Should You Remove Wallpaper Yourself?

Should You Remove Wallpaper Yourself?

The general population has a love/hate relationship with wallpaper. Some people love it, and some people hate it, and there’s rarely an in between. For some people, moving into a home that already has wallpaper, can be a deal breaker. The idea of tackling the task of painstakingly removing the wallpaper, is daunting. The good news is, wallpaper isn’t permanent. The process to remove the wallpaper may be difficult, but not impossible.

Papering over wallpaper


In most cases, you’ll want to remove the existing wallpaper before moving forward with your project. However, if the wallpaper design is light colored and the wallpaper is in pristine condition, you may be able to apply wallpaper over what already exists. Only do this if the paper is well-adhered and free of bubbles, buckles, and wrinkles. If there are any areas of the wall where the paper is not perfectly installed, you’ll need to completely remove all of the wallpaper first.


Drywall vs plaster


Most homes over 50 years old have walls that are made of plaster, whereas almost all newer homes will have drywall. It’s harder to remove wallpaper from drywall, so if you’re feeling unsure, contact a handyman to come and help you remove the wallpaper without causing damage. If the paper surface of the drywall comes up as you’re removing the wallpaper, stop immediately. Your walls will need to be glued back together and spackle applied overtop before moving forward with the wallpaper removal.


Stripping wallpaper with water


To remove wallpaper with water, you’ll need to also use a liquid stripper concentrate. Once you’ve mixed it with water per the package instructions, apply the mixture to your walls with either a sprayer or a broad brush. Work from the top of the wall to the bottom, doing just one section at a time. You don’t want the paper to dry before you’re able to remove it, so do a small section at a time so you’re able to strip the wallpaper while it’s still wet. Let the paper soak for just a few minutes, then strip it away with a scraper. Some older wallpaper won’t absorb the water, and will need alternative methods in order to remove it.


Steam removal


Steaming your wallpaper is kind of a last resort, as it requires two people. You’ll need one person to steam it while another removes the paper with a scraper.


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