Removing wallpaper is a tough, ugly, and tedious job that can be a daunting task to tackle. However, this step is essential and can impact your next steps for painting or installing new wallpaper.
Even if the wallpaper on your walls looks like it is in good condition, painting over it is not a good option as it can damage the wallpaper severely. The extra moisture in the paint can cause the wallpaper adhesive to loosen, creating wrinkling and air bubbles beneath the surface. The same effects could happen when attempting to apply new wallpaper over existing wallpaper.
By using the right tools and implementing the correct techniques, removing wallpaper can be an easier task than you expected.
First things first, remove all items from the room and take the necessary steps to protect the floor and woodwork. Remove as much furniture as you can and be sure to take everything off the walls, including artwork, vents, outlet covers, and switch plate covers. Cover the openings with plastic and tape so that the dust and wallpaper remnants do not travel into your ducts. Since liquid and moisture is involved, it is recommended to tape plastic to your baseboards, allowing it to overlap the floor. Cover the rest of the floor with plastic. It can be helpful to lay towels against your baseboards as well, to lessen the burden of clean up.
Then, remove the top layer of the old wallpaper, known as the facing. The facing has the image, colour, or pattern printed on it, whereas the backing is just white. Start in a corner near the ceiling or under a switch plate and use a putty knife to start to peel the paper. The longer the paper has been up, the more difficult it is to peel away. In some cases, its common for the wallpaper to peel off in tiny pieces. If necessary, use a scoring tool or fork to assist.
After you have removed all the wallpaper facing, soak the backing to soften the adhesive paste. Be sure to wear gloves and apply the hottest water possible to the surface using a sponge. Let the water soak in for about fifteen minutes or until you see it start to pull away from the wall. It is best to concentrate on a small area at a time and you may need to repeat this step several times to see results. Be careful, as you can damage the wall during this step of the process. Plaster walls can withstand the heat and moisture, whereas drywall can be damaged if the water is left on for more than fifteen minutes.
Once the backing is soft enough to scratch off with your fingernail, it is time for scraping! A putty knife with rounded corners is the best tool for this step, but any flexible metal spatula will work. Flexibility is important, especially for drywalled surfaces, as it won't dig into and damage the surface as much. There is no need to be aggressive with the scraper as you can easily gouge the wall.
There is going to be a lot of paste left on the wall after scraping the wallpaper backing off. Before using chemicals, scrape off as much of the glue with your putty knife as you can. If your walls still feel sticky and there is a dark sheen to them, there is still paste present. If you do not get all the adhesive off, your paint may chip off and new wallpaper may not stick properly. Gel stripper can be used on stubborn areas. Spray the product, wait fifteen to twenty minutes, then scrape off the gel and paste at the same time.
The final steps of the wallpaper removal process start with thoroughly cleaning your walls with soap and water until they are smooth and debris-free. If there are any uneven or damaged spots, you must repair the area with joint compound and sand the spot until it is smooth. Once fully dry, you are ready for a new coat of paint or wallpaper. Don't forget to prime the walls beforehand to get the best results for your desired surface!
Generally, it takes about one day to strip the walls of a small room. The time it takes you to remove wallpaper is dependent on your situation, as there are so many factors that come into play. These factors include the age, type, and condition of the existing wallpaper, your skill level, and the amount of determination you have to get the job finished.
Though wallpaper removal requires a large amount of patience, the results are well worth it! If you are looking for interior design service to help plan and finish your space or if you want to shop for designer wallpaper to apply on your freshly cleaned surface, visit Penrose Interiors Ltd today! We proudly provide service to the Derbyshire and Bakewell areas.