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Removing wallpaper can be a difficult task, but we can teach you how to remove it from plaster or drywall. Follow our step-by-step guide and learn how to remove wallpaper.
You might be able to avoid stripping old wallpaper if the existing wallpaper is:
Leaving your wallpaper on the wall is not recommended if:
It is important to know what kind of walls you have before you begin. The age of the wall usually determines whether it is drywall or plaster.
Plaster: Is found mostly in homes that are more than 50 years old. These walls are solid and sound dull if you knock on them.
Drywall: Has been used in homes for the past 50 years or so. Drywall is more delicate than plaster, so be careful not to damage the cardboard facing when using a wallpaper scraping tool.
Newer wallpapers are strippable, which means they can easily be removed without water or chemicals. If you know the wallpaper you are trying to remove was hung in recent years, you may be in luck.
Stop immediately. When this happens, it generally means that the drywall was not sealed with enough paint. Glue down any loose pieces and seams that have separated. Fill in uneven areas with non-shrinking spackling compound. Sand your repairs and apply an oil-based sealer with an enamel undercoat.
Apply Liquid Stripper Concentrate
Mix the liquid stripper concentrate with hot water according to the manufacturer’s directions. Apply the mixture to your walls with a broad brush or a sprayer. Work from top to bottom a section at a time.
Note: Do not try to tackle such a large area that the paper dries before you have a chance to remove it.
Some wallpapers are peel-able, which means that they have a top coat that comes off just like strippable paper. Once you have peeled off the top vinyl coat, you will have the backing left. Follow directions for stripping with water to remove the backing.
Note: Do not leave the backing on, even if it is in good condition.
When this happens, scuff the surface with coarse sandpaper or a scoring tool to allow the water to soak into the paper. Once it is thoroughly soaked, apply the wetting agent twice more and let it soak for 30 minutes. You will know it is ready when you can scrape off pieces with your fingernail.
The last resort for removing wallpaper is to steam-strip. This job is strenuous because you must steam and strip at the same time. You might want to ask a friend for help.
A steamer uses boiling water to soften the glue between the wallpaper and the wall. If you are removing vinyl-coated wallpaper with a steamer, you still have to use a scoring tool to punch holes in the paper so the steam can reach the glue. You can purchase or rent a steamer, the choice depends on how frequently you plan on using the steam.
Note: Carefully read the manufacturer's directions, as they may vary from machine to machine.
Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.