How to Take Down Wallpaper & Paint a Wall

As a result of improvements in technology, some types of wallpaper — typically consisting partly of vinyl — peel off of the wall easily, similar to the way self-adhesive shelf paper does out of your kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately, older varieties of wallpaper cling a little more stubbornly. It is never wise to paint over wallpaper, so stripping it first and then painting the wall is your very best option to get a professional finish at DIY prices.

Steaming Wallpaper

Steam is sometimes all you need to loosen the adhesive holding wallpaper into the wall. Most home improvement stores provide electric or gasoline-powered wallpaper steamers for lease or buy. Each brand includes slightly different operating instructions, however, the principle is exactly the same. Score the wallpaper first with a scoring tool to let the steam penetrate behind it into the adhesive. Fill the steamer with water and allow it to heat according to the manufacturer’s directions. Bend the steamer back and forwards above the wall in small, even strokes. Once the wallpaper is loosened, scrape it off with a wallboard knife.

Chemical-Free Strippers

For those who don’t wish to introduce powerful chemicals in their home, removing wallpaper may take a little more elbow grease. Several DIYers swear by including a bit of fabric softener to water and soaking the wall to loosen the adhesive. This works best when you score the wall. Work in tiny sections beginning at the top of the wall and soak the paper thoroughly. Utilize a wallboard knife to scrape on the loosened wallpaper off of the wall. You may need to repeat this many times until all the wallpaper comes off.

Chemical Strippers

Wallpaper-removal solutions are designed specifically to neutralize the adhesive holding the wallpaper for your wall. Score your wallpaper with a scoring tool to let the chemical stripper get behind the paper and perform on the adhesive. Mix wallpaper stripper in hot water in the proportions indicated on the label. Spray, roll or brush on the elimination solution so that the wall is completely soaked, but not dripping. Allow the stripper do its function for the time mentioned on the tag, then scrape off the wallpaper with a wallboard knife.

Paint Planning

Soak a sponge in diluted wallpaper removal solution and wring it out till it is just moist. Scrub away any stains of staying wallpaper adhesive. Wash the wall with cool water and allow it to dry. Repair any small holes or dings with drywall repair chemical. Let the repaired spots dry and sand them smooth with 180-grit sandpaper. Wipe away the sanding dust with a tack cloth and prime the stains so that they will choose the paint as effortlessly as the rest of the wall. Turn the ceiling and around doors, windows, outlet covers and switch plates.


Utilize an edging brush to paint a strip 2 to 4 inches wide across the edges of anything that you’ve taped off. Fill in the remaining walls using a brush or a roller having a grip extension. Apply the paint in vertical and diagonal movements to avoid thick borders wherever your roller overlaps its path. Allow the first coat dry according to the manufacturer’s directions, adding one or two hours if it is raining or your own climate is moist or cold.

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