After living in our house for 19 years I decided that it was time for a change and undertook the removal of the wallpaper that we had in our kitchen. I was lucky. My dad was our wallpaper installer and he used sizing so it came off easily.
That wasn’t what happened in our first house that we purchased when we got married. There were many layers of wallpaper and it was a much bigger task!
If you have wallpaper and are ready for a change here are the steps to remove it from your walls.
- Remove all of the electrical face plates, light switches and any nails used to hang pictures. Cover anything electrical with masking or duct tape to protect them from water. It is a good idea to cut the power to the room to avoid water and electricity problems.
- Place a drop cloth on the floor that is water resistant to keep water off of the carpet, hardwood or tile floor.
- Test a corner of the wallpaper to see if it easily comes off without taking off the drywall. If it doesn’t come off easily you can use a solvent to help with the removal or you may need to rent a steamer.
- A solvent can be made at home by mixing hot water with a few tablespoons of white vinegar or hot water and fabric softener in a spray bottle. The important thing to remember is that hot water is needed to work with the vinegar or fabric softener to dissolve the glue. Spray on the wallpaper in a section that you can strip in a 15 minute period.
- The paper will begin to sag or pull away from the wall if this method is working. If it doesn’t you may need to rent a commercial wallpaper steamer. This tool has a pad where steam is released. The steamer is held in place to allow the steam to penetrate the paper and soften the glue. Use a scraper to remove the wallpaper once it has loosened. If it is not coming off you might need to use the steamer for a longer period of time but also make sure that you are not damaging the wall by using too much steam. Make sure you wear gloves since the wallpaper and glue will be hot. If your wallpaper is very old or you have many layers to take off, this method will save you the most time.
- Once the wallpaper is removed the last remaining glue should be washed off using a sponge and very hot water with a small amount of soap. When the remaining adhesive is removed, rinse the wall with clean water and use a towel to dry it. If the wall was damaged use spackling to repair it.
Removing wallpaper will give your house a whole new look. It is a labor of love that gives you a sense of accomplishment when the project is finished!