Perhaps you just bought a sprawling 1950s ranch or a charming Tudor. You were attracted by those custom details and good bones, but the wallpaper? Not so much.
While new homeowners may be able to pay a lower price for an older house that needs a little work, they may experience pangs of buyer’s remorse when that work includes removing wallpaper.
Removing wallpaper is a messy and often frustrating task. Professionally installed wallpaper that’s decades old may take hours, if not days, to remove. Thankfully, home improvement stores sell plenty of items that can make the task a bit easier. Take a look at how you can wrestle that burgundy floral wallpaper off your walls.
Moisten backing and glue
Unless you’re removing modern strippable wallpaper, it likely won’t come off without a fight. You may need a scoring tool, a handheld device with toothed wheels that poke tiny holes in the wallpaper, to weaken the top layer of wallpaper and allow for the penetration of wallpaper removal liquids. A scoring tool can damage drywall, though, so proceed carefully.
Old wallpaper may leave behind backing, glue or both. To remove any layer of wallpaper, start off by using a sprayer filled with equal parts warm water and vinegar, and saturate the wall. Let it sit for several minutes, then try to remove the paper with a putty knife or scraper. You may need to apply the solution several times to remove all the residue. And if that doesn’t work, you may need a cleaner made specifically for wallpaper removal.
If you were able to remove the wallpaper, patch any scrapes left behind by removal tools, and you may find the wallpaper was hiding some other problem (like stains or cracks) that you’ll have to repair before painting.
Complete one room before moving on to another, so you can decide whether you’d prefer a different approach for the other rooms in your house.