Old wallpaper can be a stubborn material to remove. This guide is about removing wallpaper.
The previous owners wallpapered over the vinyl walls and then ripped some off, down to the gypsum board underneath the vinyl without removal products. Should I use wallpaper removal products? How do I make the ripped area even? Right now it's only in a smaller bathroom, but they wallpapered the kitchen too. It is peeling, but I have been reluctant to begin removal without asking questions. I have successfully painted over vinyl walls that had not been papered and am satisfied with results.
This is a guide about repairing drywall after wallpaper removal. After removing wallpaper, the walls will need cleaning and perhaps some repair, prior to painting or whatever your next wall treatment will be.
What is the best way to take off very old wallpaper? It is the paper thin kind used back over 30-40 yrs ago. My house is over 165 yrs old and every room has that crappy wallpaper. I am taking it down. In some places there is like 3 layers of it.
By Tara73 from East Brunswick, NJ
You can use a sprayer and add fabric softener to it, spray every inch and wait for it to loosen.
We went faster, took a new garden weed sprayer, filled it up with about 1 gallon mixture of FS, warm water and did it.
Remember, most of the houses back then have slate plastered walls. We were fortunate enough to have solid plaster over them. I re-papered with oil cloth quality paper cause that was what was going to hold the house together once the old stuff was not there when peeled off. I did not have to take it off my large rooms (dining/living) but did the heavy treatment back. Has saved us having to do things when the house has shifted. My house is 100 years old. We lived in another house where the renters had removed most of the layers, thank heavens. That was many weeks of work.
Make sure you wear masks and gloves. The 'stuff' riding on this paper is for sure mold spored from all the years, much less many other things.
All the time I had worked on this old house, we had pneumonia, etc all the time. Yep, too late with the advice of the masks. For a few cents, it is your health.
I decided to finally re-do the kid's bathroom after finding a great bargain at a yard sale for a bathroom set. The bathroom had really ugly wallpaper and border on the wall. It was stuck on there good and tight - 2 layers in fact!
I filled a spray bottle (new one from Dollar Tree) with an equal mix of water and white vinegar. I sprayed the wall paper and used a pan scraper and started peeling. It took the paper off quickly and without much work. I thought I would share this as a safe, environmentally friendly and, best of all, super cheap - less then $1 for a large bottle of vinegar. I was able to do the entire bathroom for less then $1!
By Betsy from Hernando, MS
We have lived here ten years and the blue cow wallpaper was here when we bought the house. It was past time to say goodbye to the cows. I started peeling the wallpaper off my kitchen and it peeled off easily in large pieces. Once all the cows were gone most areas are still covered with a very thin yellowish paper (as thin as tissue paper) all over the walls. I can peel small pieces off in some areas, but most areas seem to be stuck on good. What is the next way to remove this? I appreciate any and all info that can help me in this project.
By Shell S
Rubbing alcohol dissolves adhesive really, really well. As others have said, if you score the paper it's easier for the liquid to get in and work.
I need to give my kitchen a new look, but my kitchen has about 2-3 different wallpapers on it. My friend came to help me remove it and when I came back from getting some lunch my friend had a layer of mud on 90% of the kitchen. What do I do?
What do you mean, "a layer of mud"? Did your friend not remove the wallpaper but decide to cover it with plaster? I am not sure if that is a good idea, but you could do some research online and contact people who renovate older homes to see if it is acceptable. If the wallpaper is firmly attached to the wall, it might work to give you a nice paintable surface.
How much water to how much softener do I use for wall paper removal?
By Sheila from Virginia Beach, VA
I did this back in the 80s. About 1 oz to one gallon I used a new weed sprayer. Fast! Make the water as warm as you can. I just used a spackling knife to scrape. Our 100 yr old house had many layers. Getting it wet made it easier to contain the old stuff that gets behind wall paper. Make sure to wear a mask. Has many respiratory issues when stripping wall paper. Mites love it!
How do I remove 15 year old wallpaper border? I tried the commercial presoak gel, but it is brutally slow to peel off. I tried scoring the paper with a sharp knife as recommended, but it doesn't help much.
By Pat M
Try steam. I have a steam shark and it takes away grime that has been around stove areas for a long time; maybe it will take away the glue on the wallpaper. Hope it helps ya!
How do you remove wallpaper border?
By Corky Wolf
I swear by DIF. It's available at Lowe's for about $5 a bottle and it makes life so much easier. I spray it on and use my fingers to rub it onto the entire surface. Within, 15 minutes the paper comes off in one piece. Sometimes a little glue will remain and I use a plastic putty knife but another dose of DIF will take it right off. I don't score the paper either. Some people swear by fabric softener and hot water but that has not worked for me. Good luck!
I attempted to remove a wallpaper border that was applied to drywall that only had a thin coat of paint on it. The drywall was peeling off with the border in small pieces so I ended up bordering over that border and now 5 years later I really want it off.
