Removing wallpaper is a job you can tackle yourself. For the average room, this job will take anywhere between a couple of hours to a couple of days and cost about $650, with most homeowners spending between $345 and $1,065.
The method you use should depend on the type of wall, the type of adhesive, and the size of the room. Here’s how to remove wallpaper.
Spray bottle or bucket—If you use a wallpaper solvent solution, you’ll apply this by spraying it directly onto the walls or wiping it on with a sponge and bucket.
Wallpaper paste stripper—Chemical solutions may be necessary to apply to your wallpaper if it’s very old or was applied with particularly stubborn glue.
Claw—This is a handheld tool with cutting blades that perforate the wallpaper before you begin stripping it.
Putty knife / wallpaper scraper—These tools can help you get rid of those smaller, tougher wallpaper pieces that are hard to remove.
Rubber gloves and protective eyewear—When handling chemical solutions or hot steamers, protect your hands and eyes from potential burns.
Drop cloth—Lay out a drop cloth before you begin to keep floors clean and catch dripping solutions and stray wallpaper pieces.
Soap and water—Keep a small bucket of soapy water nearby to rinse sponges and to clean the stripped wall of adhesive residue.
Identify the type of wall before removing wallpaper
The two most common types of walls in homes in the US are plaster and drywall.
Plaster—These walls are typically found in homes more than 50 years old. To identify a plaster wall, knock lightly. A plaster wall will feel very dense and produce no echo.
Drywall—Drywall is more common in newer homes, but has been used for interior walls in older homes with exterior plaster walls. To identify drywall, knock lightly. Drywall will feel less dense and produce an echo.
Prep steps to remove wallpaper
Remove all furniture from the room.
Lay a drop cloth on the floor to prevent materials from ruining your baseboards and floor.
Remove any electrical face plates, trim, switch covers, and decorations from the wall.
Cover any outlets or switches with tape to protect them from liquids.
You can begin the removal process by simply pulling off what you can. Try to remove any strippable wallpaper with a putty knife. At a corner or seam, use the putty knife to lift up the face of the wallpaper and pull gently with your hands. If it comes off easily, keep pulling and try to get the rest of the wallpaper off with this method.
Follow these steps to get rid of wallpaper without the use of chemicals.
Start off by scraping the wallpaper in a circular motion using a claw. This perforates the wallpaper and leaves holes for steam and liquids to pass through the loosened adhesive. Press lightly or you’ll puncture the drywall.
After using the claw, press the steamer against the wallpaper to let heat and moisture pass through.
Take your putty knife to the wall at an angle and begin peeling away the wallpaper.
After you’ve taken down all of the paper, get rid of any residue by using a sponge to scrub the wall with soap and water.
Remember to frequently rinse your sponge to get rid of glue residue.
Most solvents are caustic and contain a variety of chemicals. Use caution and protect your eyes and hands with protective gear.