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Home Decorating: Wallpaper Removal

Home Decorating: Wallpaper Removal

When it comes to home decorating, wallpaper removal can be a laborious task. And risky, too. Whether you are a seasoned pro or are dabbling in DIY for the first time, wallpaper removal is likely to go one of two ways. The success of the process depends on a range of factors including the technique and tools that you use, but the biggest factor is what type of surface you are removing your wallpaper from. Stripping wallpaper from drywall is challenging, but stripping walls that have been papered straight on plaster can be disastrous. Here’s what you need to know before you start.

Review your options

Before you get kitted out and start attacking the wallpaper, consider whether the job is essential. This will very much depend on the type of wallpaper that you want to get rid of, and what you want to replace it with. If you want to paper or paint over wallpaper that is in good condition, just not to your taste, you may be better off using a lining paper and papering or painting on top of it to avoid the risks associated with wallpaper stripping. However, if your current paper is textured or in bad condition, you will probably need to remove it in order to get a good finish. If you live in an older home or you suspect that previous owners may have papered straight onto plaster, it may be worth getting a professional painter and decorator to help you.

Get the kit

As tempting as it may be to start scraping away immediately, as with all DIY projects, it pays to plan properly and make sure that you have everything you need. Essentially, wallpaper is similar to the sticky labels you find on jars, so the best way to remove it is by applying water and heat. Applying a chemical solution which you spray on the wallpaper to dissolve the adhesives can work adequately for smaller rooms, but for larger areas, it is worth investing in a proper wallpaper steamer, which you can rent or buy from most DIY shops. To steam your wallpaper, you will need:

  • A wallpaper steamer and spare steaming pad
  • Putty knife
  • Orbital scorer
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Access to clean water

Prep your area

Before you can get onto the “fun” bit, it is very helpful if you spend some time prepping – any time prepping will save you twice as much time clearing up. Clear the room as much as you can; wallpaper removal is a surprisingly messy job! Anything that can’t be moved out should be moved to the middle of the room and covered up. Disconnect the electricity to avoid the risks associated with water or steam seeping into the sockets.

Once your area is prepared, you are ready to strip! Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or head straight to next week’s instalment, which fills you in on the do's and don’ts of wallpaper stripping to help you get a great finish.

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