I now have to remove two borders and I am not looking forward to it! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I tried all of the home remedies, steamer, and store bought products when trying to remove the first border, so maybe I should just leave it and cover it with some sort of wood trim that I can paint. Cost is a major issue so crown molding is not an option as it's a very large kitchen. Any suggestions? Thanks.
By Chris from Ontario
On one of the home re modeling shows I watch they used a solution of warm water and fabric softener.
How do I strip plastic wallpaper?
By Vincent from Dublin, Ireland
The trickiest part if getting that thin paper stuff off the back, but keep working on it. I've used DIF and it works fine as long as you let it sit on the paper for 15 minutes or so, but not too long or it dries.
How do I remove 5 layers of old wall paper from walls, without using a steamer?
Try fabric softener thinned with a little water and a spray bottle or mix in a bucket and use car washing sponge to saturate the paper. let it set until it begins to scrape off with a putty knife. I would suggest a little half and half to start. Patience and diligence!
I tried everything to remove my hard to get off wallpaper, before I discovered this trick - heated vinegar. The wall paper will still have to be pulled off, but the sticky glue paper comes off easily, as the vinegar will loosen the glue. Spray and scrap off with a metal paint scraper.
By Ruthie from RedCreek, NY
When removing wallpaper use Downy fabric softener and hot water put in spray bottle. Spray walls and watch for it to bubble; then it comes right off. It is the best thing to use!
By Mel from KY
I have striped the wall paper off 3 of 4 walls, but one entire wall has proven to be stubborn. I can't seem to remove any of the wallpaper (at all) from this one wall. I have tried D.I.F, vinegar, and dish soap, but nothing I try seems to work. Can anyone help?
Oh wow, if Diff hasn't worked, about the only thing left to try is steaming. There are machines especially for steaming off wallpaper, you can rent or buy one and try it-make sure the material your wall is made of can handle steam. If your walls are a thin membrane of sheet rock, 1/4", for example, they might melt.
I think if I were doing this job I'd have quit after the Diff didn't work.
You can 'feather and fill' the patches of wallpaper that won't strip, and simply paint over the top of it. I've done that a couple of times and have been pleased with the results.
I just finished taking off wallpaper border in my kitchen and it started out to be quite a job until my son lent me his clothes steamer. I finished with that and it made quick work of it.
By Elaine S. from Near Cedar Rapids, IA
How much Dawn do you put in the spray bottle?
By M. Gross
You really don't need to use Dawn or any other cleaner. My husband used to do painting/papering & all they used was hot water in a spray bottle. Let it soak a bit & peel. Then we just took a sponge with clean water & washed it down.
How much Downy to how much water do I use for wallpaper removal?
By Julie from Griswold, IA
I've always used DIF and one thing to note is that you need to spray it on for 10 to 15 minutes, but don't leave it on too long or it dries out and you've just wasted the product.
Try half water and half Downy. You have to leave it set for a bit before you start scraping though. (02/26/2010)
How do I easily remove wallpaper border?
By Janet from Valdosta, GA
I fill a spray bottle half full of warm water and fill the rest of the way with a cheap brand of fabric softener. Spray on paper in sheets, leave on 15-20 minutes, it will pull off the entire sheet of paper. If you have vinyl coated paper you will need to slice through at intervals and then spray so the liquid can seep to the back. Good luck. (06/09/2010)
I have used warm water and white vinegar, measured half and half in a spray bottle. I put down a drop cloth and simply sprayed the wall, let it set about 5 minutes. I'd get a corner at the top and it pulled off in one piece. I kept the paper and when it was dry again, I recycled it.
My kitchen cabinets had an insert in the door instead of a full panel. I took the insert out wet the wall paper and put it on it with a wet rag. I then put the insert back, tacked it back up with small tacks. I had "new" refaced cabinets! My friends all loved the idea! (06/09/2010)
I just removed a border that has been up for 9 years. I used a spray bottle of 50/50 vinegar and warm water with a little bit of Dawn dish soap and it worked great! (11/04/2010)
You have requests on how to remove painted wallpaper. We have found that steaming the walls, once you have a start at removal with a tool, does a good job. It is possible to rent a portable steamer. We have tried chemicals, but steam seems to do the job faster, and with less negative results.
By rosebudml from Sarasota, FL
Before you apply steam. There is a tool you can buy or possibly rent that looks like a miniature pizza slicer with a jagged blade that you roll all over the wallpaper 1st to "score" it. This does not harm the wall, but it punctures tiny holes in the paper that allows the water or products to saturate the paper more efficiently. Steaming is the best method I have found. I have done this several times. I rented the steamer (looks like a huge old metal iron) and tool at Ace Hardware Rentals. It was so worth it in the end. Some paper comes off with out to much trouble, but it sounds like you might need to use this method for sure. (02/11/2010)