How to Remove Wallpaper

If you’re planning on redecorating your home, one of the things you may want to tackle is your walls. If you have existing wallpaper, you will have to remove it in order to give your walls a fresh coat of paint or repaper them with brand-new vinyl wallpaper. Stripping old wallpaper isn’t very difficult but does need some effort. Read on to learn how to remove wallpaper safely without damaging your walls.

matte kitchen cabinet adhesive wallpaper roll vinyl

Do I Have to Remove the Existing Wallpaper to Redecorate?

You can get away with leaving your old wallpaper on if you have a single layer of wallpaper that is smooth and free of bubbles, buckles and wrinkles. It also needs to be well-adhered without any bits peeling off. 

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to strip away existing wallpaper if you have vinyl wallpaper on your walls or any other kind of wallpaper with foil or plastic film or if you suspect there is more than one layer of wallpaper currently on your walls. Additionally, you should remove your existing wallpaper if it is made up of any kind of fabric as the glue from your new wallpaper won’t adhere to it. Also, remove old wallpaper if you’re planning to paint your walls.

Techniques for Removing Old Wallpaper

There are different techniques you need to use depending on the type of wallpaper you have on your walls.

How to Remove Wallpaper<br />
vinyl printing specialist at work

Strippable Wallpaper

Strippable wallpapers are the easiest to remove. Test a corner or seam at the bottom of a wall to check if you have strippable wallpaper. Use a putty knife to pry the edge of the wallpaper. If it comes away easily and continues to do so as you pull on it, you know it’s strippable. Simply loosen both the corners of each strip of wallpaper and pull gently until the entire bottom section is free. Grab the bottom edges and pull at a 10 – 15-degree angle as the strip of wallpaper comes away from the wall. Repeat. Use your putty knife or a razor knife to help loosen stubborn sections. Many vinyl wallpapers have strippable top layers, so remove those first before removing the lower layer.

Washable Wallpaper

If the wallpaper is very old and, therefore, not strippable, you’ll need to score it so that water or steam can get behind the outer layer to loosen the glue. This applies to non-strippable washable wallpaper that has a plastic film on it too. Use a scoring tool to create holes in the wallpaper without damaging the wall behind it. Soak the wallpaper with water using a spray bottle. Soak small sections at a time so that the water doesn’t dry up before you get to it. Wait for about 10 minutes and start peeling. Work carefully so it doesn’t tear into little strips, which can get tedious. You can also try using lukewarm water to help the glue loosen faster.

Steam It Free

If you have really stubborn wallpaper, you may need to rent a steamer and enlist the help of a friend to get your wallpaper off your walls. Use your scoring tool to make holes in your wallpaper. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely using the steaming pad on the wallpaper for 30 seconds before using a scraper to peel the wallpaper off. 

Once you have removed the wallpaper, you’ll need to remove residual glue from the walls using a sponge with warm water and dish soap solution. For larger amounts of glue, use a wallpaper stripper followed by hot water and a sponge to clean your walls. 

Depending on the condition of your walls, you may have to treat your walls by skim-coating the damaged walls with a drywall compound before painting or using a primer to prep your walls for new wallpaper.

If you’re planning on repapering your walls, read this article to learn why vinyl wallpaper is a great choice. Vinyl Labs has over 500 different options for you to explore when it comes to vinyl wallpaper or can create a custom vinyl print to suit your needs. 

You can view the full catalogue of vinyl wallpaper here or get in touch with us and let us know what you are looking for today.