Tips to Remove Old Wallpaper for Your Interior Painting Project

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Removing old wallpaper can be a huge hassle if you do not know where to start, and many online sources claim they can help you get it done in just one or two steps. However, the best way to ensure you remove all of the old wallpaper without causing an unreasonable mess or even risking property damage is to take the job very seriously one step at a time. With any interior painting project, there are some steps to follow if you want to see professional results from your hard work, and a combination of patience and consistency should make it fairly straightforward to get that old, worn out wallpaper out of your way.

Mental Prep

Removing wallpaper is often a messy, time-consuming thing to do, but you can get started on the right foot by getting yourself mentally and physically prepared for such a task. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get it done right so that you never feel rushed, and do not punish yourself if it cannot be done in just one day or in the hours you find yourself. The trick is to focus on getting it done without damaging your walls, and it will be relatively simple, if not long-winded, if you follow these tips.

Protect the Floor

Removing wallpaper is wet and sticky, and you must lay down plastic or canvas extending at least two feet out from the wall to ensure your floor and trim remain dry. Press hard to create a watertight seal, cover the draped plastic with more plastic, and then add a layer of towels to absorb water as it drips down the walls. Take everything that can come off away from your walls such as vents, outlet covers, and switch plates, and cover the openings with tape and plastic.

Remove Facing

Wallpaper actually has layers called wallpaper facing and wallpaper backing, and you can use a putty knife to lift the edges of the facing and then pull it off. Utilize a steady, even pressure when doing this to maximize the amount you can pull off in one go, and be sure not to pull so hard that it simply tears off in small pieces. Do not use water for this step, and pull the paper back at a 45-degree angle, and it is possible to pull down full sheets using this method, unless the paper is extremely old and stuck onto the wall. If the paper won’t budge at all, use a scoring tool to get it done and move on to the next step.

Water

Apply the hottest water you can stand using a sponge or floor mop, allowing it to soak in for 15 minutes; you may need to do this a few times to soften the paste of the backing. Once softened, scrape off the backing using a metal spatula or putty knife with a flexible blade, and make sure the corners are rounded, filing them that way if you must. Using this method, remove every single speck of paste without being too rough to avoid gouging the wall. Use a gel stripper to get the final bits of paste and backing off the wall, but use only a small amount. You can then rinse the wall with water until it is completely clean, upon which you are finished with this project.

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