How to Remove Wallpaper
Taking off wallpaper can be a pain. Here’s how to make the process seem like a breeze.
Protect the floor and furniture
Take everything off the walls, including outlet covers, switch plates, and vents. Additionally, turn off the electricity to the room. Use halogen work lamps instead. Move any furniture you can’t get out of the room into the center of the room and cover it with drop cloths. Cover the carpet or floor as well.
Pull off the face
Don’t use any water for this step. Remove the top layer of paper and leave the backing on the wall. Start in a corner near the ceiling or under a switch plate to start removing the wallpaper. This is where the paper tends to be looser. Use a putty knife to lift the facing off the wall.
Apply hot water
Once the facing is off, apply hot water to the backing using a sponge. Let the backing absorb the water for no more than 15 minutes. Water may need to be applied several times in order to soften the wallpaper.
Scrape off the backing
Use a metal spatula with a flexible blade and rounded edges to scrape off the backing. However, be careful when scrapping. If you get too aggressive, you might gouge the wall.
Once the backing is gone, there is going to be a lot of paste on the wall. Spray any of the remaining paste with a gel stripper and let it sit for fifteen to twenty minutes. You can purchase a premixed stripper at a hardware store or wallpaper store. Afterward, scrape off the gel and the paste underneath until the paste is gone.
Using a joint compound, patch any damages to the wall. Sand the wall to smooth any rough areas and to remove any backing or paste that is still there. Afterward, prime the walls. If you plan on using a new wallpaper, use an acrylic primer. Acrylic primers are formulated for wallpaper application and make it easier to remove the wallpaper for the next time. If you plan on painting, use a primer designed for paint.