Since wallpaper has made a comeback, more people are taking on the daunting task of trying to strip and hang it themselves and the most common question our customers ask is… What is the best way to remove wallpaper?
So, we’re going to give you a few tips. It's not that difficult but it can take a lot of patience.
There are several options, including steaming or spraying with chemicals, but you'll have to decide which one will work best for you and your wallpaper
Which method you use to take down the wallpaper will often depend on the product. Some wallpapers can be stripped dry, while others will need a removal solution. And then, any damage to the wall will depend on how the wallpaper was installed in the first place.
Every job is different. It all stems from what the contractor, or you, did beforehand. For example, if the bare wall wasn't sealed with primer/sizing before the wallpaper was put up, removing the wallpaper can cause some damage to the wall's texture or drywall.
Using a steamer to remove wallpaper isn't as popular as it once was. They may work for some people, but you can end up scalding your hands in the process and it takes twice as long.
If your paper can't be dry-stripped, we recommend a concentrated remover solution that is mixed with water. The solution is made to dissolve the adhesive wallpaper backing and paste, making it easy to take off. Before starting, gather the right tools and do some basic preparations. Tools you'll need include: a 3-to-6-inch broad knife, a ladder, a scoring tool or knife blade and a sprayer (garden sprayer or plastic pump bottle).
You'll need a plastic sheet or a drop cloth to cover the carpet or floor. Take down outlet covers, then mix the solution and hot water together. We recommend DIF by Zinsser.
Next, test a small area of the wall, about a 3' x 3' section, preferably in a corner, by lifting an edge of the wallpaper. You have to determine what the grain is. It can be stripped left to right or up and down. If the wallpaper doesn't come off easily, spray the remover-solution mixture on the area and let it soak into the wallpaper. You may need to apply it SEVERAL times.
Try stripping the wallpaper by hand, again. If it starts to come off, continue stripping. The backing might be left, but you can remove it the same way you did the wallpaper, with the DIF and a broad knife.
If the mixture ISN’T penetrating through the wallpaper, and “CAUTION“… use the scoring tool in light, circular motions to make tiny punctures into the old wallpaper. If you don’t have a scoring tool, use your knife blade and, lightly, score the paper horizontally, and every 12-24” vertically. Do it with the right pressure as to not gouge the drywall. Spray the paper again. This will allow the mixture to saturate behind the wallpaper and its backing quicker.
As you take off the wallpaper, you may find more underneath. No matter what the manufacturers tell you, you can only take down one layer at a time without risking damage to the wall.
Once the wallpaper and its backing are removed, spray the wall with the mixture one last time (to remove leftover paste) and scrape off any missed spots. Then, wipe down the wall with clean water and a sponge. Let dry. When the wall is dry, you can either paint, or prime/size, again, to hang new wallpaper.
If you find, however, that your wallpaper is still not coming off, after trying the above, just stop… and give us a call. We have been selling wallpaper for over 12 years and our experts will be glad to help you with more tips for that “stubborn” paper. We, also, have professional wallpaper hangers who can do the job for you… should you choose to not… DIY.