removing wallpaper tips

Removing wallpaper without losing your sanity

For anyone considering renovations, one of the tasks that tends to raise a sense of dread more than most is the thoughts of removing wallpaper. It’s certainly a task that has been a source of frustration and stress for many home improvers over the years.

However, if you follow a few simple steps, this job needn’t be a cause for concern. Here’s an outline to removing wallpaper in an easy-to-follow process.

Preparation is important

Once you remove all furniture from the room, put a protective covering over the floors and use masking tape and plastic to create a “gutter” from the skirting boards to catch falling water. Check to see if the faceplates of light switches and power points have been placed over the paper. If so, you may need to remove them.

Rip into the removal

The first step is to try using a putty knife to get behind the top corners of the wallpaper, then pull steadily at 45 degrees. In many cases newer wallpaper will come off in whole sheets, but older paper will tend to come off in pieces.

Using hot water

Hot water and a sponge or mop are handy tools when it comes to peeling the remaining paper and backing materials. Be sure to wear gloves and, if your walls are plasterboard don’t leave them wet for too long.

Removing backing materials

A flexible metal scraper with round corners can be used to remove the persistent backing and adhesives. If there is any paste left after scraping, use the water and sponge again. It is important to leave the walls clean as new paint or paper won’t adhere to old paste.

Make a smooth finish

You need to remember that the smoother the bare wall, the smoother your new finish will be. So fill any holes and sand the surface using a sanding block and fine sandpaper. It is also wise to prime the entire wall before applying any new finishes.

If all else fails

If removing wallpaper is proving particularly tough, chemical strippers can break down the paste but please take care. You can also try an electric steamer if the paper is stuck fast.

Allowing enough time

Last, but not least, experienced renovators will tell you that removing wallpaper is best done as a 2-person/2-day job. If you do all the removal work on day one, you can focus on sanding and finishing the surface on day two.

Keep in mind that if you are considering removing wallpaper as part of your efforts to prepare your property for sale, we would strongly recommend talking to one of the team at Ian Reid Vendor Advocates before you start. You may find that this type of task is unnecessary, depending on your buyer and the market in your area.

You will also find lots of helpful tips on how to avoid making expensive mistakes when you sell in our FREE booklet “Fatal Real Estate Traps Exposed”. So why not download a free copy while you’re here?

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