removing old wallpaperThere are few people who actually like wallpaper -- it's usually outdated and just down right ugly. What's worse, it becomes discolored as it ages and peels from corners and seams. When this begins to occur, it's typically a non-starter to try and re-adhere it to the wall. Usually, it's time to remove it from the wall, but, that's not as easy as it would seem. In fact, it's generally a time consuming, frustrating trying to remove it from the surface to which has been stuck for many, many years.

Steps for Removing Old Wallpaper

Your first order of business is to identify the wall construction type: plaster or drywall. If the home is more than fifty years old, knock on the wall and listen for a hollow sound. Plaster tends to have a dull, solid sound because it's more durable than drywall. If it's drywall, you'll likely hear a bit of an echo because it's not as sturdy. The reason this is important is because if the wallpaper is adhered to drywall, you'll have to exercise caution so not to damage it when scraping and scrubbing.

You love your house, but you cringe every time you walk by that bathroom. What were you thinking when you picked out that wallpaper? Relax, wallpaper is not forever. But, before you apply paint or a different wall-covering, you may have a little work to do. Removing old wallpaper is not that difficult.

Once you've identified the wall construction type, you'll need to remove everything from the walls, which includes any decor, along with switchplates and wall outlet plates. Next, clear out the entire room because practically everything will be covered with dust. Then following these steps to remove old wallpaper from the room:

  • Turn off the electrical circuit breakers to the outlets in the room. You'll have to wet the walls substantially to remove the glue, so, shut off all circuit breakers to the wall outlets in the room to avoid any electrical problems.
  • Cover the entire area with drop cloths, particularly the flooring. Use drop cloths to cover the floor and all surfaces in the room to protect them and make cleanup a bit easier. You can also hang plastic in the doorway to minimize any broadcasting of dust and debris into other rooms.
  • Begin to peel back the wallpaper from the corners and/or separated seams. If you can grasp a corner or a split seam with your fingers, do so, and pull back very carefully. If there are no loose seams or peeled corners, use a putty knife to gently scrape under the wallpaper. Peel off as much as you can, even entire sections, if possible.
  • Use a commercial stripping solution to saturate the remaining wall paper. Follow the manufacturer's mixing instructions and then apply the commercial stripping solution to any wallpaper that remains stuck to the surface. Give it some time to soak-in and loosen the wallpaper before peeling and scraping it off.
  • Use an abrasive scrubbing pad to remove any small remnants. There will likely be small remnants of wallpaper left behind, so, use an abrasive scrubbing pad to get it off.

Let the walls dry and then you can fill holes with spackling and let it dry. After the spackle is dry, you can then prime and paint the walls to finish the job.

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