It’s dated, ugly and needs to go. When the wallpaper in your home has seen better days, what’s the best way to tackle this messy job and keep your sanity? Check out this nine-step guide to a new look.
- Don’t skip the prep work. Remove all pictures, nails and screws from the wall to be stripped. Remove nearby furniture and accessories.
- Get ready for a mess. Lay a tarp big enough to cover the entire span of the wall, taping the edge to the floor molding. This will make clean up much easier.
- Gather your tools. A three- to six-inch wide scraper (about $6 at a home improvement or hardware store) with a slightly rounded edge will do the job.
- It’s test time. Before buying any other tools, use the knife to peel away a corner or the edge of a seam and gently pull the paper away at a 45-degree angle. If the paper pulls away easily with little tearing, then it is strippable paper and thankfully, the job should be easy. If the paper doesn’t pull away easily and tears, or if it pulls away the paper surface of the drywall, exposing the chalk-like gypsum behind it, it’s time to gather more tools. Among the things you’ll need: a chemical solution to aid in stripping the paper, a sprayer or a bucket and sponge, and a wallpaper scoring tool.
- Focus on one section at a time. Wet the wallpaper, using a stripping solution (about $8). Or, a 50-50 mix of hot water and fabric softener will often do the trick. Wait 10 minutes, then begin peeling the paper, using the scraper to gently aid in removal.
- When in doubt, score. If the paper is still difficult to remove, gently roll the scoring tool across the paper, allowing the stripper solution to soak in more efficiently. Reapply the solution, wait another ten minutes, then peel and scrape again. This may take several applications.
- Clean-up time. Once paper is completely removed, wipe the wall down with a damp cloth.
- Apply a little touch-up. After the wall has dried, use the scraper to fill any gouges with putty.
- Prime time. If the wall was never primed, apply a base coat before painting a finish coat or applying new wallpaper.