Removing Old Wallpaper

Tips For Removing Old Wallpaper

Removing old wallpaper is an inevitable task for anyone purchasing an older home that is full of character.  It is a lot of work but if you know the best way to go about it, you will be spared a lot of extra effort.  Keep in mind that this is a messy job and regardless of how quickly you plan on getting it done, you are best to leave yourself at least a whole day per room to finish.

Things You Will Need

There are a few essentials that you will need for removing old wallpaper, such as:


Removing old wallpaper requires a bit of space and preparation.  You need to remove everything off of your walls including plug and light switches.  If possible, remove any furniture that you can out of the room.  Any pieces that you cannot remove should be positioned in the middle of the room, away from the walls and covered up with tarps.


If you are fortunate enough that the wallpaper that you are removing is on the newer side, there is a chance that it is dry stippable.  This simply means that you do not need chemicals or water to strip it.

To test this, you will try to pry the paper off, preferably at a corner or a seam, with a putty knife.  Try pulling the paper back and if it is easy to do, it is dry stippable.  However, if the paper tears or sticks, the fun process of removing old wallpaper begins and if you are really lucky, there might be a few layers there to tackle.

The Process

Place a few drop cloths on the floor where you will be working and cover them up with towels.  Using your wallpaper scoring tool or a utility knife, start scoring away at the wallpaper without cutting into the drywall.

Using a sponge that is soaked with wallpaper remover or warm water, soak a few strips of the paper.  Give this time to soak and the glue will get soft which will make it much easier to peel and scrape away.  As it dries or as you move sections, continue to soak each piece.  Keep in mind that if there are a few layers, you will probably have to repeat this process several times.

There is a good chance when you are removing old wallpaper that you will come across a few impossible pieces.  If this happens, an 80-grit piece of sandpaper will get rid of them and then you can cover the area with primer.

After all of the paper is removed, allow the walls to dry, then you will wash them with water and TSP.  This will help you remove any leftover glue so that you will have a nice smooth surface to work with.  If you plan on painting the wall, make sure that you sand it very well first.

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