Stripping Wallpaper – A Brief How-To

Digital ImageWhoever hung this wallpaper when the house was built back in the ’80’s did a very good job – and I rarely come across that. The most notable thing is that he used a good primer under the paper. That helps facilitate the removal of the paper later – which I am doing today.

Here I am, stripping off the old paper. The first step is to peal away the top layer, in this case, a “solid vinyl” wallpaper with a paper backing.

This leaves the paper backing on the wall, which you can see as the light tan area.

Next, I soak the backing with warm water (no soap or chemicals needed), to reactivate the paste. The wet backing is the darker tan area you see in the photo.

Once the backing is good and wet, and the adhesive has reactivated and become wet again, the paper backing will – if you are lucky – peel away easily. In other cases, you will have to work a little harder, by gently scraping the backing away from the wall with a stiff, 3″ putty knife.

Because a good quality primer was used, I was able to easily-but-patiently strip off all the wallpaper, with virtually no damage to the wall.

All I have to do to be ready to hang the new paper is to apply a new primer (probably not necessary in this case, but, hey, I’m a primer freak!).

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