At some point in your life you have probably encountered some ugly wallpaper. You might have even put up with it for months or years after moving into a new home. And now you’ve finally made the decision to take it down. This was probably an easy decision to make.
Now comes the hard part. How do you take down the wallpaper without damaging the wall behind it? You have several options including steaming or spraying with chemicals. But you’ll have to decide which method works best for you.
An inexperienced home owner may have no idea how to strip wallpaper. It’s not very difficult, but it can take a lot of patience. There is an art to removing wallpaper and once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it’s easier than you think.
The method you choose to take down the wallpaper will depend on the type of wallpaper. Some wallpapers can be stripped dry. Others will require a chemical removal solution or steam. Any damage left on the wall will depend on how the wallpaper was originally installed.
Each wallpaper installation is different. It really depends on exactly what the original installer did before. If the wall wasn’t sealed properly with a primer before installation, removing the wallpaper can cause damage to the wall texture or the drywall itself.
If you prefer not to use chemicals during the removal process steam might be your best option. In the past, steamers involved propane tanks and they were difficult to operate. Now steamers are electric and easier to use. However, there is a chance of scalding your hands and usually the removal process takes about twice as long with a steamer versus chemicals.
We generally recommend using a concentrated removal chemical that is mixed with water. The solu tion will dissolve the glue like wallpaper backing making it easy to peel off.
Before you begin, you should gather all the tools you will need and do some prep work. Good tools to have include: 3 or 6 inch broad knives (scrapers), a ladder, a scoring tool, and a garden type sprayer (a 2 gallon sprayer will work). You will also want drop cloths or plastic sheeting to cover the flooring.
Start by taking off outlet covers and remove or cover trim boards with tape. Mix your removal chemical with hot water. Now soak a small to medium sized test area on the wall with the solution. Try lifting the edge of the wallpaper to see if the solution is working. If the wallpaper does not come off easily, spray more solution on and let it soak into the wallpaper. You may need to reapply more than once.
Once the wallpaper is coming up easily, you should be able to strip it off by hand. The adhesive backing may be left on the wall which can be scraped off with your broad knife.
If after letting the wallpaper soak, you still can’t peel the wallpaper off easily, you may try using a scoring tool in a circular motion to create tiny punctures in the wallpaper and allow the solution to soak through better. But only do this as a last resort, if you’re not careful, you could damage the drywall with your punctures.
As you remove the wallpaper, there’s a good chance you will find more layers of wallpaper underneath. You should remove each layer one at a time. Do not try to remove more than one layer at a time as you may damage the wall.
Once the wallpaper and its backing are removed, spray the wall with the mixture one last time and scrape off any missed spots. Then, wipe down the wall with a moist sponge and let it dry for a few days.
Once the wallpaper and backing are removed, spray the wall with the removal solution one last time and then scrape off any leftover material. Finally, wipe down the wall with a damp sponge and let it dry for at least a day.
Now you’re ready to repair any damage and apply new paint, texture, or wallpaper.
As always, if this seems like to big a project to accomplish yourself, Rhodes Custom Finishes is here to do the job correctly and efficiently. Call us today at 636-385-6655 to schedule your wallpaper removal job.