How to Remove Old Wallpaper

How To Remove Old Wallpaper in Grand Rapids MI

Pick an inconspicuous corner in your room and peel back a little bit of wallpaper. If there aren’t too many layers underneath, wallpaper removal can be an easy DIY job. However, several layers of wallpaper could present challenges better handled by wallpaper stripping contractors. In this blog post, we will go through the steps for how to remove old wallpaper so you can remodel your home to your liking. Wallpaper stripping is hard work, but worth the effort in the end.

Prep the Room

All electrical covers for light switches and outlets should be covered with masking tape. This will protect them from any water or solvents you use for later steps. Cover the floor with an old sheet or tarp to protect it from water drips.

Test Strength of Wallpaper

If your wallpaper is “strippable” it should easily peel off your walls. Use a utility knife to life the edge of a seam and gently tug down wallpaper at an angle. To avoid tearing the wallpaper, keep both hands close to the lifting edge. Some wallpaper use a special glue that make it easy to remove from walls. If this is the case, there should be no damage to the underlying drywall paper when you peel back the first layer. If you notice pieces of wallpaper being left behind as you peel, you’ll need to try a more effective wallpaper removal method.

Spray or Steam Wallpaper

If you discover your walls are a graveyard for layers of outdated wallpaper, don’t worry. There are more advanced methods you can use to get rid of wallpaper, such as spraying or steaming. First, use a tool like a utility knife or special wallpaper-perforating tool to perforate wallpaper. This will allow the solution or steam to work its way into multiple layers of wallpaper so you can tear sheets easier.

For the spray wallpaper removal method, you have your choice of different solutions. Inexpensive home-made solutions include mixing a few tablespoons of white vinegar or fabric softener with hot water. Spray this solution onto the surface of the wallpaper and give it enough time to soak in without drying. Spray wallpaper in sections to make the job manageable. A good tip from the DIY Network is to only spray as much wallpaper as you will be able to remove within 15 minutes.

The best way to remove old wallpaper that’s been in your house for decades is to use a wallpaper steamer. For the steam wallpaper removal method, pick up a wallpaper steaming tool from your local home improvement store. Open a window or run a fan in the room before you start to keep down the humidity in your house.

Since steamers drip scalding hot water, you’ll also want to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. Press the steamer against the wall and wait until the wallpaper has softened. Use a scraper to remove wallpaper. Using your hands to remove superheated wallpaper will only result in burns.

The wallpaper removal contractors at New Look Painting are dedicated to helping customers remove old wallpaper from drywall and other surfaces. If you are interested in our wallpaper removal services or any other of our residential or commercial painting services, give our Grand Rapids painters a call at (616) 532-3300.