Wallpaper Removal

How to remove wallpaper

Removing old wallpaper before you paint or apply new wallpaper creates a smooth and even look. However, stripping wallpaper is a detailed process that must be followed precisely.

1. Prepare the wall: Be sure to you turn off the electricity in the room, as you will apply moisture to the wall in the next step. Remove pictures, furniture near the wall, switch plates and anything else that may be in your way. Hang plastic sheeting at the bottom edge of the wallpapered area to assure the baseboard or floor isn't damaged.

2. Score the wall: A scorer helps prepare the wallpaper for removal. Scorers are sold at any home improvement store. With pressure applied, drag it from the top to the bottom of the wall. This will put tiny holes in the wallpaper, which allows the moisture to penetrate for easier removal.

3. Apply moisture: Use a solution specifically intended for removing the type of wallpaper you’re working with, and follow the instructions on the label. Be sure to moisten the entire wallpapered area, but do not apply excess liquid. Use a paint roller or spraying device to cover large areas. Once the solution has set into the wallpaper, you should notice the wallpaper start to bubble. Also, you can use special steaming devices to help remove stubborn paper or glue residue.

4. Peel wallpaper: Use a dull putty knife to loosen the wallpaper from the wall. Slide the putty knife under the seam of the wallpaper and carefully peel away. If you have trouble peeling away any sections, try adding more of the solution you used to moisten the wall. It is important that the putty knife is dull, as a sharp putty knife can damage your wall.

5. Scrape away glue residue: Once all of the old wallpaper is peeled off, the glue residue that was holding the wallpaper to the wall will remain. Apply another layer of the solution that you used to remove the wallpaper and let it soak into the glue. Then you will be able to scrape away the glue residue as you did with the wallpaper.

6. Final wash: Using a sponge and warm water, wash the walls from top to bottom. Do this only after all wallpaper and residue are completely removed.

7. Double check: Just to be completely sure all of the residue is removed from the walls, mix a solution containing 1 quart of water and 1 ounce of povidone-iodine. Spray the solution onto the wall, and watch for purple spots that indicate there is still residue on the wall. Once the last of the residue is removed, allow the wall to dry overnight before adding a sealer.

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