When you move into a new home and the décor leaves something to be desired, knowing how to strip wallpaper is going to make your job of redecorating so much easier. It can be a really messy job and if you don’t know how to strip wallpaper, you can also take a huge amount of time to get it finished, and even end up damaging your walls in the process. A spatula does not make a good tool for removing wallpaper!
1. Type of Wallpaper
So, the first question to answer when you ask how to strip wallpaper, is how easy or stubborn is the wallpaper going to be? It is important to first confirm if the wallpaper is actually strippable or not. Some wallpapers are not tough to remove, as all you have to do is pry up a seam edge with the help of a small utility knife and keep pulling it down at an angle to strip it off easily. If your wallpaper is vinyl, you’re in luck!
2. Test It
One of the simplest tips for someone who doesn't know much about how to strip wallpaper is to know exactly what you’re facing. If you live in an old property, there’s a very real chance that you’ll be stripping multiple layers of wallpaper. Find an inconspicuous place and do a test. Strip a small section and see what you are up against.
3. Soften the Paste
Wallpaper is easier to remove if you soften the existing paste. Prepare a mixture of liquid detergent and warm water and add a little cellulose paste – this will help the water stick to and penetrate the paper. Apply the mixture liberally to the wall in manageable sections and let it soak for at least five minutes. Now, take a scraper to remove it – you will see it come off faster. If the wallpaper is vinyl or washable, score it lightly with a fork to help that water mix reach the adhesive layer. Don’t cover the whole wall in one go because it will have dried again by the time you get to the end sections!
4. Chemical Removal
Sometimes, you'll be up against stubborn wallpaper that's been covered with paint. This is when you might need to use a chemical stripper that's usually designed for textured coatings. A fabric softener may also prove beneficial in this situation – make a solution mixing a cup of liquid softener in water (1-liter) and use a sponge to apply it onto the wallpaper. Remember, if you use a chemical stripper, it is important to first wear protective gloves and goggles.
5. Steam Stripper
Ask a professional how to strip wallpaper and many will say use a steam stripper. This is actually quite simple and easy to do. The steam wets the paper and softens the adhesive and then you just scrape it away! It works well on multiple layers.
6. Vinyl Backing Comes in Handy
If you are lucky enough to have a quality vinyl on the walls, you can use it to your advantage. This is a stripping job that takes more effort and care, but if you can remove the vinyl layer leaving the backing layer intact, you have an excellent base for your next decorating scheme.
7. Hire a Professional
If you don't think you can remove it like a pro, go hire a pro! They know what they are doing, will have all the right tools and will get the job done quickly! They’ll also clean the mess as they go.
You may not know how to strip wallpaper but it’s not beyond anyone if you follow these simple tips. It’s also a fun way to spend an afternoon. Round up your girlfriends, put some music on and get a-stripping! Ready to give those walls a go?