How to Remove Wallpaper!

Continuing Getting My Cary Home ready to sell

Among the suggestions that Lenda and Lee Ann had were:  remove the wallpaper in the dining room.  I love this wallpaper.  I am not a fan of wallpaper in general, but this one was beautiful in my eyes.  It was blue and white (like my china) with a white on white print in the background.  It took forever to pick out and hanging stripes isn’t easy, but I did it.

This little fact is key in removing it:  I hung the wallpaper, so I know that I sized the walls.  Sizing is a primer product you put on the wall to prepare it for wallpaper.  This preparation allows the wallpaper to adhere better and allows for easier removal of the wallpaper later on.  (For lots more detail try: The American School of Paperhanging Arts)

How well does it work? Well, I am not an expert/experience wallpaper remover, but from the horror stories I have heard, it makes a difference.  So, how did I do remove the wallpaper?

Tools:  Scrapper (wallpaper removing specific tool or I suggest metal and pretty wide), Dif wallpaper remover spray (I like the spray gel, less drippy mess), bucket for warm water, rag, ladder, patience.

Step by Step

Step 1.  Decide if you want help or not.  Simple? Of course you want help…but maybe not, read on

Step 2.  Try to remove the top printed layer of wallpaper.  My daughter’s border was more vinyl than paper, so this step was easy.  My son’s border was more paper than vinyl, not so easy.  My dining room actually had huge pieces that came off completely.

Step 3.  If the top doesn’t come off easy, be patient, this will take a little longer.  Stay tuned.

Step 4.  Once you have removed the top layer, spray with Dif.  Let it sit!  Wait 10 minutes or more.

Step 5.  Try to remove with scrapper, rag or fingers.

My process:

1. Pull off the top layer for a pretty big section.
2. Spray with Dif (give it pretty good soaking, thoroughly spray)
3. Leave this section alone.  Start pulling the top off another section.
4. Spray this 2nd section with Dif.
5. Go back to the 1st section.  Try pulling/scrapping off the back layer.  (Should be pretty easy at this point.)
6. Make sure it is ALL off.
7. Use warm water and a rag to wipe down the whole area.  You will find little pieces, get it all off.  Wipe it clean.
8. Move to a 3rd spot, start with the top layer, spray, go to 2nd area, scrape & wash.
9. Keep going.

Now it may be easier to see why you might not want help.  Unless you have 2 of all the tools (I didn’t), start at opposite ends, and have someone you work really well with, you will eventually need the same tool at the same time and get frustrated.

I found it helpful to have assistants for the most part, but we did get in each other’s way occasionally.

Back to step #4.  If the top doesn’t come off easily (like it only comes off in 2 inch pie shape pieces), you need to use another tool called a scorer.  I used the PaperTiger.  This tool will create holes in the paper so the Dif can penetrate into the glue holding the wallpaper to the wall.  I found that it then added another step.  Use the spray to get the top layer off, another application of spray to get the back layer off.

Sound like fun?  I did the top half of my dining room in 2 nights.  Of course I did have large pieces come off all together (top layer and backing).  I had other areas where I had to use the PaperTiger.

Turn on the stereo, sing out load, stay patient!

My home is getting very close to being ready to list with LG Real Estate.  Stay tuned for my next article, “Patience”.

Before - See my Dif?

Before - See my Dif?



One thought on “How to Remove Wallpaper!

  1. Thanks for a nice tutorial and the pictures. I enjoyed your step by step and your detailing of your process and the time it took, although I would have like to know about how large your sections you were doing at a time. Your before and afters are great, I hope it all turns out for you. Thanks

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