Wallpaper is one of the most common ways to decorate the walls of any home. This includes many patterns with which we can save an expensive paint job. The problem comes when we need to replace it for any reason. Removing all the paper from the wall requires that we use the appropriate wallpaper removal tool, or else we will have a difficult time.
We cannot simply paste a new wallpaper over the old one, so we must remove it. The good thing is that with all the facilities that exist today, you will not need to hire a professional for this task, in fact, you can do it in just one day.
Image source: Fred Albert
The only thing we have to keep in mind is that, depending on the type of paper, we may need to use a specific method to avoid damaging the wall, but we will explain all this below.
Be aware of what you are going to remove
All remodeling work should start with some study. If you don’t know what you are facing, this simple task will be very difficult.
If in our case we do not install a removable wallpaper, we will have to fight to remove the one we have, since the adhesive can be very aggressive on the wall. Not all wallpaper removal tools work as we wish, and this makes the process difficult for us.
The first thing we should know is what is the adhesive used to glue the wallpaper and what can we do to it. This was developed to be used on walls made from plaster. Its composition is based on wheat, so it is not toxic to humans.
However, this can be used on other walls, such as drywall, so we must know the characteristics of our wall such as construction time or the materials used to determine what is the best tool to avoid damaging it.
Image source: Houzz
These were for which the wallpaper was originally thought, so it is common for houses with these walls to be upholstered. These are constructions of more than 50 years ago, and their assembly process consisted of wooden frames with wooden straps in the middle, creating a large mesh that would later be covered with two or three layers of plaster.
These walls are easily recognizable because they are very solid, which means that touching them will emit a dry sound.
Image source: Home Depot
These have been a standard in homes for 50 years, and it greatly facilitates the process of manufacturing homes. The walls of Drywall are also mounted on a wooden frame, but they are not filled with plaster, instead, they are nailed with sheets made of a chalk-like substance that is coated with cardboard.
As they are not filled, when you touch them you can hear a hollow sound. With this type of walls, you have to be very careful, since they are more delicate and a wallpaper scraper could break the cardboard.
Simple methods to remove wallpapers
With liquid remover
Perhaps the simplest option is to use a liquid remover. These remove the adhesive, which makes removing the paper easy. It also serves to remove waste once we clean everything. The process, as we already mentioned, is simple. The first thing to do is to be prepared with the basic safety implements (rubber gloves and glasses) since these solvents are dangerous.
Now we will proceed to mix the chemical with some warm water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To apply it to the wall, we will need to pour the mixture into a sprayer.
With the mixture prepared, the following is to spray a section of the wall. If your wallpaper does not let the liquid penetrate it, you should make some stripes where it can pass. Let the mixture rest for a while.
Finally, the wallpaper should be easily removed in the section you sprayed. With the help of a palette or razor scraper, try to peel the paper. You must repeat this process for each section.
A homemade solution, but that may not be useful in all cases, is if we create our own abrasive based on lemon juice, white vinegar, and water. The mixture only requires two cups of water, two cups of vinegar and a third of a cup of lemon juice. The result will be quite acidic as you can imagine.
Although it may not seem like it, we can also try to remove the paper with a fabric softener. For greater effectiveness, it is recommended that it be mixed with dish washing soap.
Remove the wallpaper with steam
Image source: Wallpaper Safari
Another way to moisten and heat the paper at the same time to take it off is by using a vaporizer. In this way, even the strongest glues can be removed. The advantage of this process is that it does not require the use of any dangerous chemical, so beyond being careful with the temperature of the vaporizer, it is quite safe.
In addition to the vaporizer, you will need a paper scraper and a tray to place the vaporizer when you do not use it. As an additional measure to avoid high temperatures, it is recommended to wear long-sleeved shirts and gloves.
Image source: Wallpaper Safari
As with the previous method, if our wall is Drywall, it is best not to overdo it with steam, since after all, it is water that can damage the cardboard cover. Again, if we are facing a waterproof paper, scrape some holes to allow steam to enter.
Unlike solvents, here you will need to remove glue residues with water. Also, as this process moistens the walls a lot, it is best to wait several days before applying a new wallpaper or painting them.
Basic tools to remove wallpaper
Regardless of the method, we are going to use to remove our wallpaper, certain wallpaper removal tools are indispensable and we should have before starting this project.
This wallpaper removal tool is essential to remove the paper once the strength of the glue has been removed or softened. Although it looks like a common spatula, the truth is that it has a special blade that allows us to always keep it sharp. It is a bad idea to use a drywall knife or similar because, rather than removing the wallpaper, we will end up damaging the wall.
As we mentioned before, there are times when our wallpaper is waterproof and does not allow liquids to penetrate, so removing the glue becomes impossible. To solve this, we need a special tool that allows us to puncture small holes quickly. As with the spatula, you should be careful with the sharp tools, as you could end up drilling the drywall.
Image source: HGTV
This is essential if we are going to apply chemical solvent methods. The spray we use should produce few splashes. The finer the spray, the better. As with all work where we will apply liquids, you will need to have sponges and towels on hand to clean at the end.
Some final tips to effectively remove wallpaper
Ok, we admit that at first we said that removing wallpaper is not as problematic as it seems, but in part we said it so you didn’t have a negative mind and does not try to do it in the first place. Actually, the process is slow, but it is the only way we can do it well and without compromising our walls.
If you are going to prepare to carry out this project, then you must be prepared with everything you need before starting, so that you can save time. We still have a couple of tips that you can use to be more efficient in the remodeling work, but don’t expect it to necessarily make it more fun.
Image source: Architectural Digest
The first is a piece of general advice that can also be applied when painting: you must cover each outlet and switch in the room so as not to splash it by accident. The best thing for this is to use masonry or painter’s tape, which is not as strong and can be removed without problems at the end. If you do not have this, try adhering the tape first to fabric to remove the glue a little.
Image source: Architectural Digest
Another space that must be covered is the floor, especially at the edges where the walls intersect. We recommend the use of plastics so that the water does not pass to unwanted places.
Check if your wallpaper can be removed without tools. In some cases, such as those that are coated with vinyl, we can remove the top layer to just leave the paste and part of the fragile paper.
Image source: Esska-Tech
Have a utility knife at hand to make cuts in difficult areas or delicate spaces. As for the scraper or spatula that you will use to remove the paper, try to use one with an angled blade so as not to damage the wall. In the case of using solvents, start at the top so that what drains will soften other sections.
Remember to clean the walls at the end. Preferably use a damp cloth, and after removing each residue, let the wall rest for 1 or 2 days before applying paint or new wallpaper
If you liked this detailed article on wallpaper removal tool, you should check out these as well:
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- How to pick cool wallpapers for your rooms