Our do-it-yourself experts are masters at solving practically every home improvement challenge under the sun. This month, we’ll tell you all you need to know about stripping old wallpaper.
I'm guessing The Brady Bunch installed the original wallpaper in our bungalow. The burnt orange color scheme has to go. I'm ready to update with paint, but I've never tried to remove wallpaper. What’s the best method?
D.I.Y. Advisor Answer
Old wallpaper is like an adult child who hangs around too long after college -it's worn out its welcome. Just like clinging dependents, wallpaper needs to be removed gently. Here are several ways to get rid of the wallpaper.
Strippable wallpaper is the fastest and easiest to remove. To test if your wallpaper is strippable, lift a corner with a putty knife, grasp the paper with both hands and slowly peel back at a 10-15 degree angle. If the paper is stubborn, remove it strip by strip at corners, avoiding pulling straight out. Excess adhesive can be removed with a sponge using heavy-duty detergent such as trisodium phosphate. Then wash the wall using clean water and a sponge.
If the paper isn't strippable, you can use a chemical wallpaper remover solution. Score the wallpaper in a crisscross pattern with a wallpaper-scoring tool. After the solution is applied and allowed to soak, the paper can be scraped off the wall with a wallpaper scraper. Use heavy-duty detergent to remove excess adhesive, then sponge clean with water.
An electric steamer is another alternative to soften wallpaper paste. Before steaming, score the paper with a wallpaper-scoring tool. Once steam is applied and glue is loosened, use a putty knife to scrape off paper. As with other methods, remove extra adhesive with a heavy-duty detergent before cleaning with a sponge and water.
Tackling papered walls? Get the complete step-by-step instructions, as well as a detailed shopping list, here. Then visit your local True Value store for all the products and equipment you need to make your wallpaper a thing of the past. For even more D.I.Y. project ideas, visit TrueValue.com.