How to Remove Wallpaper

How to Remove Wallpaper

Wallpaper removal is one of those jobs that everyone hates.  However, there are some steps you can take to make your life a little easier.

First things first, you are going to need a chemical sprayer, like this one.  You don't have to get fancy with it.  Just a simple pump action sprayer.  Also, get yourself a good clean broad knife.  It is easier and more efficient than using a smaller putty knife.

Second, get a good wallpaper removal solution.  Wallwik makes a good product. Also, DIF Wallpaper Solution.  Add about 6 to 8 ounces of solution to 2 gallons of hot water in the sprayer.  

Third, go ahead and soak the room.  You want to spray the wall enough that the liquid isn't pouring down onto the floor, but enough that the wall is definitely getting saturated.  Go around the whole room for an initial soaking.  

The trick is to keep the wallpaper moist.  As soon as it dries you are back to square one.  After you went around the room 1 full time, do it again. The goal is to let the solution soak into the paste.  The procedure is a series of soaking the wall and giving the paste time to activate. 

If you soak the wall and jump right into scraping, times are going to be tough.  The longer the paste has to activate (say 20-30 minutes of spraying), the easier the paper will come off.

Wallpaper scoring tools are popular.  However, I would not jump right into using one of these.  They are only good as a last resort, after you have tried to soak and remove the paper and nothing is working.  If you use one of these first, any chances you have in peeling the paper or backing off in 1 full sheet will be ruined.  Additionally, if you press too hard, you can actually damage the wall behind the paper.

Fourth, When you think the paper is good and soaked and the paste has had proper time to absorb the solution, pick a corner and test how the paper is going to come off.

Typically the paper will come off in 3 ways.  And they all have different removal methods.

           1. The face of the paper and the backing come off together.
 Hot dang, you lucky dog.  Not every job will be like this.  In fact, only the rare and lucky jobs are like this.  After you remove the paper and backing, get a bucket with hot water and solution and scrub the remaining paste off the walls with a rag or sponge.
           2.  The face of the paper will come off, and the backing is sticking to the wall.  Go around the whole room and get the face of the paper off.  Go back to where you started and begin soaking the backing.  Go all the way around the room, soaking the backing.  Start where you began. Pick a corner at the top, and carefully remove the backing in one full sheet.  There might be some paste left on the wall.  Get a bucket with hot water and solution and scrub the remaining paste off the walls with a rag or sponge.  Use your broad knife for tricky areas.

           3. The face of the paper or the backing isn't coming off no matter what you do.
 The paper is absolutely welded to the wall, and nothing is working.  Fear not!  Remember the scoring tool I told you not to use?  Now is the time.  You need to create small scratched on the paper. As said, the goal is to allow the solution to penetrate and activate the paste.  Be careful you don't gouge the wall.  You will need to use a broad knife to scrape the paper and excess paste off the wall.

Finally, after you went around the room and scrubbed all the adhesive off the wall, give the room some time to dry before giving the walls a light sand to remove any unwanted burrs or texture.

Keep in mind that Wallpaper removal isn't the easiest or cleanest job.  But it's not impossible. You just need the right tools and some elbow grease.
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