There is no reason to leave that old or worn wallpaper up one day longer.  Make today the day that you take down the aged wallpaper and improve the look of your home.  Here’s how to do it.


Getting rid of the old Wallpaper – to Remove or not to Remove?  That is the Question




If the surface in question has been previously papered, strip away the old wallpaper.  However, there are a couple situations in which it does not make sense to take off the current wallpaper.  It is possible to add new wallpaper over a single layer of existing wallpaper as long as it is not laden with bubbles, wrinkles, buckles, etc.  Loose paper will have to be re-pasted and patched yet you should not shy away as this project will not chew up an egregious amount of time. 


Do not add new wallpaper over current wallpaper if there is the possibility of multiple layers of paper below.  If the current wallpaper has a plastic, foil or vinyl film or if you intend to hang vinyl wallpaper, refrain from applying new wallpaper.  If you hear crinkling noises as you move your hand along the surface of the wallpaper, it is a sign of buckling that will require complete removal.  If you have plans on painting, the wallpaper must be removed no matter what.



Wallpaper Removal: Clear the Room

Remove all items from the walls before starting this project.  Move furniture away from the walls.  Position the furniture toward the center of the room or in a separate room altogether if necessary.  Cover the furniture and floors with drop cloths so they do not end up wet.  Turn off the room’s electricity.  Cover all light switches and outlets with painter’s tape.



Analyze the Walls and Wallpaper

Do not start peeling away the old wallpaper until you are certain whether the walls are drywall or plaster.  If the walls are drywall, there is the risk of damage if they become overly wet.  Get a sense of the wallpaper on the walls by placing a putty knife along the wallpaper corner.  Attempt to peel it off. Paper that does not budge is conventional wallpaper that can only be removed with a chemical stripper and water. If the wallpaper comes off, it is strippable wallpaper.  If the paper peels and leaves paper behind, it is peel-able wallpaper. 



The Removal of Traditional Wallpaper

Removing traditional wallpaper is easier than most assume.  You will need a putty knife, spray bottle or paint roller, a wallpaper stripper, rubber gloves, rags, soap, water and a ladder.  Mix warm water and the wallpaper stripper in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions.  Put the solution in a spray bottle.  Apply the solution to the wallpaper through a spray bottle or paint roller. 


Give the liquid a couple minutes to absorb. Use the putty knife to peel away the wallpaper.  Gradually move up the wall, being careful to avoid gouging the drywall amidst scraping movements.  Remove the wallpaper from each area. 


If the wallpaper proves challenging to scrape and the solution simply does not absorb, it might be necessary to score the wall prior to applying the liquid solution.  If necessary, roll a scoring tool across the paper in circle formations.  Finally, do not forget to wipe the walls down with water and soap to eliminate remaining residue.