How to Remove Wallpaper
How to Remove Wallpaper
If you’re preparing your walls for a new lick of paint or wallpaper design, it’s important to remove any existing wallpaper properly first to make sure your surfaces are smooth. Investing the time in doing this means you’ll have a much easier time and better finish when you decorate again - this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Tools for removing wallpaper
Tools you will need before you start:
Make sure you’ve got everything you’re going to need and have it all to hand so it’s ready to go while you’re taking care of the task.
Here's our go to list
Dust sheets • Masking tape • Bin bags • Plastic bag • Cloth • Rubber gloves
Scissors • Wide stripping knife • Step ladder • Metal rule or straight edge • Socket/voltage tester • Orbital scorer
Utility knife • Broom • Bucket • Large sponge • Safety goggles • Protective clothing or overalls
Step by step guide on how to remove wallpaper
There are two ways to effectively remove wallpaper: chemicals or steam. The right choice for your walls will depend on how many layers of wallpaper there are, how easily it comes away from the wall and how old the paper is. If you’re not sure, use a stripping knife to try removing a small portion of wallpaper from the wall and see how easily it comes away.
Prepare your room before removing wallpaper
1. Clear your space, especially the perimeter of the room, as much as possible and cover anything you can’t move out of the room with a dust sheet.
2. Remove everything you can from the walls, including artwork, shelves, vents. Cover any openings with a piece of plastic and masking tape.
3. To protect the electrical sockets and switches from water or steam, turn off the power to the room via the fuse box or consumer unit.
4. Use a socket tester to confirm there’s no current. Check the tester is working by using it on a live socket in a different room.
5. Use masking tape and plastic sheeting to protect switches and sockets.
6. Protect your floors with dust sheets.
7. Use an orbital scorer to evenly score the wallpaper so the steam or solution can penetrate it more easily. Don’t use a knife or scissors instead or you could damage the wall.
8. Use a metal ruler or straight edge and gently score along the top of the wallpaper where it meets the ceiling. This will help prevent the paper or paint on the ceiling being removed as you’re pulling away the wallpaper.
How to remove wallpaper with chemicals
Always keep chemicals out of reach of children and pets, and wear protective clothing and goggles to protect your eyes during use.
You will need
Wallpaper stripping solution • Protective gloves • Bucket • Sponge • Stripping knife
How to use stripping solution
1. Read the instructions of your solution and evenly spray or sponge it over the wallpaper.
2. Keeping your stripping knife as flat as possible, use short, sharp movements to remove the paper once it’s loose.
3. Re-apply the solution as needed if the wallpaper starts to dry out.
4. Keep your area clean of stripped paper as this will begin to stick once dry.
5. Now you’re ready to clean wall. (You’ll find steps for this further down the page).
Removing wallpaper with steam
Safety is always important, but especially when handling equipment designed to get very hot. Always wear protection and follow the safety guidance.
You will need
Steam wallpaper stripper • Wooden board or tray • Heat-resistant protective gloves • Jug
Always think safety first
1. Read the instructions of your steamer before you start.
2. Keep the room well ventilated.
3. Wear heat-resistant gloves at all times.
4. Never allow the steamer to boil dry or move it via the hose.
5. Allow it to cool before re-filling.
6. Keep the steamer on a level, protected surface.
7. Never leave it unattended whilst in use.
How to use a steam stripper
1. Use a jug to fill your steamer with water.
2. Turn it on and wait for it to heat up.
3. Find the bottom of the wallpaper length and hold the steam plate on it for 10 seconds until damp. If you’re too fast the steam won’t penetrate and the paper won’t come off, , if you leave it on for too long the steam could damage the plaster.
4. Move the steamers onto the next section, while pulling away the loose, damp paper from the first section.
5. Steam rises, so work your way up the wall with the steam pad, and as you work you might find larger pieces come away.
6. Keep your stripping knife as flat as possible and use short, sharp movements to help remove the wallpaper.
7. Keep your space clear of fallen wallpaper as it can stick to things while it dries.
8. For narrow spaces, check to see if your electric steamers has a smaller plate you can switch to help get into smaller areas.
How to clean the wall after removing the wallpaper
Now that you have removed the wallpaper, you might find there are small pieces left behind or adhesive residue. To make sure you get the smooth, even surface you want for re-wallpapering or painting, there are a few things you can do.
1. Use a stiff broom to brush the wall and finish off with your stripping knife to remove small leftover pieces. Stripping solution will help particularly stubborn pieces.
2. Using water and a sponge, rinse the wall clean. Dry it off with a clean cloth and allow to dry completely.
3. Once the wall is dry, you can turn the power back on.
4. Remember to complete any repairs to your plaster before you apply your new paint or paper for a smooth finish.