Stripping Old Wallpaper

There is a link on the right side of this page where I explain how to strip old wallpaper.  But since that’s exactly what I spent my time doing today, I thought I would post a few more pics, and give a little more info.

The first step is removing the top layer of paper.  I use a 3″ stiff putty knife to get under the paper, they pull off as much as I can.  The paper tears, so you will be pulling quite a few bits of paper, to remove one full-length strip.

The top layer seperates and leaves the paper backing still on the wall.  In the second photo, I have started soaking the backing with hot water and a sponge.  You can see the color difference – once the backing is thoroughly wet, it changes to a dark tan color.  (Different papers have different colored backings.)

Once it’s good and wet, the paste behind it will be wet, too.  Then, if you’re lucky, you will be able to peel the whole sheet off the wall.  More often than now, though, you will have to peel smaller pieces, or even use that putty knife to scrape the paper off the wall.

Today, I was lucky, because whoever put the paper up took the time to put a primer or a coat of paint on the wall before putting up the paper.  A coat of something sure makes it easier to get the paper off.  If it had been hung right on top of new Sheetrock, it would have been the Devil to remove.

Contrast photo #2 with photo #3.  In #3, you see the homeowner’s original attempt to strip the paper.  Without understanding the principles of how to do the job, you can see how the paper is coming off in little bitty pieces, and how many gouges were dug into the wall.  All this will have to be repaired before they can have new paper installed, or have the room painted.

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