To begin the process of removing wall paper, you will need a wallpaper solvent, a chemical (tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) in this case), drop cloth or plastic sheeting, spackling compound, sandpaper, wallpaper steamer, a perforating tool, tools to scrape the wallpaper out.
Prep the room
Remove all the telephone jacks, electrical face plates, picture hangers, and any other obstructions off the wall. Cover the switches and the outlets with a tape to protect them from the liquids.
Use water-resistant plastic sheeting or a drop cloth in order to protect the floors or the carpet.
Test the old wallpaper’s adhesion
Some wallpapers, especially the water-resistant and the foil types are strong and made with glues that release easily when pulled from the wall. Start at a seam or a corner and try peeling the wallpaper off the wall before trying any of the other more aggressive methods. In case it releases automatically without leaving swaths of the backing behind or without tearing the underlying drywall paper, you may not have to use scraping tools or steam in order to remove it. You may simply be able to scrape off the wallpaper, in case the remnants cling to the wall, even after most of the wallpaper is pulled down.
Perforate the old wallpaper
Whether you opt to use the steaming removal method or the solvent, first try using a perforating tool to perforate the wallpaper. This will punch tiny holes in the wallpaper. This will also allow the solvent to penetrate the wallpaper and dissolve the adhesive. Do not punch it too hard or else if the surface is a drywall, it will penetrate the surface of the drywall. You will need to fill the nicks using the spackling compound in case this happens before applying new wallpaper or painting.
The solvent method
Wear eye protection and rubber gloves, since most solvents are caustic. Commercial solvents are usually available as a gel that is used without mixing or mixed with water. Follow the directions given on the cover of the product and apply it with a sponge or a paintbrush. Then allow time for the solvent to soak in. Loosen the wallpaper immediately afterwards. When the wallpaper begins to sag or pull away from the wall, you will automatically know that the solvent is working. Mixing hot water with a few teaspoons of vinegar is an alternative to using chemical-based solvents. You could also add a few teaspoons of fabric softener and spray the mixture using a spray bottle. In order to keep the water hot, mix small batches at a time. Spray only as much of the wall as you can in a span of 15 minutes so that it will saturate the wallpaper in sections.
The steam method
As an alternative to solvents, you can rent and use a wallpaper steamer. Steamers are particularly good at removing heavy, stiff, and old-style papers and wallpapers that have been adhered for a really long time. Steamers can, however, be as messy as any other method of removing wallpapers. Place the pad of the steamer on the surface of the wallpaper in order to remove the wallpaper.
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