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Robert M. Bradbury
REALTOR®, Member NAR, Member NYSAR
(518) 506-6675 Primary
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
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Articles and Advice

Removing Wallpaper Without Losing Your Mind

Removing wallpaper is a fun, simple home improvement task that always goes to plan and... just kidding.

While wallpaper can certainly look great after it goes up, removing wallpaper is generally pretty frustrating, even under the best of circumstances. There may not be a magic secret to removing wallpaper with ease, but there's plenty you can do to get those walls clean without losing your mind. We're here to help with a guide to removing wallpaper while keeping your sanity (mostly) intact and leaving your walls looking great when you're done. 

Simple Tips for Removing Your Wallpaper without Losing Your Sanity 

The first thing to realize about removing wallpaper is that you're not just taking off one layer and that each layer requires its own tricks for easy removal. First, you'll be dealing with the top layer, which includes all of those pretty patterns covering the walls.

  • Removing the Top Layer of Wallpaper
    Good news and bad news. You don't have to deal with too much glue while removing the top layer, but you will have glue to deal with later. To deal with the top layer, you'll want a bottle of water, a scraper, some paper towels, and a lot of patience. Spray the paper thoroughly, and look for peeling spots where you can slide your scraper underneath to loosen the top layer. Sometimes it'll come off in big, beautiful chunks, and sometimes you'll be picking at tiny pieces just to get rid of that last stubborn bit. The spray bottle makes it much easier to get big pieces off in one shot.

  • How to Remove the Stubborn Second Layer
    Once you get the top layer off, it's okay to take some time to celebrate! But maybe just a little time because there's still work to do. Removing the stubborn second layer of wallpaper will take some serious elbow grease, but you've already got the right tools for the job. Your squirt bottle filled with water will do a great job of saturating all of that glue-covered paper, and your scraper makes it easy to remove once the glue has softened up. Just be sure that you always have a trashcan nearby, so you can get rid of those glue-covered scraps quickly and easily.

    You can also choose to purchase a steam-based wallpaper removal tool. Buying the steamer does require an upfront cost, but many DIY home improvement experts find steamers to be great for removing wallpaper.

  • Finishing the Job and Leaving Your Walls Clean
    Once you get those stubborn first and second layers of wallpaper removed, you've got the most challenging part of the job out of the way. But your walls likely won't be completely clean just yet, so there's still work to do. A simple scrubby and some warm, soapy water will make your life much, much easier while you're cleaning those final bits of glue and paper off of your walls. Take your time, scrub thoroughly, and leaves those walls ready for whatever comes next.

If you're brave enough to put new wallpaper in place of the old, be sure to prime your walls first so that it will be easier to remove if you ever decide to go for a new look. If you're painting, just make sure your walls are nice and clean before you apply a fresh coat.

And there you have it. Removing wallpaper isn't an easy home improvement task, but there's a ton you can do to keep the process from driving you crazy. When you're done, the interior of your home will be ready for a fresh, new look.

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