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How To Remove And Replace Wallpaper


Removing wallpaper for painting is a tedious job, but not necessarily a nightmare. There comes a time when we decide to remove the wallpaper. Whether you want to trade the outdated design for a trendy option or you want to color your walls, we have you covered. To start, forget all the terrible stories you’ve heard about removing wallpapers. It is not that difficult if you do it the right way. 

Though we’re not saying, you can do it in a matter of a few minutes. Wallpaper removal could be a messy, time-consuming, and tedious job. The wallpaper glue is nasty and difficult to remove from the walls. Before you try your hands on this job, make sure you have plenty of time for it, say, a whole weekend. 

How To Remove And Replace Wallpaper?

Protect The Surface And Floor Work

Everything will get sticky and wet during this project, so make sure you cover the floor and all the furniture. The soap and water you’re going to use can damage the floor. It’s best to lay a drop cloth on the floor. You can also move the furniture out of the room. If you cannot move the furniture out, you can move the furniture to the center of the room and cover it with a cloth or plastic. 

Start To Scrape It

This process is about removing the wallpaper without using water or soap. This way, you will remove the wallpaper’s top layer, leaving the backing on the wall. When you do this, the backing will soak water making the whole removal process much more manageable. Use a taping knife to scrape off the wallpaper. If your wallpaper has been up for many years, it will take time and come off in tiny pieces. The newer your wallpaper, the easier it is to take off. 

Spray The Backing

Gradually you’ll run out of paper you can peel with your hands or knife. In that situation, spray warm water on the walls to soften the backing so that it comes out easily. Make sure you don’t damage the walls while doing this process. Plaster walls can bear hot water without any issues, but drywall can be damaged due to extended contact with water. It’s best to work in small sections so the paste doesn’t dry up before you peel it off. 

Allow the backing to soak the water for at least 15 minutes or till it starts to pull off from the wall. You might need to apply water more than once to soften the backing. After a certain time, check the paste with fingers or a scraper, and you’re ready for the next step. 

Start To Scrape The Backing

You can use a putty knife or a spatula to scrape the backing and take it off the wall. If you’re still finding it difficult, try spraying the wall several times. Make sure to use a knife with rounded corners, and if you don’t have one, file the edges. Gently scrape the backing without causing damage to the wall. 

It’s Time To Wash The Wall

This one is the most vital step. There remains a lot of adhesives or paste on the wall after you take the backing off. You need to put a lot of effort into taking the whole thing off the wall. After scraping with a putty knife as far as you can, wash the walls with water and a sponge. 

This step is crucial because when it comes time to paint the wall, the paint will crackle and come off if you haven’t correctly removed the paste. Even if you apply another wallpaper, it won’t stick properly. Spray gel stripper on the paste and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. After this, scrape off the gel and the paste at the same time. Rinse the wall with water after the paste is completely gone. 

Smooth Out The Wall

Even the tiny particle of paste can hamper your next wall treatment. So, the next day when the wall has dried up completely, prep the wall for paint or new wallpaper. If you are planning to stick a new wallpaper, use an acrylic primer made for wallpaper applications. This makes the removal process easy when you do it again in the future. Similarly, if you are going to apply paint, use primer made for that purpose. 

The Bottom Line

Whether you want to give a new touch to your room, or you’re tired of the outdated design, or whatever your reason is, you can do it without any trouble. Despite the bad reputation it has, wallpaper removal is not that terrible. All you need is proper technique, tools, and of course, a lot of patience.