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How to Remove Wallpaper

How to Guide: Removing Wallpaper

 We’ve all been stuck in the same dilemma, contemplating whether or not to remove existing wallpaper before redecorating?

We know what you might be thinking - it can save a lot of time to just hang over it rather than stripping off the old wallpaper. But without good preparation, your results will vary and may leave you disappointed. What may save you time today may not look how you want it to tomorrow.

It would of course save time to overhang, but the simple truth is it is never ideal to wallpaper over wallpaper.


It would of course save time to overhang, but the simple truth is it is never ideal to wallpaper over wallpaper.</p>

No matter how good the condition the existing wallpaper looks, you'll never know how it will react to the moisture, weight and tension applied by hanging wallpaper over the top of it, or what issues may be lurking underneath. Stripping existing wallpapers off gives you a chance to check your plaster’s condition and for any cracks or imperfections.

When to decide it's time to strip and redecorate?

  • Is the wallpaper peeling away from the wall with loose corners and bubbles?
  • Is the wallpaper really tired or fatigued with marks or stains?
  • Is it patterned and if so is it out of fashion, outdated or are you just fed up of it?

These are all sure-fire signs that you need to remove the wallpaper before applying a new wallcovering.

In the short-term it may be easier to just decorate over the existing wallpaper however, to achieve a premium, look you need to just strip the old paper off to create a blank, new canvas and with a flawless finish.

Let us guide you in how to get a perfectly clean wall that can later be prepared into tip-top condition for your new wallpaper…

Here’s a step by step guide to removing wallpaper...

1. Protect the floor and furniture with tape and dust sheets, these can always be taped into place to stop them from moving.

2. Turn off all electricity in the room if you need to strip around electrical switches or sockets.

3. Start lifting the wallpaper at a corner near the ceiling, under the light switch or close to a radiator - this is where the paper tends to be looser due to wear and tear or heat.

4. Lift from the seam and pull away from the wall, this may leave the backing/base layer. If you are removing a non-woven (paste-the-wallpaper) you may find that the entire wallcovering comes away complete, one length at a time.

Wallpapers are most commonly produced using multiple layers which are then bonded together, these layers include a base layer, a printed pattern layer and may also include a hot embossed vinyl, solid sculptured vinyl or washable coating layer.

5. Once all the printed layer has been removed, apply a warm soapy water dilution with a sponge or brush to the walls in order to soak the backing layer through. Once applied, leave the wall for up to 15 minutes so the backing layer can absorb the water, the penetrating moisture will soften the existing adhesive. if it has dried out on return, re-apply the water and wait a little less time.

6. Then using a metal wall scraper/filling knife, scrape the backing off a section at a time. If you find you are struggling, an additional application of soapy water may be required to soften the existing adhesive further. 

7. Be careful not to damage your walls by being too aggressive with the scraper. If you do see that scars, scrapes and abrasion have been caused during this process then a little wall filler will fix you up.

8. If there are any leftover areas of paste or backing that you’re struggling to remove, scrape off as much as you can and allow to dry, then sand off the excess/stubborn paste.9. Wipe over the walls with a damp sponge until it’s smooth and clean.

Failure to completely remove these may result in imperfections being shown through your new wallcovering.

9. Finally, wipe over the walls with a damp sponge until they are smooth and clean. You really do want a clean, dry and dust free surface to apply your new wallpaper on so this final step will give you a headstart.

So there you have an expert guide on how to remove wallpaper. Remember, ALWAYS strip your walls before re-wallpapering!

Once your walls are primed and ready, check out our vast range of high quality wallpapers from all the top brands, as well as all your essential Tools & Adhesives!

Feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions about wallpaper removal and our helpful team will endeavour to answer them for you.