How to Remove Wallpaper from Plaster Walls

Regardless of how beautiful old wallpaper is in your home, at some point you may want to give your walls a new look. The thought of removing old wallpaper can give some folks nightmares, and stripping wallpaper from plaster walls may call for extra care. If you use the techniques suggested in this article, the old paper will come off easily and you’ll be ready to hang your new wallpaper in no time.


Removing wallpaper doesn’t require a lot of special tools, however you need to make sure you have the correct items on hand before you start. The old way of getting the wall wet and scraping the paper off will leave your plaster walls crumbling.

Gather these tools before you start, and get the job done right:

  • Non-slip drop cloths
  • A step ladder
  • Trash bags to dispose of old wallpaper
  • Small bucket of water and sponge

Be sure to also pick the following ROMAN remover and tools:

  • ROMAN Wallpaper Scoring tool
    • Many modern wallpapers are made of solid vinyl or are coated with a protective layer that makes the wallcovering more durable and easier to clean. This added protective layer can make it a bit more difficult to get the remover solution behind the paper. The Scoring Tool creates hundreds of tiny holes that allow the remover to soak through the paper and break down the wallpaper paste.
  • ROMAN PRO-458 Gel Wallpaper Remover
    • PRO-458 is a no-drip formula that stays wet longer than liquid removers and won’t run down walls. This reduces the need to continually reapply remover, and helps to keep the work area clean.
  • ROMAN Wallpaper Scraper
    • The scraper features a honed steel blade, specially set to glide and lift the paper from the wall. The added wheel helps balance the tool to prevent gouging the drywall.
Man Pulling Wallpaper From Wall


The most straightforward, efficient, and economical method for removing old wallpaper from plaster walls is to use a gel wallpaper remover. The remover does the hard work and eliminates much of the hard scraping.

It is always recommended to start the process with a test area to anticipate any problems beneath the wallpaper.

Using the scoring tool, roll it over an area about 2-feet square. Be sure to use the scoring tool in a circular scrubbing motion, and remember that only light pressure is needed.

  • Spray gel remover over the area, keeping it moist but not soaked.
  • Allow 10-15 minutes for the gel to dissolve the old adhesive. Reapply more remover if necessary.
  • Start at an edge or seam and peel off the old paper. It should come off easily, which will give you an idea of how well the paper was adhered to the wall. If the wallpaper doesn’t come away easily from the plaster, don’t force it. Spray again, wait 15 minutes, and attempt to remove the paper again.

Once the test area has been removed, you will have a good idea of how you will need to proceed with the rest of the removal process. Continue scoring, spraying and scraping until complete.

Here are some additional helpful tips.

  • Turn off the electricity to the room you are spraying in.
  • Work a section at a time, so the remover doesn’t dry out.
  • Turn off fans and air vents to the work area to avoid drying the remover out.

What To Do If The Plaster Wall Starts Crumbling

A potential issue with old plaster is damaging the wall while removing the paper. The removal solution will be absorbed by the paper and the wall, which may soften the surface. Damp plaster can be gouged if you are not careful. Take your time when using the scraper and keep it at a low angle to the wall to prevent it from digging in.


After the plaster has been allowed to fully dry, you can begin the process of prepping the walls to install new wallpaper.

  • Repair any damaged plaster.
  • Sand walls smooth and wipe clean with lightly dampened sponge.
  • Allow the plaster to fully dry.

Apply A Primer To The Wall

Apply a professional grade wallpaper primer to the plaster. The purpose of the primer is to seal the wall and provide a clean surface for the wallpaper adhesive to attach to. ROMAN’s PRO-999 Rx-35 Sealer/Primer has been developed to seal porous surfaces like plaster. A quality primer helps make installation easier, and it will also make removal easier in the future.

The Best Source For Wallpaper Removal Supplies

ROMAN Products is a leading manufacturer of wallpaper primers, adhesives and removal products. For over 75 years we have been creating industry-leading products that homeowners, contractors and professional wallpaper installers depend on. Our products are available in stores throughout the U.S. as well as around the world, through our distributors.

Contact us today to speak with one of our experienced customer service staff to answer your questions on all things wallpaper.