Best Way to Remove Wallpaper


Authored by Donna Johnson in Home Improvement
Published on 09-19-2009

Whether you’ve just bought a home or are looking to change your decor, one problem you may have to deal with is old wallpaper. Removing wallpaper is a job that many people dread but it really isn’t as difficult as you may expect. In fact, with the right tools and a little work, wallpaper removal can be very easy.

Wallpaper and wallpaper border will generally come off of your wall in two layers. The top layer, on which the design is printed, generally peels off fairly easily with no work at all. The bottom layer that is actually glued to the wall, is the part that is most difficult to remove.

The best way to remove wallpaper is to use a scraper or putty knife. These are specialty tools that can be found at any home improvement store. You will also need something to soften the wallpaper and the glue holding it to the wall. For smaller jobs, such as wallpaper border only or a single wall of wallpaper, you may want to try liquid fabric softener first. If you’re like many people, you’ll already have that on hand. Mix a small amount of the softener into a spray bottle with hot water. Saturate the wallpaper or border with the mixture and allow it to soak in for a couple of minutes. The wallpaper will scrape off easily. Remove excess bits of wallpaper from the scraper often to keep the blade clear and avoid damaging the wall. Wipe any excess fabric softener off the walls with a damp cloth after removing each section, especially when removing border, as it will run down the wall. This method works especially well if you peel off the wallpaper’s upper layer before using the fabric softener mixture.

If you have a bigger wallpaper removal job to do or if the fabric softener doesn’t do the trick, you’ll need to invest in specialty products. The first thing you will need is the actual wallpaper removal solution itself. Wallpaper strippers are available in ready-to-use liquid, liquid concentrate, and gel forms. Whichever form you choose, you will need to score, or make small holes, in the wallpaper before applying the stripper. This will allow the stripper to penetrate all layers of the wallpaper. After allowing the stripper to soak in as per the manufacturer’s directions, use the scraper to remove the wallpaper.

If the fabric softener method did not work for you and you prefer not to work with any type of chemical strippers, you can steam wallpaper or border to remove it. This will require the use of a wallpaper steamer, which you can rent from many home improvement stores or equipment rental centers. You will need to use caution when using a wallpaper steamer, to avoid burning yourself on the steam.

As you can see, there are several methods for wallpaper removal. The best way to remove wallpaper will vary from person to person, depending on your budget, amount of work you’re willing to do, and whether you live a green lifestyle. Fabric softener is cheap but requires a little more work, commercial strippers cost more but mean less elbow grease, and the use of steamers requires a rental fee and the means to transport the steamer to and from your home. Consider your lifestyle and time and physical constraints carefully, and you will easily find your best way to remove wallpaper.


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