I’m looking at the old wallpaper in my kitchen and thinking, “What in the world was I thinking?” I’m wondering how do I get it off?
Removing old wallpaper may seem like a tedious job, but necessary if you want to repaint or repaper your walls.
The three most common methods are:
Steaming – a handheld electric steamer consists of a boiler and a perforated metal plate. Steam from the plate penetrates the paper and loosens the wallpaper glue.
The Technique… Start at the top of the paper and hold the steamer with one hand against the wall for about 30 seconds. With your other hand, using a wallpaper knife, remove the paper on the wall. Work your way down the wall. You should position a large metal tray nearby to place the steamer in when you’re not using it.
The Drawbacks… This technique can be tiring and tedious. Also, if the wallpaper has been painted over or there are multiple layers you will have to score the wallpaper with a scoring tool.
Peeling – If your wallpaper is fairly new (vinyl paper), you may be able to peel it off without having to use any removal tools.
The Technique… Start at the baseboard and peel the bottom edge of the paper up. To make this process easier, use a wallpaper knife to work the paper away from the wall.
The Drawbacks… Older wallpaper will not peel away from the wall. Also, if the wallpaper rips using this technique, it will make the removal difficult. Try to pull the paper up as a continuous strip.
Chemicals – Using a chemical paper stripper is the easiest way to remove wallpaper. The best product found at hardware stores is an enzyme-fortified gel that is nontoxic and odorless.
The consistency is thick so that it will stick to vertical surfaces without running down to the floor. Most of these products must be mixed with water.
The Technique… The first thing you’ll need to do is score your wallpaper with a scoring knife. One of the best ways to apply the gel is with a three-eighths inch nap paint roller.
After spreading the stripper, wait 20 minutes for it to penetrate and dissolve the glue. The paper will begin to bubble up. When this occurs, use a scraper to loosen and remove the paper.