How to remove wallpaper
If you’re wondering how to remove wallpaper, one expert suggests liberally coating the wallpaper with a removal solution. This will help saturate the wallpaper and loosen the glue. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Rita G. of Philadelphia)
Ready to take down that old wallpaper? Two highly rated handymen on Angie’s List, David Winter of Boise, Ill., and Dan Schmidt of Las Vegas, explain the process in seven simple steps.
1. Cover surrounding surfaces — floors, baseboards, countertops and any other exposed areas.
2. Purchase a wallpaper removal solution from your local hardware store. Follow the instructions on the label and mix the solution with warm water into a pump-up sprayer or bucket.
3. Apply the mixture generously with a sprayer or a sponge on the wallpaper.
4. Give the solution about five minutes to set. Then, apply a second coat. When it comes to the wallpaper being saturated, Winter says, "The wetter, the better!"
5. Wait 25 minutes for the second coat to soak into the wallpaper. This will allow the solution-water mixture to loosen the glue holding the paper to the wall.
6. Start from the top of the wall and slowly peel off the wallpaper in a downward motion. Wallpaper comes in two layers, a decorative layer and a backing layer. Simply repeat steps 3 through 6 for the backing layer. If a layer of wallpaper does not come off, Schmidt says, "You just need to add some more water to it, wait a little while and it will come off."
7. For any excess glue, follow Winter’s advice: "Glue on the wall can usually be taken off with more solution-water mixture and a sponge, hand towel or stiff brush."
If you find that there are sections where the wallpaper is not peeling off, use a perforator to aerate the section. Then, reapply a good coat of solution-water mixture, let it soak and attempt to peel it off again. If needed, use a 2-inch, flexible putty knife to scrape off difficult areas. This is only as a last resort. Remember to really soak the wallpaper and give it time to absorb.