My Wallpaper Won’t Come Off

Wanting to spruce up an old room? Whether you are redecorating for a specific reason, maybe a new member of the family will be joining you soon or you simply want a change of pace, you have to start in the same place. With the old decoration. If you’re ready for a new look, and you currently have wallpaper, read carefully. Your excitement may quickly turn to dread if you are dealing with wallpaper on unprimed drywall.

Removing wallpaper isn’t an easy task and can take up a lot of time. This tedious process can be messy, frustrating, and may even feel near impossible to accomplish if you don't know where to start. Read the tips below to get started and if you still need help, we recommend hiring a painting professional such as American Painting and Design.

Someone peeling wallpaper from unprimed drywall

Start From The Top

First things first, start with the top layer. Begin by scoring or making small tears in the top layer of the wallpaper. You can find tools specifically made for this or you can use an object you have laying around your home, such as a fork. Just make sure it’s not your favorite utensil since you won’t be able to use it after you’re done. Always be careful with the tools you are using. If you are using an object that’s sharper than a traditional scoring tool you run the risk of damaging the drywall underneath.

Soak It!

If you’re lucky enough to be dealing with wallpaper on a primed wall then step one will probably be enough for you to remove your wallpaper without any heartache. But if you’re still reading this, then sadly you are probably not on that boat with those lucky redecorators. No need to linger on your wallpaper woes though. If after scoring your wallpaper it’s still not coming off simply with the tools you have, then it’s time to get wet. Our recommendation is to soak the wall with water. Wetting the wall will help the adhesive loosen up, making it easier for the wallpaper to be removed.

Though using just water can help you in this process, we also recommend using a solution to help the process along. Although you can purchase professional wallpaper remover spray such as Piranha Liquid Wallpaper Remover, there are plenty of sprays you can create yourself with things you may have already have around the house. A common mixture you can put together is one part water with one part vinegar. Spray this generously over the wallpaper, let it soak for a bit and then begin to gently scrape off the wallpaper. If it’s still sticking, then simply repeat the first steps until the wallpaper can be scraped off. The key to this step is letting the wallpaper soak long enough.  Remember patience is a virtue.

If you are sensitive to chemicals or smells and are worried about using a solution on your wallpaper. Another option is to use a pressure washer or a steamer. When using a pressure washing make sure that you use the device at a very low speed and pressure, so as not to damage your walls. If you are working on a wall that is older then a steamer will be the better option.

Always keep safe during this step. Make sure to cover up your outlets with painter's tape and turn the electricity off to the room you are working in.

Whatever your preferred method is, the point is to loosen up the adhesive enough for you to be able to remove the wallpaper from the unprimed drywall as easily as possible. Once the adhesive is loose enough, you’ll be able to tear the wallpaper without damaging the drywall underneath.

Clean It!

Once the outer wallpaper has been removed you’ll still need to remove the adhesive completely from underneath. This should be easy compared to actually removing the wallpaper. Simply gently scrape and wipe off. If the adhesive is still being stubborn, you can repeat earlier steps by soaking the adhesive in a solution again or steaming it before wiping it off.

When you’re finished with this step, let the wall dry completely, and then you are ready to start applying your new wallpaper. If your drywall has been damaged during this process, then you’ll want to repair that first before applying any new decoration.

What Tools Do I Need to Remove Wallpaper From an Unprimed Drywall?

Make your wallpaper removal job more efficient using the proper tools. We recommend having the following tools available before you get started:

  • Bucket
  • Putty knife
  • Towels
  • Taping knife
  • Sponges
  • Utility knife
  • Rubber gloves
  • Metal spatula with rounded corners

metal spatula with rounded corners removing wallpaper from unprimed drywall

Need A Hand?

Struggling and tired of scraping? Give American Painting and Design a call and we’ll be able to help. Simply fill out a form or give us a call at (541) 204-6144 and we can remove your wallpaper in no time.

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