How to Remove Difficult Wallpaper
As I write this blog article about how to remove wallpaper, my hands, arms, and shoulders are still tired from the experience. Learning how to remove difficult wallpaper, especially old stuff that has had years to affix to the wall, is no small feat. Until you get into it, it is hard to know just how bad it will be. I just removed wallpaper from three different rooms in our renovation project. Two of the rooms were super easy. The third room has been a bear and it isn’t done yet!
How to Remove Wallpaper in 3 Steps
As I mentioned, no wallpaper project is identical but these three steps have proven to be the answer on some of the toughest jobs.
- Score the wallpaper. I use a multi-directional walllpaper scorer (like the one pictured above). You should be able to pick one up at any local home improvement store. Scoring the wallpaper creates small holes in the surface of the wallpaper that allows the vinegar/water mix (step 2) to get through the top layer and down into the glue. You don’t have to push hard–just enough to punch the holes in the wallpaper.
- Remove wallpaper with vinegar. A simple way to remove wallpaper is with vinegar. I generally tend to avoid using harsh chemicals if at all possible. I have found the vinegar/water mix to be just as effective as some of the high dollar, chemically-laden products. Depending on how tough your wallpaper removal project is, you may have to liberally soak the wallpaper to get the glue to release. As you can see, I re-used a plastic spray bottle for this project.
- Scrape the wallpaper. After the wallpaper has been soaked, I use a wallpaper scraper to remove the wallpaper. Occasionally, on some of the toughest jobs, you will need to pull off the top layer of wallpaper first, and then spray and remove the bottom layer of paper.
The wallpaper removal isn’t quite done yet but we are already thinking about what’s next. We may be making some decisions on kitchen cabinets soon–can they be salvaged or do we need to start from scratch?