Removing Wallpaper Wall Coverings

What You'll Need
Utility knife
Wall steamer
Liquid wallpaper remover
Stiff bristle scrubbing brush
Plastic sheeting
A-Frame ladder

With many decorating projects it is often necessary to begin by removing wallpaper wall coverings. Undertaking this yourself will ensure that you not only save money, but that you also get the job done quickly.

Step 1 – Clear Area

The removal of wallpaper wall coverings will result in a great deal of mess so it is prudent to remove any items of furniture from the vicinity or cover them up to protect them. If possible, use plastic sheeting which is less likely to suffer from particles of glue and paper sticking to it.

Step 2 – Existing Damage

In the event that your wall has already suffered damage which has caused the wallpaper to peel, begin by removing this section. Avoid using this as a tab to rip the paper away from the wall as this can cause damage to the surface beneath. Cut or tear the loose pieces of wallpaper to detach it from that which is still stuck to the wall.

Step 3 – Score Wallpaper

It is important to take some action to loosen the glue that holds the wallpaper wall coverings to the wall so that you do not cause damage to the wall during removal. As many types of wallpaper comprise a water-resistant coating, you must begin by using a utility knife to score the wallpaper to give the removal method access to the glue. Do this carefully at several strategic points, only applying enough pressure to cut the paper without damaging the wall beneath.     

Step 4 – Steam

Scoring the wallpaper will be especially relevant when using a wall steamer to dampen the wallpaper wall coverings. This will need to be undertaken in small sections at a time and care must be taken to ensure that you do not suffer burns. Using this method will loosen the glue which will enable you to use a scraper on the wall by starting at the bottom and working your way upwards. If any section of wallpaper proves stubborn, avoid forcing it and try laying a damp sponge on the surface before trying again if more steam does not work.  

Step 5 – Liquid Chemical Remover

As the above steam method can prove tedious and time-consuming, you can also consider applying a chemical wallpaper remover. This will involve applying a liquid solution onto the wall and leaving it in place in accordance with the instructions, which is useful to allow you time to undertake other tasks. The removing solution should be left to work while leaving the room ventilated for the recommended period of time. The wallpaper wall coverings can then be peeled away.

Step 6 – Rectify

Once all the wallpaper is removed, any last traces of glue can be removed with a scrubbing brush. Apply spackle to any holes or voids that you discover to make the surface ready for the new covering.