With modern wallpaper strippers and tools that make the job faster and easier, wallpaper removal is not the chore is used to be. For hassle-free removal jobs, determine the type of wall covering you are going to remove, then determine your project steps.
Go to a seam or edge and try to peel it off. If you are removing commercial vinyl panels, they will likely dry strip in one piece, leaving only the adhesive residue on the wall surface. After removing the vinyl, apply a wallpaper stripper solution to soften the old glue and scrape it off. To prevent drywall damage, use a nonrazor-edged scraper with rounded corners.
If the vinyl front of the wallpaper pulls off and leaves just the paper backing on the wall, peel off the front by hand and then apply a wallpaper stripper solution to loosen the wallpaper backing. After 10 to 15 minutes, scrape the backing off. Then reapply the stripper and scrape off any remaining glue.
If your test piece of wallpaper peels off in small pieces, you will need to score the wall covering with a perforating device. Perforating the wallpaper will allow the wallpaper stripper to penetrate behind the wallpaper to loosen the paper and soften the adhesive. The more holes you make, the faster the remover will penetrate and work. After scoring, apply the removal solution and follow the steps described above.
There are several tips to speed the wallpaper stripper application process. If you are using a concentrated wallpaper stripper, choose an enzyme-based product that will break down and dissolve the old adhesives. These work faster than ordinary strippers or home-brewed solutions. Also, using a garden sprayer, as opposed to a sponge and spray bottle, will fully saturate the wallpaper and old glue quicker for faster removal.
As a general rule, when using concentrate or ready-to-use liquid solutions, it is best to apply the removal solution, wait 10 to 15 minutes and apply it again, re-wetting and scraping as you go. One product that we recommend is a concentrate called Safe and Simple, which can be purchased online at www.safeandsimple.com .
An alternative to liquid solutions is a non-drip gel wallpaper stripper applied with a roller. This is ideal when working in areas where neatness counts. Gel removers are recommended for tough removal jobs. The long soaking action softens old adhesive without over-saturating the wallboard facing paper, which can tear easily. Plus, only one application is generally needed.
There is also a product called WallWik. These are sheets that can be saturated with the removal solution of your choice, then stuck to the wall. They saturate the wallpaper and help tremendously in the removal process.
After wallcovering and adhesive have been removed, wash walls with TSP, then rinse off the wall with clean water and allow it to dry. You are then ready to start painting or hanging wallcovering. When installing new wallpaper, use a primer specifically formulated for use prior to wallcovering. These products make installation easier, improve adhesion and make the next round of removal easier.