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Wallpaper Removal: Getting Rid of the Old Without Damaging the New

Updated: Jun 13

Removing old wallpaper before hanging new can feel like a daunting task. You might worry about damaging the drywall underneath or spending hours scraping away stubborn adhesive. But fear not! With the right approach and a little patience, you can conquer wallpaper removal and create a smooth canvas for your new design. Here at The Wallpaper Company, we want to help you achieve flawless results, so let's delve into some tips for safe and effective wallpaper removal:

Understanding Your Enemy:

The key to successful wallpaper removal lies in understanding the type of wallpaper you're dealing with. Here's a quick breakdown:

  • Pre-pasted wallpaper: This type has adhesive already applied and requires soaking with water to loosen the paste.

  • Unpasted wallpaper: This requires separate wallpaper paste for hanging and can often be peeled off more easily.

  • Vinyl wallpaper:  Notorious for being difficult to remove, vinyl wallpaper often has a plastic coating that requires special techniques or solutions.

Gathering Your Arsenal:

Once you've identified your wallpaper foe, assemble your tools:

  • Spray bottle: Filled with warm water for soaking pre-pasted wallpaper.

  • Scoring tool or wallpaper perforator: Creates small holes in the wallpaper to help the water penetrate.

  • Putty knife:  For scraping away loosened wallpaper.

  • Drop cloths and plastic sheeting:  To protect your floors and surrounding areas.

  • Sponge or rags: For cleaning walls after removal.

  • Safety glasses and gloves:  For your protection.

The Art of Removal:

Here's a step-by-step guide for safe and effective wallpaper removal:

  1. Turn off electricity: If removing wallpaper near outlets or switches, turn off the power at the breaker box for safety.

  2. Protect your surroundings: Lay down drop cloths and plastic sheeting to catch debris and prevent water damage.

  3. Prepare your solution:  For pre-pasted wallpaper, fill your spray bottle with warm water.  For stubborn vinyl, consider using a commercial wallpaper removal solution according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  4. Scoring is key: Use a scoring tool or perforator to create small holes in the wallpaper, allowing the water or solution to penetrate deeper.

  5. Soak and scrape: Work in small sections, liberally spraying the wallpaper and allowing it to soak for a few minutes.  Use a putty knife to gently scrape away the loosened wallpaper. Be patient and avoid using excessive force to prevent damaging the drywall.

  6. Rinse and repeat:  Once the wallpaper is removed, use a sponge and clean water to rinse any remaining adhesive residue from the wall.

  7. Let it dry completely:  Allow the walls to dry thoroughly before hanging new wallpaper. This helps prevent moisture problems and ensures proper adhesion.

Dealing with Difficult Wallpaper:

For stubborn vinyl wallpaper or heavily glued applications, consider these additional tips:

  • Steam power:  A wallpaper steamer can be a lifesaver for loosening tough adhesive.  Use it in conjunction with scoring and scraping techniques.

  • Chemical solutions:  Commercial wallpaper removal solutions can be helpful for particularly stubborn adhesives.  Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and exercise caution when using chemicals.

Remember: Patience is key when removing wallpaper.  Taking your time and working in small sections will help you achieve a smooth and damage-free surface for your new wallpaper.

Ready to start fresh with beautiful new wallpaper? Visit The Wallpaper Company today! We offer a wide variety of high-quality wallpapers and removal tools to help you get the job done right. Let our experts guide you in creating the perfect look for your home!

Wallpaper Removal


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