How to Remove Old Wallpaper
Removing old wallpaper is not as daunting a task as it seems when you are armed with the right knowledge on how to go about this household project correctly. Whether the walls of your home are covered in layers of old wallpaper, or worse, layers of wallpaper that have been painted over, removing them is possible, as you will soon learn below.
Removing Strippable Wallpaper
Strippable wallpaper is the easiest type of wallpaper to remove. Your wallpaper is the strippable kind if it can be removed easily with an entire panel coming off when one side is lifted or pulled away.
All you have to do is lift one corner with a small knife to test this. Another clue as to what type of wallpaper you have is that strippable wallpaper has a layer of backing paper that is left behind on the wall.
The most common type of wallpaper is the ordinary or non-strippable kind. This is often the most difficult type of wallpaper to remove for those unfamiliar with the correct removal process.
Removing Layers of Wallpaper
Removing wallpaper that has been layered on top of a layer or even layers of old wallpaper is often done on old houses and apartments. The best way to remove one layer of wallpaper at a time is to steam the outermost layer of wallpaper with a hand steamer. The heat from the hand steamer will melt the old wallpaper paste so as to soften the outermost layer so that it can be taken off easily. This method is best employed when you want to salvage the next layer of wallpaper, as is usually the case when restoring old houses.
If you would like to remove all the layers of wallpaper all at one time or if you are working with ordinary wallpaper, the remains of which you do not wish to preserve, simply soak the entire surface with water so that the layers of paste and paper will soften, and can be easily removed with a spatula. This method is also known as the "wet process".
Removing Wallpaper from Unpainted Walls
Wallpaper that was installed when a house was just built are often done so on unpainted walls. Employing the wet process can cause damage to your walls, therefore a "dry process", using only a scraper and just a little amount of water.