Removing Old Wallpaper

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

October 6, 20100 found this helpful

I believe that there is a product on the market for removing it; for stripping old wallpaper. Think I saw it one time someplace. Why not google it? However, it mainly takes time and scrapping; like the woman said fabric softener and water; or softener by itself!

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October 6, 20100 found this helpful

You can buy a wallpaper scraper at most any hardware store. This lifts most of the paper from the walls no matter how thick. However, I would scrub the walls down after paper is removed to get the glue off. TSP is a product that is good for removing leftover residue and can be purchased at Lowe's I know. It has to be rinsed off after applied and allow walls to dry before priming/painting.

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October 7, 20100 found this helpful

Ive tried the softener and water trick but all it does is make the paper even harder to it has a wall paper paper behind it that they used to use to make walls "flat" if they weren't smooth. Basically it was "paper" to put on the wall before you put the wall paper actually up..I believe it was also put up with "wheat paste" not glue..crazy house..

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

Go buy an item called "Paper Tiger". It scores your wallpaper with tiny little holes so you can get the water and softener mixture behind it. It is a round tool with wheels that you run over the wallpaper. If you have a 165 year old house, chances are it has a plastered wall. Many times people wallpapered to cover up large cracks. So be prepared to patch. Then after you get all the paper off and have cleaned it well to get the paste off, make sure you prime it.

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

I have tried the scoring trick and spraying softener on wall paper. Both will work but when I had to remove wallpaper from the 1950s, I used a steamer that was meant for removing wallpaper. I liked being able to put stream directly on the wallpaper and once it was soaked, it was very easy to remove.

Good luck!

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

Wall paper from 30 or 40 years ago, is still only 1970, when most people used prepasted wallpaper, very similar to what is available today. However, if your house is over 100 years old, some of those layers may have been from 1930's and 40's or even before, and they would most definitely have used a wheat or other type of paste that is different in compostion from glue nowadays. You might want to google for information on historic renovations to see if there is a technique for really old wallpaper. I would suggest a steamer. The wallpaper removers you buy in the hardware store are formulated for modern papers (although if you are removing stuff from the 70's, that is still modern). I used a product purchased from the hardware store (don't remember the name of it), sprayed this on, stripped off the paper, and then scraped the glue off with a flat metal spatula, like one you would use for drywalling. It was a bit tedious, but not difficult. I believe I ripped as much paper off as I could before I started the spraying.

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October 8, 20100 found this helpful

You should be very cautious about removing paper in a home of that age. Walls were made differently and you may be getting into a very expensive project such as hanging wall board over lath wood and uneven plaster. Good luck.

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October 9, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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