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Coloma's avatar

Any tricks you have learned about an easy way to strip wallpaper?

Asked by Coloma (47105points) October 9th, 2016

I am about to start stripping funky wallpaper and have not done this in years. I know there are solutions to spray on and help remove the old paper but just wondering if any of you have any tips for easiest removal?

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31 Answers

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I did it 20 years ago and all I remember is I bought a heat gun and a wide scraper from the paint department at the hardware store.

The heat gun is 1200 watts, so I’m thinking a hair dryer would probably do the same job. I think they’re typically 1500 watts.

jca's avatar

Score it and spray stuff on and let it sit overnight.

Also, another thing that works is heat gun. Heat gun sections and scrape. It’s a big pain in the ass. I’ve used that method. It works but it’s slow going. Something you do a little of here and there and in a week or two it’s all done.

jca's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay: The hair dryer is nowhere near as hot as the heat gun.

Coloma's avatar

Thanks guys! I will go to Home Depot and look at heat guns or try my 1500 wt. blow dryer maybe. It’s been forever and I just remember it taking freaking weeks to get the stuff off. Maybe the wallpaper fairies will come in the night. haha

cookieman's avatar

We had good luck with a bucket of warm water and Downey fabric softener (liquid). About 60–40 ratio. Sponge it on, let soak in, and scrape. Repeat as needed.

Coloma's avatar

@cookieman Cool…I’ll try that too!

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

My trick would be to get someone else to do it – but this is general so I’ll try harder for you @Coloma.

I’d hire a steamer and use one of them to get the paper off. Just be careful if you decide to hire one.

kritiper's avatar

Hot slightly soapy water applied might help. Let sit a few and strip off.
I was able to strip off mine with just a 4” wallpaper knife and some elbow grease.
Otherwise, a rented steamer works well.

Coloma's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit haha, That would be my first choice but I’m on a budget right now. In my old life I would have subbed it out no question. lol

@kritiper Yes, I don;t want residue since I am painting after stripping. The hot water and soap would wash off easily.

kritiper's avatar

@Coloma Ditch the soap. Just use hot water. Good luck with the project!

YARNLADY's avatar

We just used hot water, apply, wait, apply again, and scrape.

jca's avatar

@Coloma: Hair dryer vs. Heat gun: 131 degrees F vs. 1000 degrees F:
https://www.masterappliance.com/blog/tool-tips-miscellaneous/12-10-31/heat-gun-vs-hair-dryer-heat-tool-throw-down

If you spray on fabric softener, make sure you score the wall paper so the fabric softener leaks in between the wallpaper and the wall.

Coloma's avatar

@jca Yes, the scoring is great idea, I hadn’t thought of that but it makes sense. Thanks!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The easiest way to strip wallpaper is hot water with wetting agent on scored wallpaper; let it set overnight, soak the wall two more times, once just before you try to remove.
Use the heat gun or replace your hair dryer (after five or six hours of been turned on).
I had an easy job of removing bathroom wallpaper because the paper was vinyl, it peeled off with a heat gun and gloves for grip.

Pandora's avatar

Make a party of it with your kids friends. LOL That’s how I did it. We got a whole room done in a few short hours. I found soaking the paper with hot water and using a steamer works great. Then use a scraper as you go along.
We also loaded them up with pizza, soda and cake. And when it was done, we sat in the middle of the room and played board games till late at night. We all had a good time.
Oh, I miss those kids. All I had to do was load them up with carbs and sugar and they gladly provided the free labor. They were nice. We stripped the wall paper in the kitchen and dinning room and painted both rooms in one weekend.

Coloma's avatar

@Pandora Haha, good idea except my “kid” is 2 now and lives out of town. It will be just be me and a friend. I’m starting Thurs. see how long this takes.

