How to Remove Wallpaper in 6 Simple Steps

You can’t stand to look at that old wallpaper for another minute. It was trendy 20-30 years ago, but now it’s just outdated. You need a fresh start on those walls and you’ve made the decision to take the old paper down. With a little patience, removing wallpaper can be a straight-forward and easy job. To learn how to remove wallpaper in 6 simple steps, and the secret to making the new installation even easier, check out the following application recommendations.
Man Pulling Wallpaper From Wall

Tools/Materials You Will Need

  1. Piranha™ Scoring Tool
  2. Piranha™ Wallpaper Scraper
  3. Piranha™ Removal Sponge
  4. Or get the basics in a kit — Piranha™ Wallpaper Removal Kit
  5. Piranha™ Wallpaper and Paste Remover  (easy to use spray bottle)
    1. Concentrate Remover
    2. Ready-to-Use Gel
    3. Ready-to Use Liquid

How to Remove Wallpaper in 6 Simple Steps

1. Test a small area

Find a small area, about 2’ x 2’, preferably with a seam in it. You are going to perform the same steps on the test area that you will use to complete the entire job. Take a large putty knife and locate the seam. Use the putty knife to loosen the seam from the wall to see how well the wallpaper is attached and how many layers you will be removing. Make a note if the wall you are working on is plaster or drywall. 

For homes more than 50 years old, you may have plaster walls. These are harder to damage when removing the wallpaper than drywall. If the home is less than 50 years old, there’s a good chance your substrate is drywall and you want to be careful not to damage it with the scraper or scoring tool as it will create more work for yourself when you get ready to prep the walls for new paper.

Next, take your scoring tool and with a circular motion, go over the test area with even pressure to lightly puncture the face of the paper. Don’t press too hard. You are just making light perforations to allow the remover easy access through the wallpaper onto the wall to make sure it is saturated.

Apply your wallpaper remover to the entire test area. Make sure all the wallpaper is wet.

Wait 15 minutes before you attempt to peel off the paper. Trying to get a head start at this point will cause you more work down the road. Let the remover solution do its job by sitting on the paper a full 15 minutes. 

Now, try removing the old wallpaper on the test area. If peels right off you are ready to start your project. 

2. Protect Furniture, Floors and Electrical Outlets

Use this checklist when preparing your wallpaper removal:

  • Move all your furniture to the center of the room, or to another room so that there is no chance of getting remover or old wallpaper on it. 
  • Remove items from the walls so that you have a clear surface to work on.
  • Protect your floors by laying down painter’s tarps on the floors throughout the room.
  • Disconnect power from the area you are working in at the electrical panel.
  • Remove electrical outlet covers.
  • Turn off any fans in the room. 
  • You should also consider closing AC/heating vents in the room to reduce the flow of air. Remember, moving air will dry out the remover faster — and that is not a good thing!

3. Score the wallpaper 

Regardless of the type of wallpaper you are removing, a scoring tool will make the task much easier. It creates tiny holes in the wallpaper that allows the remover solution to penetrate the wallpaper. Simply rub it over the area you are working on in a circular motion while applying even pressure.

It is recommended that you work in an area no wider than 4’. This will help ensure that the remover solution does not dry out before you can scrape the wallpaper and old paste off.

3. Spray Removal Solution on the Wallpaper

Roman’s Piranha™ brand removers will help break down paste and release wallpaper from the wall. Piranha™ formulas arenon-toxic and non-staining so it is safe to use, and it has no offensive odors. 

Keep the walls saturated with remover to ensure the paste doesn’t dry out. With the room prepped, you’re ready to apply the remover solution to the walls. Be sure to wear eye protection.

Have a large garbage can ready for a convenient place to place large pieces of wallpaper waste/debris directly into. This will save you cleanup time later. The small pieces that hit the floor will be caught by your painter’s tarp.

5. Scrape

Once the remover solution has had time to break down the wallpaper paste, begin scraping the walls clean. The wallpaper seam is an ideal starting place. If the wallpaper still adheres well, apply some additional removal solution to the wall.

You may notice that some old paste is still adhering after the old paper has been removed. Just apply some more Piranha™ remover to these areas, wait 15 minutes, then scrape the excess paste off.

6. Clean Up

After the wallpaper and old paste has been completely removed, be sure to sponge down the walls with removal solution. This will help remove any residual wallpaper paste.

Prep walls for installing new wallpaper or paint — Primer

This is the secret that will make a new installation or paint project so much easier. After you have removed the old wallpaper, sponge-cleaned the entire area, and repaired any damage, apply a fresh coat of Roman PRO-999 Sealer/Primer to ensure that your next project will be a success.

Remove your Wallpaper With a Premium Solution

Regardless of the type of wallpaper project you are undertaking, from installing a fresh roll on a new construction wall, or removing multiple layers of old wallpaper from a commercial building, Roman Products has the primer, pastes, and remover to get the job done right the first time. Contact us today for more information on where to purchase Roman wallpaper products near you.