7 Steps to A New House: A guide to tearing down wallpaper

7 Steps to A New House: A guide to tearing down wallpaper

Layers of WallpaperThe minute we walked into the house, we knew it was the one for us. We saw its potential immediately, even through the five layers of wallpaper that were covering the kitchen walls. My gut reaction was to rip the paper down with a sledgehammer, but my wife reminded me that my hasty response to the yellowed grime covering the walls would be damaging to any progress we hoped to make. After the house was finally ours (that stack of paperwork was crazy) and under my wife’s supervision, I made arrangements to purchase or borrow a few key pieces for taking down that terrifying paper. Here are the steps we followed:

1. Gather your equipment. Be sure to have these helpful tools on hand:

  • Wallpaper Scoring Tool. You can pick this up at your local hardware or paint store. It’s usually round and has serrated teeth on the bottom that help score the wallpaper. The scoring allows the removal liquid to seep underneath the paper for easier lift-off.
  • Wallpaper Remover. This comes in many different forms. Some people use warm water and fabric softener. I recommend the Piranha Wallpaper and Paste Remover Concentrate.
  • Bucket. You’ll need this for diluting your wallpaper remover with water.
  • Rag or sponge. I’d recommend at least having two, especially if there’s another person working with you. These will be used for spreading the diluted remover onto the scored surface of your wall.
  • Wallpaper Scrapers. We borrowed these from family members. Have quite a few on hand, as you never know which will work best. If your wall is made of drywall, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have anything too sharp or you will nick the surface.
  • Wall Putty. For when you nick the surface.

DIY2. Wipe down your walls. Spend a little time prepping the walls for the work you’re about to do. Use soapy, warm water and a rag.

3. Score the wallpaper. Use your handy scorer and work on the surface in a rotating fashion.

4. Wipe down the scored area with a rag soaked in the diluted wall paper remover. Let it soak.

5. Use your scrapers to slowly peel away the paper.

6. Wipe the exposed wall with warm water.

7. Fix any nicks in the wall with putty.

wallpaper on floorThat’s about it. We just repeated these steps for a couple of hours and before we knew it, the wallpaper was covering our floor. We made sure we kept a broom handy, as well as a trash bag for our scraps. Learn from our mistake: put as many scraps in the trash bag as possible as you progress. The paper backing is still sticky, and we had to scrape some off of the floor. We were done and ready for our next step: painting.


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