Coloma's avatar

^ My kid is 29..not 2 and living out of town. haha

MollyMcGuire's avatar

This is the worst job in the home redecorating genre. I mean it sux. First, how old is the paper/how long has it been up there on the wall. If it is so old that the top layer is paper rather than vinyl you are in luck. If it was hung around 1979 when prepasted vinylvinyl coated coverings got popular and later, your job is harder (even though when you bought it you were told it’s strippable). You have to find a corner and strip the vinyl layer first. There will remain probably two layers of the underpaper and sometimes it is grown to the wall. After you get the vinyl layer off wet the paper. A lot. Use a pump sprayer or bucket of water and sponge. Let it sit 15 minutes letting the paste soften. Then attempt to pull the paper from the wall. You may get big pieces to come off which is great or you may have to end up using a scraper and scraping the paper off in small pieces. I just renovated a house built in 1980 that was totally wallpapered including a three story staircase, well, two story plus a seven foot box with a sky light at the top. It was so bad I gave up and the contractor ended up replacing a lot of dry wall because of the damage to it by trying toget the friggin paper off. Maybe your job will be easier. I hope so. Oh, someone above mentioned scoring the paper, which means putting lots of little holes in it. That is recommended for vinyl and vinyl coated. I tried it and it was a waste of time for me, but youmight want to try it. Be careful though; if you put those little hole i n your drywall they will show when you paint.

jca's avatar

I’m remembering when we took the wallpaper off in my grandparents’ kitchen, portions of the plaster were taken out in chunks by the wallpaper that was absolutely stuck to it. Really, it will make you never, ever want to put wallpaper on anything ever again.

You can always do some faux finishing paint techniques if you are looking for some interesting walls.

Coloma's avatar

@MollyMcGuire It is loose and peeling in a lot of places and I’m pretty sure it is not the vinyl type, just basic wallpaper, probably 20 years old at least.
I just have to get in there today/tomorrow and start to see how it goes. I’m going to start spraying it down with hot water today and leave overnight.

@jca Oh yes, I am not a wallpaper type at all, gah, why people wallpaper is beyond me. haha
Thanks guys, I am dreading this project but I’ll at least have the company and help of my good friend, makes it a little more pleasurable, if you can say stripping wallpaper is pleasurable. lol

Coloma's avatar

Well….the good news, I was able to peel off about half of it without any residue but there are going to be problem areas where it is still very much intact with no looseness. However, I think if I can get it started by cutting with an exacto knife I might be able to hand peel more as the adhesive is very dried out. I just spent less than an hour and managed to strip a good portion. It is confined to a bathroom and entry way soooo, could be a lot worse, it could be the whole damn apartment. haha

YARNLADY's avatar

I am seriously considering putting wallpaper on my rental house because someone covered the walls with crayon scribbles, and then painted over it. The crayon is now showing through. I think it would be best to simply cover it over with wallpaper. Would there be a better solution?

Coloma's avatar

@YARNLADY In that case maybe wallpaper, I don;t know if there are any solutions to removing crayon wax short of ripping out the drywall and starting with all new walls to paint.

Coloma's avatar

Taaa Daaaa! Done! Well, almost. haha
My friend and I spent about 3 hours going full force on the wallpaper scene and it is 99.9% stripped.

Just a few little spots here and there that need scraping. I used razor knives and for everything that didn’t peel well the knives just shaved off the underlying paper/residue. A corner area to finish and some random spots to shave but….mostly success! Thanks for all of your tips jelly pals!

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Crayon can easily be washed from wall with a little comet on a damp cloth.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@Coloma What was the technique? Scrolling up, I think it was simply hot water and scrapers, is that correct?

Coloma's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Hand peel all the loose stuff, then shave with razor knives. I used some hot water in a spray bottle to soak patches of the underlying residue that didn’t peel well. The technique is to get the razor knife on a roll, and then just slide it down in one smooth move to peel off the residue. Scroll down or up depending on the stubborness of a particular section.

YARNLADY's avatar

@MollyMcGuire Does that work after the crayon has already been painted over and is leaking through?

jca's avatar

@YARNLADY: I don’t think the crayon is “leaking through.” I think it may just be a matter of it needing a second (or a third) coat of paint to cover properly.

kritiper's avatar

There were places where my wallpaper was stuck so well I used a razor blade type paint scraper to take it off. Worked well in those corner areas or along the ceiling.

Coloma's avatar

@kritiper Yes, that’s what I used, it has a wide blade and worked really well. Only a few little spots left to finish.

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