Many homeowners find that they would rather have paint on their walls than wallpaper, but do not want to begin the daunting task of removing the wallpaper that is already on their walls. However, removing wallpaper is simpler and easier than hanging wallpaper, and can be done by most amateurs.
The first step in removing wallpaper is to peel off the decorative layer of wallpaper. Use a putty or taping knife to get under the top corner of wallpaper. Peel off the decorative layer across the top of the wall. Using a cardboard tube or a dowel, roll the paper off the wall, onto the tube, while rolling the tube down the wall. If the wallpaper is vinyl-coated, use a perforating tool to perforate the wallpaper and make it easier to remove.
Wallpaper remover should be sprayed on after the decorative layer of wallpaper is removed. Use latex gloves to keep the wallpaper remover off of your skin, and spray it liberally and evenly. Removing wallpaper requires the wallpaper adhesive to be dissolved, so you must wait for the solution to dissolve the wallpaper adhesive.
After the wallpaper adhesive has been dissolved, remove the rest of the wallpaper with a wallpaper scraper. Although regular wallpaper should scrape off easily, removing wallpaper that has been coated with vinyl requires much more patience. You may have to repeatedly spray the surface with wallpaper remover for this type of wallpaper.
If the wallpaper remover doesn't seem to be working, you can try a wallpaper steamer. These steamers can be rented or purchased, and are fairly inexpensive. Cover any wood floors or baseboards with plastic and towels to reduce the chance of water damage. The wallpaper steamer should loosen the remaining glue, allowing you to remove the wallpaper successfully. Wallpaper steamers are generally better on plaster walls than drywall, since drywall can suffer from water damage quite easily.
Once you have succeeded in removing the wallpaper, wash the walls with warm water and a mild detergent. Change the water often, as it is important that you remove the adhesive completely. Finally, wipe the walls with clean water.
When removing wallpaper, it can be easy to damage the wallboard that may be underneath. Make sure to peel the wallpaper off slowly and carefully. If the paper facing of the wallboard begins to peel, try to work on the wallpaper from another angle.
Written by Bronwyn Harris
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