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How to Remove Wallpaper … And How to Then Paint the Wall

How to Remove Wallpaper

Maybe your child has outgrown the baby-colored wallpaper in the nursery.

Maybe you bought a house that hasn’t been updated since geese wallpaper was in style. 

Whatever the reason, when you just can’t stand a certain wallpaper, it’s time to remove it. In this post, you’ll learn how to remove wallpaper safely, and how to paint the wall underneath.

Step 1: Prepare the Space

This is an obvious step, but you’d be surprised by how many people want to skip it. Taking the time to get your space ready before you begin will ensure you won’t ruin other areas of your home — or be forced to pause in the middle of your wallpaper removing groove. Remove curtains, outlet covers, switchplates, and artwork. Lay a drop cloth down on the area where you’re going to be working.

Step 2: Test the Wallpaper’s Adhesion

Starting at a corner or seam, peel the wallpaper away from the surface. If it comes up easily and doesn’t tear the underlying drywall paper, you may be able to simply pull the wallpaper away from the entire wall.

Step 3: Make the Solution

If Step 2 doesn’t work, fill a pump sprayer halfway with hot water from your sink and the other half with boiling water. You can also add fabric softener if your wallpaper becomes difficult to remove. A 1:1 mixture of water to softener should work.

Step 4: Spray the Walls

Using your pump sprayer, saturate the wallpaper, spraying the walls evenly. Once the wallpaper begins to bubble, you can begin removing the wallpaper. (You can also rent a steamer and use it to soften wallpaper adhesive.)

Step 5: Remove the Wallpaper

With a wide putty knife, scrape the wallpaper. Start at the seams and bubbling sections. Be careful not to gouge the wall surface. If you have stubborn wallpaper, you may have to repeat the above process several times. Repeat until you’ve finished the room.

Step 6: Clean up the Leftovers

You’ll likely have to deal with residue. Make a mixture of very hot water and a small amount of tri-sodium phosphate (TSP). Use the mixture with a large sponge, and wipe down the walls. Spray or wipe your walls with clean water one final time. Let the walls sit for a few days to completely dry.

How to Paint a Wall After Removing Wallpaper

All that hard work removing the old wallpaper likely left scarring and pitting on your walls. Before you can paint the wall, you’ll need to bring your wall back to smoothness.

Step 1: Sand the Walls

If you have any rough spots, lightly sand the areas until they’re smooth.

Step 2: Patch the Walls

Check for any damaged areas, including holes and cracks. Using drywall mud and a putty knife, fill in those holes. Wait until they dry, and then sand those areas for a smooth surface.

Step 3: Prime the Walls

Once the surface is smooth, apply a coat of high-quality latex primer with a roller or paintbrush. This will give you a smooth surface for your paint.

Step 4: Paint

Get to it!

New Life Painting

If any part of the DIY aspect of removing wallpaper and painting seems a bit much, New Life Painting can help at any step of the way. We specialize in wallpaper removal, as well as interior painting. Once you receive a free consultation and sign a contract, you’ll also get complimentary color consultation from a color analyst to ensure you love your space. Give us a call at (805) 937-9836, or contact us online

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