Wallpaper Removal Techniques

Two of the most popular ways to remove wallpaper are to either use steam or a to apply a solvent. Learn both ways.
adi107_1ca-wallpaper_s4x3

adi107_1ca-wallpaper_s4x3

Materials and Tools:

wallpaper removal solvent
wallpaper steamer
electrical tape
wallpaper-perforating tool
wallpaper scraping tool
drop cloths
rubber gloves
screwdriver
step ladder

How to Remove Wallpaper with Solvent:

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adi107_1fb-wallpaper_s4x3

1. Remove the face plates on the walls you'll be working with, and cover the outlets with electrical tape to protect them from liquids. Also put a drop cloth down to protect the carpet or floors.

adi107_1fc-wallpaper_s4x3

adi107_1fc-wallpaper_s4x3

2. Use a wallpaper-perforating tool such as the "paper tiger," which is a roller with small spikes that will perforate the paper. This will allow the solvent to get behind the paper and dissolve the adhesive more readily.

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adi107_1fd-wallpaper_s4x3

Be careful not to press too hard so you don't perforate the wall surface. If it happens accidentally, you'll need to fill the nicks with spacking compound.

3. Apply the gel or other commercial solvent with a paintbrush, and give it some time to soak in and loosen the wallpaper (the label should specify how long). A less expensive solvent option is warm water mixed with a few tablespoons of vinegar in a spray bottle.

4. After the solvent has a chance to soak in, start working at a seam or edge of a perforation, scraping with a wallpaper scraping tool, plastic putty knife or drywall knife. Keep applying the solvent and continue scraping until the wallpaper is off.

How to Remove Wallpaper with Steam:

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0035952D2_961-wallpaper-steamer_s4x3

1. Fill the steamer unit with hot water and allow it about 30 minutes to heat. Cover your floor with dropcloths, remove the faceplates from the walls you'll be working with and cover the outlets with electrical tape to protect them from liquids.

2. Use a wallpaper-perforating tool such as the "paper tiger," which is a roller with small spikes that will perforate the paper. This will allow the steam to penetrate the glue more readily. Be careful not to press too hard so you don't perforate the wall surface. If it happens accidentally, you'll need to fill the nicks with spacking compound.

dcwc103_1fa-wallpaper_s4x3

dcwc103_1fa-wallpaper_s4x3

3. Wallpaper steamers tend to drip hot water, so you'll want to wear rubber gloves. Place the steamer on the surface of the wallpaper and hold while the steam penetrates and softens the glue. The more time you dedicate to steaming, the less time you'll have to spend scraping.

4. Once the steam has softened the glue, begin working at a seam or the edge of a perforation to remove the paper by scraping with the wallpaper scraping tool, a plastic putty knife or a drywall knife. Apply more steam as needed and continue scraping until the wallpaper is removed.

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