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Wallpaper Removal… Stripping it Down


They’re two of the most dreaded words in home renovation: wallpaper removal. While this can definitely be a more demanding DIY project than painting an accent wall, you can avoid many challenges by doing your homework beforehand.

Roll Out the…. Drop Cloth and Tools

Roll Out the…. Drop Cloth and Tools

To help the job go smoothly, you’ll need to start with the right tools, such as drop cloths, a ladder, wallpaper scorer, scraper and a painter’s mask. Move furniture away from the wall to create a three-foot working area, covering all the floors and furniture with drop cloths. Don’t forget to remove all pictures, mirrors and other items from the walls. Next, turn off power to the room from the main breaker box and remove the outlet covers and switch plates.

Avoid a Sticky Situation

Some of the newer wallpaper is strippable, meaning you can remove it without water or chemicals. To check, pry up a corner of the wallcovering with a putty knife and try to peel it away from the wall. If it comes off fairly easy, you’re in luck. Just pull the paper slowly away from the wall at a 15-degree angle to avoid damaging the drywall.

Avoid a Sticky Situation

Don’t Come Unglued

If your wallpaper doesn’t easily peel away, you’ll need a little more elbow grease to get the job done. Wear a painter’s mask to avoid any harmful fumes and, working in small sections, use a wallpaper scorer to puncture holes in the wallpaper, backing and glue. Be careful, applying too much pressure can damage the drywall beneath.

Next, mix one cup of vinegar with one gallon of hot water and apply it to the wall using a spray bottle. Or, you can mix equal amounts of hot water and fabric softener and apply the mixture using a paint roller. Allow 30 minutes for the solution to seep through the holes and dissolve the adhesive underneath. Now, you should be able to gently pull off the paper and backing. For stubborn spots, reapply the solution and scrape them off. Wipe down the area with a clean, moist sponge and allow it to dry for 24 hours.

If your walls are not textured, meaning wallpaper was applied directly to the drywall, you will need to add texture before applying a coat of paint to highlight your new style!


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