Tagged: How to remove wallpaper

Jun 09

How To Remove Wallpaper

How To Remove Wallpaper (courtesy of Lowes.com)

When you start to remodel a room, you don’t want anything to get in your way, especially old wallpaper. We’ll show you how to remove old wall covering so you walls and your room are ready for anything, whether it’s a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper. Let’s get to work!

This bedroom is going to get a new look, and we’re gonna do the renovation in small steps, that will have a big impact. The first step is removing the wallpaper, which can be quite simple. All you need are a few tools and a little patience, to let those tools do their work. You will need:

A Scoring Tool
A Scraper or Broadknife
A Screwdriver
Low Tack Painter’s Tape
Wallpaper Stripper
A Paint Brush
Paint Roller
Roller Cover and Paint Tray
Drop Cloths
A Garbage Can and Bags
A Stepstool or Ladder
A Bucket and Sponge
Dishsoap or TSP Cleaner
Wallpaper Primer/Sealer or Interior Paint Primer

You can also use a wallpaper steamer. Since we’ll be working with removal strippers, we’ll need to wear eye protection and rubber gloves. You can find detailed steps and a tool list in our printable instructions at Lowes.com/videos.

Start off by prepping the space. Move any furniture away from the walls, and cover everything with drop cloths. Also, make sure you use canvas drop cloths on the floors, since plastic can get pretty slippery.

Remove all window treatments and electrical covers.

Also, turn off the power to the electrical outlets in the room, and apply low tack tape over them, or any other surface you don’t want to get stripper on. And, if you’re going to use wallpaper stripper, be sure to have adequate ventilation.

Now, score the paper. You want to start in a 3×3 test section, starting with the ceiling, and preferably along a seam. A scoring tool creates hundreds of tiny holes in the paper, which allows the wallpaper stripper to penetrate and loosen the adhesive backing.

Then, generously spray or roll on the stripper, using a paint roller to apply it to the walls. Now, here’s where your patience comes in. Allow the stripper to set on the walls according to the manufacturer’s instructions – typically about 15 minutes. And, trust me – you definitely don’t want to shortcut this step! Now, if the paper stripper starts to dry, you’ll have to reapply it, so make sure the area stays wet.

Another option is to use a steamer. Again, have patience, and keep the steamer tight against the wall. And be careful, because steam is very hot. Now, after steaming the wallpaper, use a broadknife to lift a seam, and begin pulling the paper away at a 45° angle. Now, if the wallpaper was hung using a wallpaper primer/sealer, it should peel off easily, just like this. If it does, continue scoring and applying stripper or steaming, in sections about 4 feet wide, and remove the rest of the paper. Work from top to bottom, and always put the scraps in a heavy duty garage bag.

Now, if your wallpaper isn’t cooperating, you might have to troubleshoot. And, here’s a common problem – only the paper backing remains. Now, it’s easily fixed! Just apply some more stripper, wait the recommended time, and peel away!

Now, another common problem is paper that takes bits of drywall with it. This means the wall wasn’t primed properly, prior to application, and the adhesive is working a little too well. So, re-wet the surface, and try to carefully remove the paper. You might end up repairing the drywall. If so, watch “How To Repair Drywall” at Lowes.com/videos.

Now, once all the paper has been removed, you might notice a bit of paste residue or bits of paper backing still on the wall. Apply your wallpaper stripper again, working from top to bottom, around the room. Wait the recommended time, then, wash it off with soap and water. Repeat this step until all of the residue is removed.

Once the walls are clean, you’re ready for the next step. Now, if you’re painting, you’ll need to apply an interior primer. But, if you’re applying new wallpaper, like us, you’ll need to prep the walls. So, watch “How To Measure and Prep For Wallpaper”, at Lowes.com/videos. We’ll show you the key steps to making your wallpaper job a complete success!


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