Removing wallpaper is a time-consuming task. It's messy, tedious and requires multiple steps. To efficiently remove wallpaper, one needs patience, persistence, time and upper-body strength. But with the proper planning and tools, you can get the job done:

Recommended Tools And Materials

Before you begin your project, you will need to buy the right tools and materials. This includes:

  • Mist spray bottle
  • Putty knife
  • Drop cloths
  • Sponges
  • Step stool or ladder
  • Gel stripper

Also, for the stubborn wallpaper that refuses to peel away, consider buying a scoring tool, fabric softener and a wallpaper steamer.

Before You Begin: Planning Your Project

Before you can even begin your project, you will need to move as much furniture out of the room as possible. If you need to leave any furniture in the room, cover them with drop cloths and push them to the middle of the room, away from the walls. In addition, cover the floor and trims with drop cloths to keep the floor dry and safe from damage. Tape the cloths down to create a seal that will catch water as it runs down your walls.

Also, it's important to turn off the power in the room. Because water will be running down the walls, it's important to avoid any potential danger in case the water comes into contact with electrical cords or sockets. You will also need to remove any light switches and outlet plates and cover those openings with plastic.

wallpaper removal with strips on hardwood floor

Sensay/Shutterstock

How To Easily Remove Wallpaper

Many strips of wallpaper are stubborn and like to peel off one at a time. However, with the right techniques, you can master the skill and easily remove your wallpaper over one weekend.

Step One: Tear Off The Facing

Beginning in one corner of the wall, begin tearing off the wallpaper. Use a putty knife to help lift the edges of the facing. Then, using your hands, pull off the paper using steady, even pressure. Ideally, you want to remove the top layer of wallpaper and leave the backing on the wall. The backing will soak up water, making the rest of your wallpaper remove easily and more quickly.

You should be able to tear off whole sheets of wallpaper at one time. But sometimes the wallpaper will be stubborn and peel off in small strips, especially if the wallpaper has been on your walls for many years. Take your time with this step.

Step Two: Spray The Wall With Hot Water

Hot water will remove more paper off the wall. Simply heat some water in a pot on a stove, fill your spray bottle or bucket half with warm water from your sink and the other half with the boiled water from the pot.

While wearing rubber gloves, spray the hot water onto the backing on the wall. You can also use a sponge. Allow the backing to absorb the water for at least 15 minutes or until the wallpaper begins to bubble -- this is the water softening the backing and adhesive underneath.

It's important to monitor your wall during this step. Plaster walls are capable of handling a large amount of hot water, but drywall has a paper surface that can easily be damaged if you keep the water on for too long. Allow the backing to fully absorb the water until it slowly begins to peel away from the wall.

woman peeling wallpaper off of a wall

alicja/Shutterstock

Step Three: Scrape Off The Backing

Using a putty knife with rounded corners, scrape the backing and remaining facing off the wall. Be careful with this step -- it's very easy to be too aggressive as you scrape. The drywall might have soft spots and you can easily gouge the wall if you scrape too hard.

You will need to keep spraying and scraping the wall until all the wallpaper is removed.

Step Four: Apply Gel Stripper

Once you have removed the wallpaper from the wall, there will be a lot of paste left behind. You can scrape off a lot of the glue with a putty knife, but you will need to spray gel stripper onto the walls to remove the areas where the paste is more stubborn. Let the stripper set for at least 15 to 20 minutes, and then you can easily scrape off the gel and paste. Once all the paste is removed, rinse the wall with water until it's completely clean.

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