Lets talk about the subject everyone hates, removing wallpaper.

 

taking off wallpaper

taking off wallpaper

For this job you will need some plastic drop sheets, a pump spray unit, roller and tray, and a wire brush. To start with, I hate putting down plastic drop sheets, it is damn dangerous and can casue major slip hazards when removing wallpaper.  Try to use old towels of cloth drop sheets to place over the plastic sheets.  This will give you a more stable working surface.

 

Before you do anything, turn off the power, you will be soaking walls with water around power switches so just turn off the power.  Take as much furniture out of the room as possible to free up work space, you will be shocked how much room removed wall paper takes up when you get it off the wall.  Place the plastic sheeting on the floor right up against skirting board. Then if you have towels or cloth drop sheets place these over the plastic.

 

Some wall papers are virtually impervious to water penetration so you need to decide if the paper is a foil style which will not take water or if its a more absorbent paper which will take water better.  You can start by trying to remove the top layer of wallpaper and leaving the backing paper on the wall.  Sometimes you can get lucky and the top part of the paper will just strip away.  If this is the case just remove all the top layer of the paper to expose the backing paper and adhesive.  If the paper will not strip of like this and repels water, its time to score the paper………..when I say score I mean score or wire brush it everywhere to allow your water to penetrate thru to the backing paper and adhesive. If your paper absorbs water then lucky you, you can skip the scoring step.

 

All the products in stores for removing wallpaper in my opinion are a waste of time and money.  I have yet to see one that makes an appreciable difference to the removal process.  Dont go and hire a steamer either, you look like a fool when you stand their for hours on end with little result.  There is one rule with getting wallpaper off………..”let the water do the work”  that’s all you have to remember.

 

Fill your paint tray up with warm or hot water and get a fluffy roller (about 270mm wide and 24mm nap) these are big and fluffy.  Load your roller with water and very gently start at the bottom of the wall and with light pressure start rolling the water in an upwards direction.  There is a bit of a knack to this but once you get the idea that you are pushing the water up the wall while it soaks into the paper you will improve your technique.

 

You can wet up a whole room at a time but in my experience just do a couple of walls at a time and don’t let the paper dry out again.  Always keep it wet.  The more water you can get on and give it time to penetrate the easier it will be to scrape off.  Keep applying water with your roller in an upward direction right to the top of the wall.  Once it is wet and has soaked for half an hour or more you can start to remove with a blade.  Plastic ones might be best if your worried about using super sharp tools, if not just buy a metal scraper and start scraping.  If the paper does not want to come way, repete the wetting process and give it time.

 

Now you have removed the wallpaper and backing paper it’s time to remove the glue or paste.   Don’t let the paste dry out again after removing the wall paper.  Keep everything wet and let the water do the work.  Now you have to scrape a very hard to see paste off the wall.  Use a sharp blade and run it over the wall like you are stripping paint.  Be careful at this point because your walls are easily damaged.  The paste will come off easily, its just a matter of getting it all off.

 

Once your sure all the paste has been removed from the walls wipe your skirting boards and cornice off to make sure they don’t have paste on them.

You may cause damage to your gyprock during the removal of the paper but you can patch this up once your ready to paint and the walls are dry again.  I would leave the room for 2-7 days if you have time, just to make sure the moisture is out of the wall.

 

So that is a very basic explanation of how to remove wallpaper.  It is time consuming and can be frustrating as some walls will come off easier than others, but take your time and you will get through the job.

 

If you have any questions please give us a call and I will see what advice or help we can give you.

 

Steve

Stephen Lockyer
Stephen Lockyer
Professional painters and Decorators on the Gold Coast. Serving all your interior and exterior painting needs.

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