires you to roughen the surface or score the surface first so the chemicals can soak into the paste and soften it. To score the paper, make cuts in a crisscross pattern with a scoring tool. A scoring tool will prevent you from cutting into the surface too deeply, therefore damaging the walls.

    • Step 2: Soak the Surface
       

      Most chemical removers need to be mixed with water, so check the manufacturer's directions before applying. Using a sponge, paintbrush, roller or spray bottle, apply the chemical removal solution evenly over wallpaper. Let soak 20-30 minutes.

      Helpful Tip

      You'll have faster results applying with a garden sprayer or spray bottle rather than using a sponge.

      Safety Alerts!

      When learning how to remove wallpaper with a chemical wallpaper remover, always wear protective goggles and rubber gloves. If you prefer to avoid strong chemicals, you can also mix a gallon of hot water with a 1/4 cup of white vinegar or fabric softener for an effective, gentle solution.

      Cover exposed outlets and turn off the power to the room before you start.

    • Step 3: Scrape off Wallpaper
       
      spatula

      Use a putty knife or wall scraper to scrape the paper off the wall. The surface may be soft, so be careful not to damage it with the scraper.

    • Step 4: Remove Old Adhesive
       

      Once the wallpaper is off the wall, the wallpaper removal process becomes more of an adhesive removal task. With a sponge, use a heavy-duty detergent such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) to remove any excess adhesive from the walls.

    • Step 5: Wash Up
       

      Clean the wall using water and a sponge to remove any excess adhesive. Do not wallpaper or paint over the walls until they are completely dry.

    Steam Application

    Want to avoid a mess? Learning how to remove wallpaper with an electric steamer can be an alternative to using chemical removers for softening wallpaper paste. A steamer is easy to use and can be purchased or rented at most True Value stores.

    • Step 1: Score the Wallpaper
       

      As with chemicals, when removing wallpaper using steam, the wallpaper must be scored properly before you start. To score the paper, make cuts in a crisscross pattern with a scoring tool.

    • Step 2: Prepare the Steamer
       
      steamer

      Fill the steamer's tank with water and heat it electrically according to the instructions. Once the hand-held plate starts to pump steam, it's ready to use.

    • Step 3: Apply the Steam
       

      Hold the steamer against the wallpaper until the paste becomes soft. Only steam a small portion at a time before scraping if off.

      Safety Alert!

      The steamer will be hot, so hold it at a good distance from your body and don't forget to wear protective gloves and goggles. Steam can create condensation and water, so cover all outlets and turn off the power to the room before you start the wallpaper removal process.

    • Step 4: Scrape off Wallpaper
       

      As soon as the glue has been loosened by the steam, use a putty knife or wall scraper to scrape the wallpaper off. The surface may be soft, so be careful not to damage it.

    • Step 5: Remove Old Adhesive
       

      With a sponge, use a heavy-duty detergent such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) to remove the excess adhesive from the walls. Always wear rubber gloves and protective goggles to protect yourself.

    • Step 6: Wash Up
       

      Clean the wall using water and a sponge to remove any excess adhesive. Do not wallpaper or paint over the walls until they are completely dry.

      Congratulations on successfully learning how to remove wallpaper! Now you're all set to begin your paint project.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at TrueValue.com and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

    Products

    Dry-stripping

    Chemical Removal

    Steam Application

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