Brel's Blog

Tips and Techniques for Removing Wallpaper Before the Painter Comes

January 3rd, 2017

Photo by Liz West [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Preparing your home before the painters arrive saves us time, and it saves you money. We share a common goal: quickly painting your interior space. One of the best ways to help us do that is to tear down old wallpaper before we arrive. The process is easy, but it is also time-consuming. Tear it down yourself to ensure that your project goes smoothly. To help you get started, here is our list of tips and techniques for removing wallpaper before the painters come.

Preparing the Room

Removing wallpaper makes a mess; there are no two ways about it. Start the process by removing your furniture from the room. Next, strip the room of vents, outlet covers, and anything else on the walls. Cover any created openings with plastic and tape and turn off the electricity. Finally, tape plastic to your baseboards and let it overhang onto the floor. Place towels over the plastic and you’re finished. Trust us: you’ll be thankful for that water barrier later in this process.

Begin Peeling

Peeling starts at the wallpaper edges, so find an outlet or room corner and get to work. Your first goal is to remove the wallpaper facing, or the decorative part of the wallpaper. Consider a putty knife to lift stubborn edges.

If you’re lucky, large sheets of paper might come off, but more than likely only small pieces will sheer off. Use 45 degree pulls for the best chance of peeling large strips.

The Wallpaper Backing

Now, it’s time for the messy part. Use a sponge or floor mop to apply water to the wallpaper backing. You’ll know you’re at the backing when only a thin white material remains. Let the water soak in for 15 minutes, and then, attempt to remove the backing. Stubborn backing might take several water applications to soften the glue.

Never use more water than the backing will absorb. Drywall is susceptible to moisture and can soften to the point of disrepair. Working in small sections ensures that the backing is wet enough to remove, and it keeps the drywall from absorbing too much moisture.

Next, take a metal spatula or putty knife and scrape away the wet backing. Always use tools with rounded edges or you’ll risk puncturing the drywall while scraping. The majority of the backing should scrape away fairly easily.

The Finishing Touches

Your final step is to remove any small bits of excess glue or leftover backing. This is easily accomplished with a chemical wallpaper remover. Follow the instructions of the remover (mix with water or use as-is), and scrape off the remaining paste. For stubborn backing, you can apply the chemical remover before the initial removal step.

End the process by spraying the wall with water one last time, and then shining a light directly on the wall. This will reveal any missed glue. Take a sander to the remaining glue spots, and your job is done.

Following these steps will have your walls bare and ready for the painters in no time. Removing wallpaper only takes a little time and effort.

If you’re in need of quality painting professionals in the Boulder or Denver area, get in touch with us. We’d love to replace your old wallpaper with an interior painting masterpiece.

What our customers are saying:

  • “Brel, is easy to work with, and responsive to communications. The crews were prompt, every phone call or email was promptly returned, and the work was outstanding, including clean up. All our painting jobs will go to this company in the future. “Ricky W.