Removing Wallpaper the Right Way

Nothing dates a room more than the paper on the walls. Maybe you’ve just moved in and felt you were stuck with the previous owner’s choices, or maybe you simply regret a choice you made years ago. Either way, you want that paper off your walls. Well, get ready for a messy job!

Plan to spend a weekend getting that paper down. While it is possible that it might not take that long, it is always better to be prepared for the worst scenario.

You will need to have on hand:

  • Some plastic and tape to protect your baseboard and floors.
  • A couple of putty knives.
  • Some wallpaper stripping mixture from your local hardware store.
  • One or two spray bottles will come in handy as well.

Your first step is to remove everything from your wall, to include outlet covers and vents. Be sure to cover those openings with plastic and tape as well as your baseboard and a few inches of floor along your wall.

When you are ready to start the actual removal, start from a corner or around an outlet cover where the paper is easier to lift from the wall. Start slow! If you see that the paper is bringing up part of the drywall as you peel it off, stop immediately.

If the paper comes off clean, take your time and remove the paper foot by slow foot. All of the paper might not be coming off the wall, but that is okay. Even if you can only remove the top portion of the paper, it will make the next step easier.

If the paper isn’t budging without a fight, then you’ll have to go to plan B. Wet down the paper with the stripping mixture a small section at a time and give the solution time to soak through the paper to dissolve the adhesive backing. You will want to limit the space you wet, because you do not want the solution to dry before you get the paper off the wall. If the solution isn’t making it all the way through the paper, use a scoring tool (gently, to avoid drywall damage).

You may find that the some of the backing remains on your wall. Use the putty knives to scrape that residue off. Apply more of the stripping solution, if needed.

Like we said earlier, this is a messy job, but once that outdated paper is off your walls, you can really start to have fun. Now you have an empty canvas to create the room you want, not the room you felt you were stuck with.