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See all Interior paint how-to »

How to Remove Wallpaper

Skill:  Novice DIY'er

It is often best to remove old wallpaper, rather than trying to paint over it, to ensure your newly applied wall color looks its best.

For Best Results:

Make sure you allow time for your stripper solution to soak into the wallpaper.

Suggested Supplies
  • Bucket
  • Vinyl Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Wallpaper Stripper
  • Protective Apparel
  • Rags
  • Scoring Tool
  • Scrub Brush
  • Sponge
  • Wallpaper Scraper
  • Wallpaper Steamer
Suggested Products
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  1. Step 1

    Using a scoring tool, create perforations in the wallpaper. This will allow the wallpaper remover to penetrate through to the wall.

    Try lifting a corner of the wallpaper before scoring the surface. Many wallpaper companies now make strippable paper that is much easier to remove.
  2. Step 2

    Following the manufacturer's directions, mix the appropriate ratio of wallpaper stripper and water in an empty plastic 5-gallon container.

    A wallpaper steamer can be used in place of liquid remover.
  3. Step 3

    Using a sponge, apply the remover mixture to a 4' x 4' section. Allow the mixture to soak on the surface for a minimum of 5 minutes. Do not allow it to dry.

  4. Step 4

    Starting in a corner of the wall, peel back the wallpaper in a 4' x 4' section. Repeat the process until all the wallpaper has been removed.

  5. Step 5

    Loosen the stubborn wallpaper sections using a scraper. If some paper backing remains, continue wetting and scraping the area until all the backing has been removed.

  6. Step 6

    Using a scrub brush, scrub the surface to loosen the remaining glue.

  7. Step 7

    To remove the solution and glue residue, wipe the area with a water-dampened sponge or rag.

    Failing to completely remove the glue and paper will cause cracking or flaking of the surface when the paint is applied.