How to Remove Old Wallpaper

Audio Transcript

To remove ordinary wallpaper, you need to gather a few simple items.

  • A pre-tape drop cloth

  • A bucket of water

  • A paint roller and pan

  • A perforator

  • A scraper (which looks a lot like a putty knife but has a slot for replaceable blades)

  • Wallpaper removing solvent

  • And a bucket full of patients

  1. The first step is to protect the floor and molding from water damage.

    • Use a pre-taped plastic drop cloth and tape it to the top of the baseboard floor molding.

    • Go all around the perimeter of the area and then unfold it into the room to cover the floor.

    If you skip this step, it can get messy, not to mention the damage that water can do to floors and baseboards.

  2. The second step is to score the wallpaper with a razor scraper or perforating tool.

    It's a perfect gadget for removing wallpaper from walls made of wall board or jimson drywall, because it won't damage the paper face of the wall board. And that means you won't have to spend time repairing the walls later. When you score the paper with holes or slits it allows the moisture, when applied, to break down the adhesive.

    If at any time you notice the razor is getting dull, be sure to change it.

  3. The next step is to mix the wallpaper removing solvent with water.

    The solvent breaks down the adhesive, so that the wall covering loosens and can easily be scraped off. Use either a 50/50 combination of vinegar and water or a 25/75 solution of liquid laundry softener and water.

  4. The fourth step is to apply the wallpaper solvent with a paint roller or a liquid sprayer.

    • Start with a three foot section of wallpaper. After a few applications of moisture and a little time to let it soak in, you'll be ready for the next step.

    • Now peel and scrape off the wet paper. Work on a three foot wide section of the wall at a time and then move on to the next area. As you scrape off the old wallpaper, let it fall onto the plastic drop cloth.

    • When all the wallpaper is removed, use a sponge and some warm water to remove any excess paste from the walls.

    Then just roll up the entire mess—wallpaper, drop cloth and all.

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