Interior Walls & Ceilings

How To: Strip Wallpaper

stripping wallpaper

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How strong is your relationship with your spouse? Do you want to test it? Spend a weekend stripping wallpaper together! Just kidding: Whether you’re working solo or with help from a partner, it’s not so hard to remove wallpaper. As with so many do-it-yourself projects, preparation, patience, and perseverance will be a few of the most valuable tools you can bring to the job.

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If you have strippable wallpaper, then you should be able to peel up a corner and remove big swaths. Not so fortunate? The following steps will help you remove wallpaper from virtually any surface:

scoring wallpaper for removal
  1. Chill Out. Take a deep breath. This is going to be okay.
  2. Prepare the Wall. Roll your scoring tool over the entire wall in a random pattern, making small holes or slits in the wallpaper. This will allow your wallpaper stripper to seep in and soften the glue.
  3. Apply Stripper. Mix your wallpaper stripper with warm water per instructions on the label, then spray this solution over the entire wall. Allow several minutes of soaking time.
  4. Scrape. Begin removing the wallpaper with a paint scraper or putty knife. Note that a smaller blade is likely to work better in corners and close to doors or window frames, while a larger blade will be more efficient to use on uninterrupted wall expanses.
  5. Repeat. Repeat steps #3 and #4 as necessary. You will get there! Promise.
  6. Bring Out the Big Guns. Frustrated by an especially stubborn area? Try using an electric steamer to soften the glue further.
  7. Scrub. With the wallpaper removed, work your way over the entire area with warm water and a scrub pad in take off any residual glue. If you plan to paint or apply another finish, allow the wall to dry thoroughly beforehand.

With any luck, the above process won’t consume your full weekend, and couples counseling won’t be necessary in its aftermath!