Next up in our series on interior surfaces, we want to give you the scoop on removing wallpaper. If you missed our first blog about interior surfaces, you can read about the different options for renovating the interior surfaces in your space.
If you’re looking to transition to a new interior surface or have plans for painting, you may have to deal with wallpaper removal first. Don’t worry, there are a few different options you can use to tackle even the toughest of wallpaper removals. In this article, we’ll walk you through the supplies you’ll need, your options for removal, and other important information about the removal of your wallpaper.
Before you begin removing your wallpaper, take the time to assess your wallpaper and the walls beneath it. Most wallpaper is made of two layers: the top layer that you see that’s made of paper, vinyl, or some other textile, and the bottom layer that sticks the paper to the wall that is made of paper and some sort of glue or adhesive. While the hope is to peel off both layers all at once, you may need to try different techniques to get the entire adhesive layer off your walls. Below we’ll go through these wallpaper removal techniques in detail to find which is best for you.
To begin, you’ll need a few simple tools that you may already have around the house. If not, there are many affordable options you can easily purchase online or at your local store.
First, you’ll need a scorer to help prepare the wallpaper for removal. Next, you can use a rigid putty knife to help peel away the layers. You can also opt to use a paint scraper but be careful with anything with too sharp of a blade as you could damage your wall in the process.
Depending on which method you choose to remove your wallpaper, you may need to make a solvent to spray on the wall to help weaken the adhesive bond. For that, you’ll need spray bottles or a pressure sprayer, hot water, and vinegar.
You may decide you want to try the waterless route. In this case, you’ll need a heat gun. It will also be helpful to have a tarp or paint drop to protect your floors, along with a garbage can to put in all the removed wallpaper.
There are several methods to remove wallpaper, but the two main wallpaper removal methods are by soaking or by heating. With the soaking process, you use a water-based solution to dampen the wallpaper, helping the adhesive break loose from the wall. With the heating method, you can use a heat gun to carefully warm the adhesive to make it easier to peel off. Let’s begin with the soaking method.
Score, soak, wait, scrape! One method you can use to remove your wallpaper is to get it wet. Begin by scoring your wall with the scoring tool. This will perforate the wallpaper, allowing the water to soak in better. Be careful with this step, as too much pressure from the scoring tool could damage your walls.
Once the wallpaper is scored, spray your walls with a glue-removing solution. We recommend filling a spray bottle with ⅓ vinegar to ⅔ hot water. Put this in a high-pressure sprayer and spray it on your wallpaper. Spray directly on the wallpaper. Let this solution sit for about five minutes, and then it’s time to start peeling. We recommend starting at a seam in your wallpaper. You can slip your putty knife or a blade under the edge of the wallpaper and slowly pull it away from the wall.
If you have wallpaper that just won’t give or the texture of your wallpaper is not soaking up water to cause it to pull away, you may want to try the heat gun method. Again, we recommend finding a seam in your wallpaper and peeling up an edge. Then use a heat gun to warm your wallpaper until the adhesive is loosened so you can peel away your wallpaper. This method works best if you work in small sections at a time so you can peel while the glue is still warm. Make sure to read the instructions on your heat gun to ensure that you don’t hold it too close to the wall or in a single spot for too long.
Once you’ve removed all your wallpaper, you have a blank canvas to update your space! You can choose from one of the other interior surface options we’ve mentioned in this series to make an old space new again. Your fresh, newly prepared walls are ready to refinish, re-wallpaper, or perhaps paint. If you’re looking for guidance in your next steps, contact our team of experts at Flying Colors Painting to walk you through the options and help accomplish your vision for your space.