How to remove wallpaper in 4 easy steps
The task requires planning, basic skills and oodles of patience.
Many times, wallpaper is applied over old wallpaper, so stripping down to the bare wall takes patience. The key is in dissolving the glue with moisture. You can rent steamers for this, but I’ve found this technique works just as well.
Step 1: Prepping the wall
Spread out the drop cloth to protect the floor. Run the scoring tool in a circular motion over the wall to create small holes in the wallpaper.
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Step 2: Applying the stripper
Put on your safety glasses and rubber gloves. Pour some of the stripper into the plastic paint tray and use the roller to "paint" the stripper onto the wall; really saturate it. The stripper will seep through the holes and dissolve the glue. Leave it alone for the amount of time indicated on the stripper label.
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Step 3: Removing the wallpaper
Use the wallpaper scraper or drywall knife to peel away the paper and throw it away. Be careful not to damage the drywall as you scrape. If there’s more than one layer of wallpaper, you might have to remove them one at a time.
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Step 4: Cleaning up
Use a wet sponge to completely clean off any remaining glue.
What you'll need
- Drop cloth
- Serrated scoring tool, such as the Paper Tiger (made by Zinsser)
- Safety glasses
- Rubber gloves
- Wallpaper stripper (I like the gel type made by DIF)
- Plastic paint tray and foam paint roller
- 4-inch wallpaper scraper or drywall knife
- Garbage bags
- Large sponge
- Bucket of water
Time and talent
For a small room, set aside a full day to complete the job. If the wallpaper comes off easily, you’ll barely break a sweat. If not, you’ll be cursing the previous homeowners by lunchtime.