How To

How to Remove Wallpaper

The best methods for removing wallpaper.

The best methods for removing wallpaper

Decided it's time your outdated wall covering comes down? Then you've come to the right place! Fortunately, our handy guide on how to remove wallpaper will take you through all the tips and techniques you need to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. Depending on what type you're working with, you can start removing wallpaper with a steamer, chemical stripper, peeling off or by using soap and water. Read on to discover how best to ditch your old décor and refresh your space.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR REMOVING WALLPAPER

Making sure your DIY wallpaper removal is successful is all down to the preparation and method. Ahead, find some pointers on what you'll need to do before you start the project.

GET THE ROOM READY AND CLEAR THE WALLS

To ensure the job of removing wallpaper goes smoothly, there are some important steps to follow first:

  • Clear the room of as much furniture as you can and take down everything from the walls
  • Protect other surfaces in the room from any damage that could be caused by steam, water, soap or old wet wallpaper
  • Wallpaper removal can get messy, so it's worth protecting your floor by laying down dust sheets
  • For safety, switch any electricity off and cover any switches and sockets
  • Have bin liners on hand to regularly clean up removed pieces of paper

CHECK YOUR WALL AND WALLPAPER TYPE

Working out how to take off wallpaper quickly and efficiently comes down to what type has been used on your wall. You'll need to check whether the wallpaper is peelable, strippable or paste-the-wall to decide on the best method for you.

EASY PEEL REMOVAL

Proving wallpaper removal isn't always as tricky as you might think, all our paste-the-wall wallpapers are incredibly easy to take off compared to traditional styles. Plus, here at Graham & Brown, we've got plenty more beautiful wallpaper designs to choose from when you're ready for a new look, too!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

The great thing about easy-peel removal is that you won't need much equipment!

  • Screwdriver for socket covers
  • Decorator's knife to pry a corner
  • Steamer, or warm water and sponge for the backing
  • Ladder (if required)

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS

Here's how to remove peelable wallpaper with minimal effort:

1. REMOVE THE TOP LAYER

Once you've used a screwdriver to remove any socket covers from the wall, you can simply peel back the top layer of wallpaper starting from the corner. Pull slowly at an angle.

2. REMOVE THE BACKING

Once the top layer of wallpaper has been peeled off the wall, it may leave a paper backing behind. This can be taken off using steam or with warm water and a sponge.

STRIPPABLE WALLPAPER REMOVAL

Luckily, strippable wallpaper is also hassle-free when it comes to removing from your walls.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

It's a good idea to have the below essentials close to hand before you begin.

  • Screwdriver for socket covers
  • Decorator's knife to pry a corner
  • Ladder (if required)

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS

After the best removal method for strippable wallpaper? Follow these steps:

1. LIFT A CORNER AND PULL

Using a decorator's knife, start by lifting a corner of the paper. Similar to peelable wallpaper, you'll need to carefully pull the strippable type away from the wall at an angle. If the paper tears, then start again from another corner.

2. WIPE DOWN WALLS

When you've removed all of the wallpaper, use hot soapy water and a cloth to scrub away any residue. Leave the walls to dry for 24 hours before painting or redecorating with one of our exclusive wallpaper designs.

TRADITIONAL WALLPAPER REMOVAL

Removing traditional wallpaper can be more challenging than other types of wall coverings and usually means you may have to put in a good deal of elbow grease to get the job done!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Start by gathering your tools. Here are your staples:

  • Bucket
  • Hot soapy water
  • Scraper
  • Dust sheets
  • Ladder (if required)
  • Wallpaper steamer (if needed) - these are available for hire or can be purchased at most DIY stores

STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS

There are two removal methods for traditional wallpaper, either by hand soaking or with a steam stripper. The approach you choose will depend on whether you can buy, hire or borrow a time-saving steam stripper, as well as the condition of your walls: can they withstand steam removal?

1. REMOVE BY HAND SOAKING

  • Fill a bucket with warm water and add a small amount of washing up liquid. Apply the soapy water to the wall using the paintbrush. Starting from the bottom up will break the surface tension allowing it to penetrate the wallpaper.
  • When the wall is thoroughly wet, leave the water to soak in and penetrate the wallpaper – this will help soften the paste used to hang the wallpaper.
  • Scoring the paper with the edge of your scraper or a knife will help penetrate but could damage the plaster underneath. Use caution. How many layers of wallpaper and how long the wallpaper has been on will also be a factor.
  • Using a scraper or stripping knife, lift the paper at the easiest point – often the seams or from the bottom of the wall. Let the water do the work, and keep clearing the paper as you go so as not to create more work later.
  • If the wallpaper has been subsequently painted, it can be pretty difficult for the water to penetrate – you may need to soak it several times or use a wallpaper steam stripper.

2. REMOVE BY STEAM STRIPPER

  • You could invest in a steam stripper, borrow from a friend or hire – they work in a similar way to the above method but cut down the soaking time.
  • Steam strippers have a tank of water that acts like a kettle to produce steam which flows up a pipe to a “plate”. This plate is pressed to the service and loosens the paper for the stripper. Large areas can be worked quickly and easily.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and be careful not to scold yourself on the steam or get kinks in the pipe.
  • Always keep an eye on the water level to avoid boiling it dry.

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