Paper Tiger Wallpaper Scoring Tool

How To Remove Wallpaper and Wallpaper Border Removal Tips

In this audio episode of The Handyguys Podcast, we answer a listener question about how to remove wallpaper and discuss our own experiences with wallpaper removal.

The question:

…we recently moved into my wife’s grandmothers house. And well, it was grandma’s in every way. Wallpaper: now some of the wall paper was put up very well, would it be possible to paint over these? And some of the wall paper, not so well, best ideas for removal, and would I then have to replace the drywall underneath?

Painting Wallpaper

Don’t do it! It rarely looks right, the paper can peel, you can see the seams. Its best to remove the paper. The next homeowner will thank you.

Get wallpaper stripper to the glue

How to remove wallpaper and wallpaper removal tipsThe key to wallpaper removal is to loosen the glue. The glue can be softened by using products such a DIF® Wallpaper Stripper (available at True Value). You can also use warm water with some vinegar.  The commercial products are more effective and comes in a gel which clings to the wall better.

Wagner Steamer and best way to remove wallpaperThe issue is how to get the stripper to the glue. Some wallpaper is vinyl. Vinyl wallpaper is great in that its easy to clean, that also makes it harder to remove.

First try to just peel it off. You may find that the paper or vinyl facing comes off. That’s fine. Once that is off, the stripper can do its job.

Powder Room With Wallpaper Removal
Wallpaper can add a touch of class to any room. This is a picture of Handyguy Brian’s powder room with mahogany wainscoting and wallpaper above.

If the vinyl facing does not peel off you will need to score it with a wallpaper stripping tool. These tools perforate the wallpaper face yet leave the wall board or plaster undamaged.

Wallpaper steamer versus stripper

If you have a large area you may want to consider buying, or renting a wall paper steamer. Wagner has one at True Value that is effective and doesn’t cost much more than a weekends rental.

Once all the paper is off and the walls have been cleaned of any glue residue, you are then ready for painting or new wallpaper.

Handyguys Tip

If you are considering hanging wallpaper, please prime the wall first. Wallpaper attached to unprimed drywall is nearly impossible to remove without causing damage.

True Value DIY Blog Squad and removing wallpaperWe were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing and productions about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, as always, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

5 thoughts on “How To Remove Wallpaper and Wallpaper Border Removal Tips

  1. I have used a drapery steamer, anything that emits steam and a 6″ putty or drywall taping knife to scrape of the wallpaper. The idea is to get the wall paper off without compromising the drywall. You will probably have to skim out the rough spots with drywall all purpose compound, sand , and shoot texture or use one coat of primer if you are going to install new paper.


    We have a propane generated steamer this removes several layers and even painted over wallpaper, on bare drywall. Even some vinyls need to be steamed. Please check our website out . There are 2 videos of our machine in action and the finish product. Click on wallpaper removal on our home page.
    We have been in our family business for 3 generations and still using this method.

    We travel and consult as needed.

    Please give us a look: Honestly, I dont know of anyone who conquers paper like we do and have the machine we utilize on most jobs.

    Call with questions or email Tom Miller 215 783 0613 serving Phila and all areas.

  3. Learning the proper way on how to remove wall paper could make you job a lot easier. You would no longer be spending a lot of time just to remove it and there would be a guarantee that no part of the old one would be left on the wall.

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