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Home > > How To Remove Wallpaper

How To Remove Wallpaper

How to Remove Wallpaper: A Step-by-Step Guide

Easily and Neatly Strip Walls to Prepare for a Fresh New Look

Before applying new wallpaper or a fresh coat of paint, it is essential to remove any existing wallpaper or woodchip from the walls. This process is crucial to achieve a smooth and clean surface, which is essential for a professional-looking finish.

Wallpapering over stripped walls prevents creases and air bubbles from appearing when you hang the new wallpaper. Painting over wallpaper doesn’t always give a smooth finish, and it is much harder to remove in the future. Removing wallpaper also means you get a great finish, and your new wallpaper or paint lasts much longer.

There are two methods to remove wallpaper from walls, and your choice depends on how easy the existing wallpaper is to remove and how much there is to remove. The two options are a chemical stripping solution and an electric steam wallpaper stripper.

Safety First

Before starting to strip wallpaper, it is essential to take safety precautions to avoid any accidents. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep chemicals and adhesives out of reach of children.
  • Always use a suitable ladder when working at height.
  • Safety goggles should be worn when stripping paper to protect eyes from falling paper, debris and hot water.

Chemical Stripping Solution

A stripping solution is a chemical liquid that can be applied to walls to help remove wallpaper. Solutions are available as a ready-to-use mixture, while some may need diluting with water. It can come in a bottle or as a spray for easy application.

Chemical solutions help to dissolve the adhesive and actively release the wallpaper, doing more of the hard work for you. Solutions are ideal for one or two layers of wallpaper in one room or if you're removing the wallpaper from a small area, like a feature wall.

It’s possible to make your own homemade stripping solution with hot water and liquid detergent, however, it is recommended to use a ready-to-use chemical solution. It saves time, and some untested detergents may not give the same results, or they could be harmful or damaging to the walls.

Electric Steam Wallpaper Stripper

An electric steam wallpaper stripper consists of a tank with a hose connected to a steam plate. The tank is filled with water, which is heated until it boils. Hot steam comes out of the steam plate, which is held against the wall. The steam penetrates through the perforated wallpaper to the old adhesive underneath, moistening it enough to loosen the paper from the wall.

Electric steam strippers are perfect for large areas of wallpaper and are recommended to remove stubborn wallpaper, including woodchip. They make stripping wallpaper much easier and faster. And they are a great investment if you’re likely to want to remove wallpaper again in the future as they can be used again and again.

Steps to Remove Wallpaper

Once you have decided on the best method for your project, the next step is to prepare your room ready for the wallpaper removal. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1

Remove a small section of the wallpaper from a corner first with a stripping knife. This will help you find out how many layers of wallpaper there are to remove.

Step 2

Try peeling the paper away to see if it can easily be removed without tearing. Some wallpapers are designed to easily release when they are pulled away from the wall dry. Even if only the top layer of the wallpaper is removed, it will save you some work, and you will only need to remove the backing sheet and the adhesive.

Step 3

Clear the room as much as possible. Anything that has to stay should be moved into the centre of the room and covered with dust sheets.

Step 4

Take everything off the walls, including vents. Mask the openings with masking tape and plastic sheeting (a section of plastic bag or polythene dust sheet is ideal for this).

Step 5

Turn off the electricity for the room, in case of water or steam getting into electrical sockets or switches. If you have any light switches on the wall, you might need to loosen or remove the faceplates to allow you to remove any paper that is stuck behind them (the faceplates might clip off or are fixed with retaining screws which you can loosen with a screwdriver). Before you do this, you should turn off the mains power at the fuse box / consumer unit completely or isolate the circuit you are working on.

Step 6

Protect any switches and sockets from debris and drips with masking tape and plastic sheeting.

Step 7

Lay dust sheets down against the wall to protect your floor covering and make the clean-up process a lot easier afterwards.

Step 8

Score the wallpaper with an orbital scorer. Scoring allows the steam or solution to penetrate the wallpaper. It loosens the adhesive against the wall and makes the job of removing wallpaper a lot easier. Painted wallpaper will usually repel water, so scoring

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective method for removing wallpaper from plaster walls?

The most effective method for removing wallpaper from plaster walls is to use a wallpaper steamer. Wallpaper steamers work by heating water to create steam, which is then directed onto the wallpaper. This process helps to loosen the adhesive and makes it easier to remove the wallpaper. Another effective method is to use a wallpaper removal solution, which can be purchased from most hardware stores. This solution is applied to the wallpaper, and it works by dissolving the adhesive, making it easier to remove.

Can one use a vinegar solution to peel off wallpaper, and if so, how?

Yes, one can use a vinegar solution to peel off wallpaper. To make the solution, mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the wallpaper and let it sit for a few minutes. The vinegar solution will help to loosen the adhesive, making it easier to peel off the wallpaper. Use a putty knife or scraper to remove the wallpaper.

What techniques are available for removing wallpaper adhesive residue?

Several techniques are available for removing wallpaper adhesive residue. One technique is to use a wallpaper removal solution, which can be purchased from most hardware stores. Apply the solution to the adhesive residue and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a scraper or putty knife to remove the residue. Another technique is to use hot water and fabric softener. Mix equal parts of hot water and fabric softener in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the adhesive residue and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a scraper or putty knife to remove the residue.

Is it possible to strip wallpaper using hot water, and what are the steps?

Yes, it is possible to strip wallpaper using hot water. To do this, fill a spray bottle with hot water and spray the wallpaper. Allow the water to soak into the wallpaper for a few minutes, then use a scraper or putty knife to remove the wallpaper. It may be necessary to repeat this process several times to remove all the wallpaper.

How should one go about detaching a wallpaper border without damaging the surface?

To detach a wallpaper border without damaging the surface, use a putty knife or scraper to gently lift the edge of the border. Apply heat to the border using a hairdryer or a heat gun. This will help to loosen the adhesive. Once the adhesive is loosened, use the putty knife or scraper to remove the border. Be careful not to damage the surface underneath the border.

What are the steps to manually scrape off old wallpaper efficiently?

To manually scrape off old wallpaper efficiently, start by using a scraper or putty knife to lift the edge of the wallpaper. Once the edge is lifted, use the scraper or putty knife to scrape the wallpaper off the wall. Work in small sections, and be careful not to damage the surface underneath the wallpaper. If the wallpaper is difficult to remove, use a wallpaper removal solution or a vinegar solution to help loosen the adhesive.

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