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How to remove wallpaper

Need to remove the old wallpaper. What is the best method?

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Posted 2013-12-13T03:47:33+0000  by Danb59 Danb59

Hello Danb59 and thank you for joining The Community!  We are glad that you are here.


I have a great resource for you: our Removing Wallpaper Project Guide.   You will first need to determine if your wallpaper is vinyl (which will peel off easily starting from a loose corner) or the older paper and adhesive type (which will require a penetrating solution, perforating tool, wallboard knife, and patience).   If your wallpaper is the latter type, the Wallpaper Removers Buying Guide details liquid and gel removers as well as steamers which are used to break the adhesive from the wallpaper to allow removal. 


Please be sure to wear safety glasses and cover the floor (with newspaper or a drop cloth) directly in front of the wall to protect it too.


Best wishes on your project and please keep us posted on your progress.


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Posted 2013-12-13T14:41:32+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL
Hello Danb59!

The key to removing wallpaper is re-wetting the water-based adhesive between the paper and the wall.

While some suggest the perforating tool (Paper Tiger), I do not.

In my experience, this method also perforates the wall creating the need to skim coat and sand the entire room.

I am repeatedly asked this question at The Paint Pit and when my customers return, they always say how easy it was.

1) Use an old roller cover or a tile sponge as your spreader;
2) Mix one-half gallon of Dif Concentrate with warm water;
3) Wet one wall three times allowing the moisture to saturate about five-minutes between coats;
4) Five-minutes after the last coat, peel and discard the paper ... use a dull, plastic scraper instead of a sharp metal edge; and 
5) Repeat, one wall at a time.

You will need to clean the wall to remove remnants of the wallpaper adhesive.

In most cases, I recommend priming with an oil-based primer tinted similar to your new color ... once dry, paint with and topcoat.

Once done, please take time to come back and share your thoughts on this process.
Posted 2014-04-17T22:48:11+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL

I share your dislike of the scoring tool. Too often I have seen this tool create thousands of tiny punctures through the drywall paper itself. This allowed water to soften the drywall paper and  needless damage was done in the process of scraping the paper. The breaks  in the paper and the thousands of punctres had to be patched! I personally preferred to sand the surface with 36 grit sandpaper. It is not neccessary to reach the paste itself, but merely break through the plastic coating and inks on the surface of the wallpaper which prevent water penetration. 36 grit sandpaper actually more thoroughly breaks the surface than the scoring tool, with far more penetrations than the scoring tool's simple punctures.

In a case where there are literally several layers of wallpaper with considerable thickness, I could see that the scoring tool  might be usefull in penetrating through more than just one layer, yet not reaching the underlying drywall and doing damage to it.
Posted 2015-02-04T05:27:49+0000  by ordjen
Absolutely Ordgen!

Several layers and the scoring tool works fine ... maybe required, even!

But one layer of paper and this tool results in creating a secondary repair that is possibly worse than removing the paper.

The very coarse sandpaper (36-grit) is unusual to me.

It seems that it might be difficult to break the surface of the paper without digging into the wallboard.

But reading between the lines, I think your unspoken words might be, "press just firmly enough to break the surface of the paper, without digging into the wallboard."

Does that sound right?

As always Ordjen, I appreciate you sharing your extensive knowledge with The Community!
Posted 2015-02-05T12:45:31+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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