How to Remove Wallpaper and Wallpaper Glue Easily

Switching from wallpaper to paint is not a quick task if you take the DIY route. This messy, labor-intensive work adds days to the prep process if doing multiple rooms. Before you pick up that scraper, understand the tools you need and the steps you must take to do a thorough job. You might decide to hire help after all.

Tools Needed for Wallpaper Removal

You will need to hit the home improvement store to get everything on your shopping list. Expect to buy:

  • Commercial wallpaper remover; you also can get by with baking soda or dish detergent but plan on putting more elbow grease into the project
  • Spray bottle
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sponges
  • Steel wool
  • Towels
  • Putty knife
  • Bucket
  • Tarps
  • Ladder

The above are not high-dollar items, but they can add up if you are removing wallpaper from several rooms in your home.

Steps for Removing Wallpaper

Keep in mind that you must not only remove the wallpaper, but the glue holding it to the wall. If you skip this important step, your paint job will suffer. Remaining glue will cause the paint to look uneven at best and flake off at worst.

Prep - Start by covering floors and furniture with tarps. This will be messy work, and you do not want to damage anything in the process. Tape over trim and baseboards. Also cover all outlets and switches with tape, and then turn off electricity to the room before getting started.

Mix - Mix the commercial wallpaper remover according to directions or, if taking the home-recipe route, combine 1 to 2 tbsp. of dish detergent or baking soda to a spray bottle filled with warm water.

Spray & Scrape - Working in a 3-foot-by-3-foot area, spray the wallpaper to soften the glue. Wait about five minutes.

Begin lifting the wallpaper and scraping with the grain of the glue. If there are several layers of wallpaper, you must remove them one by one. Throughout the process, take care not to damage the drywall with the putty knife.

Clean Up - Once you have removed the wallpaper and the majority of the glue, go back around and spray any remaining paste with the solution. Then scrub it with steel wool and/or a sponge, depending on the size of the patch of glue. Dry with towels as you work your way around the room.

Once you have completed these steps, give the walls a good 24 hours to dry. Run your hands over the walls to see if any stickiness remains. If it does, you must repeat the spraying, scraping and clean-up process in those areas.

Depending on the size of the job, your skill level and available time, you may want to assign this task to a professional painter. Also keep in mind the height of your walls and your comfort level working on a ladder. ProTect Painters offers its services for a variety of prep work. We can perform:

Light Carpentry - Your trim may need repair before prep and painting.

Masonite or Stucco Repair - We can fix the cracks that come with this type of material over time.

Drywall Repair - If you started the removal process and found you were doing too much damage to the wall underneath, we can take over and fix any damage done.

We also can provide design consultation if you need help making final choices on paint finishes and colors. We take into consideration the architectural style of your home and its décor as well as your lifestyle and tastes. If your project involves a business instead of your home, we can provide all of the above services for commercial settings, too. Our experience spans both residential and commercial projects.

This post is a part of our series on Interior Painting tips.

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