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How to Remove Wallpaper

Removing Paper or Vinyl Wall Covering Can Be Easy or Difficult, Depending on Whether the Walls were Sized

© 2011 by Alyssa Davis; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

Removing wallpaper the DIY way.

Decorating and renovating your home without hiring a contractor can save you thousands of dollars throughout the project, although sometimes the contractor is necessary if your project includes plumbing or electrical work because of licenses and building permits.

But home renovations such as learning how to remove wallpaper rarely require the help of a professional; it just takes some basic research and background preparation in order to succeed. Here are a few tips that will make the job easier and faster:

What You Will Need

  • Protection for the floor, such as a drop cloth that you would use for painting
  • Scraper for the wallpaper, available at any hardware store
  • Remover for the glue, made yourself or bought at a hardware or home improvement store
  • Scraper for the glue in case the remover does not cut through the layers; preferably rubber or something else that is gentle on drywall
  • Lots of patience and time

Mixing the Glue Remover

The first step after protecting your flooring and removing the furniture is to get ready to dissolve the glue. Gather your ingredients for removing the glue, such as a homemade glue remover recipe or store-bought option.

To make it yourself, add about a cup of vinegar to a mop bucket filled with warm water, stir until blended, and fill a spray bottle with the mixture. Completely saturate the area with the glue remover, especially areas with heavy, thick glue. Give the mixture about thirty minutes to work, more if the space has a lot of glue.

It also helps to score the wall paper first with a wallpaper scoring roller; this makes tiny cuts in the paper so that the glue remover can penetrate and do the job of loosening the glue more effectively.

Removing the Wallpaper

This step requires a lot of patience, and a great deal of trial and error, because it mostly depends on whether the wallpaper-hanger did the job correctly and how potent your glue remover has been. Your goal is to remove the wallpaper strip by strip instead of piece by piece, and this usually takes a gentle but firm hand.

Removing old wallpaper and preparing wall with a scraper; photo courtesy Anette Snarby If the wallpaper does not want to come off, you can try spraying it with your mixture again if glue seems to be the issue. Sometimes the issue is simply old wallpaper, in which case you may have to resort to your scraper to remove the wallpaper.

Why might the glue not be loosening, allowing you to remove the wall covering? Sometimes painting and wallpaper contractors save time and expense by not “sizing” the sheetrock wall prior to hanging the paper.

This process is essentially priming or sealing the wall to prevent the glue from penetrating the drywall sheet’s surface. It is a barrier, if you will. When the sizing step is skipped, your work will be more extensive.

Saving the drywall below requires as little scraping as possible to avoid damage, so keep that in mind if this is your goal. Excessive scraping will ruin the drywall beneath, tearing out chunks of it and/or pitting the surface. This can be usually be repaired by skimming and sanding the walls.

Often this results in the need to find a contractor too, unless you have experience with this chore.

How to Proceed when Removing Wall Covering

Many people move around the room in a clockwise rotation, finishing the job in sections until all of the wallpaper has been removed. Others work in a counterclockwise pattern, especially left-handed people, and this method works just as well and the job will be completed just as quickly.

Avoid jumping from place to place, as this can cause you to feel overwhelmed with the project quickly instead of having a finish line that you can easily see.

About the Author:

Alyssa Davis writes and designs for and she is happy to share many ideas on creating stylish interiors with bear metal wall art and large metal wall cross.

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Article © 2011 Alyssa Davis all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

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