The Art of Wallpaper Removal

40d28695 971c 454b 83e4 8c60f51787e1

The Art of Wallpaper Removal

As one of the top painting contractors in Virginia, we provide wallpaper removal as part of our services. For those who prefer to tackle the job themselves, we offer tips below to make it easier because removing old wallpaper can be challenging.

Things to Know Before You Start

        • We typically advise against layering wallpaper on top of existing paper unless the existing one is in pristine condition, not very old, and no additional layers are beneath it.
        • If there are already several wallpaper layers on the wall, it is recommended to strip them off before applying any new layers.
        • If the current wallpaper is vinyl, foil, grass cloth, burlap, or fabric, it must come down first.
        • If you decide to wallpaper over existing wallpaper, clean the existing paper properly and apply a special primer first. You can purchase the primer at any home improvement or paint store and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
        • Remove all wallpaper if you plan on painting the wall instead of repapering. We don’t recommend painting over wallpaper. While it’s possible, it will make removing that wallpaper in the future more difficult.

Room Preparation

        • Take everything off the walls and remove objects throughout the room.
        • You’ll need space to move around while papering. Unless there’s a lot of space in the room, move furniture out or at least into the center and cover it with plastic sheeting taped down.
        • We recommend placing large rags or towels along baseboards and then covering them with plastic drop cloths taped to the baseboards.

Removing Newer Wallpaper 

Newer wallpaper must be tested to see if it will easily peel away.

        • You can check by pulling on a corner seam.
        • If it comes away easily, then it’s strippable wallpaper. This makes your job much easier!
        • Keep pulling on both strips’ corners until the wallpaper is completely removed.
        • If you notice the drywall peeling off as you pull on the paper, it’s best to stop and seek professional help.
        • Peeling drywall could indicate that your drywall was not prepared or sealed correctly when it was wallpapered. The wall will require spackling, sanding, and sealing with an oil-based sealer before it can be wallpapered. Leave that to the professionals.

Removing Older Wallpaper

        • Apply a specialty liquid stripper to the wallpaper following the manufacturer’s instructions.
        • Start at the top and work down the wall in small sections, allowing the liquid to soak in.
        • Strip the paper starting at the upper corner while it’s still moist.
        • Do not let the liquid dry on the wallpaper.
        • If the paper isn’t soaking up the liquid, you use coarse sandpaper or a specialty scoring tool on the paper – without damaging the sheetrock beneath it.
        • Wet the wallpaper again and try again to peel it. Sometimes, it’s necessary to apply several coats of the liquid mixture before the paper peels off.

Removing Washable Wallpaper

Washable wallpaper presents a different challenge as it won’t absorb liquid easily.

        • To remove it, you must first score it with coarse sandpaper or a scoring tool to break through its protective coating.
        • Use a liquid stripper and let it sit for five to ten minutes before removing it from the wall to ensure better absorption and make the process easier.
        • If you’re finding it difficult to remove the paper or it’s pulling the drywall away, you’ll need to call professionals for help.

Steam Removal

Removing wallpaper with a steamer is a task that requires two people. It is essential to pull the wallpaper while steaming it. This process can be challenging, and prior experience removing this type of wallpaper is highly recommended. You may need to score the paper before steaming it, so read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the steamer properly. Our advice, however, is to call the pros and let them do a steam removal.

If you need assistance removing your wallpaper, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We work with homeowners throughout Northern Virginia to help them with this project and others.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Awards and Recognition

Alternate Best Pick Ribbon
Member of Painting Contractor Association


Featured on houzz