REMOVE OLD WALLPAPER
Look for any loose corners or seams, and if you don’t find one, make one. Give the loose tab a slow, controlled yank. You might be able to peel away large sections of paper by hand with little effort. Move along the wall, pulling off all the paper you can, because the follow-up methods require more time and work. Use a drop cloth to catch the debris.
The paper won’t always completely come away from the wall while pulling it off by hand, however. The adhesive on the back can be stubbornly fused to the paper face of the drywall. To remove the paper without damaging the wall surface, you will need to weaken the chemical bond of the glue. There are two ways to do this: a liquid wallpaper stripper, or a steam-powered stripper.
PRO TIP: PREP BEFORE PAINTING
After removing wallpaper, wash the wall several times to remove glue residue. Use fresh water and a sponge. Otherwise, the residue will impair the bonding of the paint and cause it to peel. Use a box fan to hasten the drying process. Once the wall is completely dry, apply a coat of primer, then paint.
KNOW THE SCORE
USE A CHEMICAL STRIPPER
Mix the liquid wallpaper remover with hot water, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Use a paint roller or spray bottle to apply the remover to the perforated paper. Wait about 10 minutes for the remover to weaken the adhesive, and then peel off as much as you can with your hands.
For stubborn swaths of paper, lightly use a 3-inch scraper at a shallow angle to scrape the paper without nicking the wall.
STRIP WITH STEAM
Just hold the steam plate flat to the wallpaper for about 10 seconds. The steam will heat and dampen the paper, which loosens the glue. Move the plate onto the spot immediately next to the one just steamed, from which the paper should easily come off with a little bit of encouragement from a wall scraper. This pattern should allow you to continuously remove paper. Don’t forget that steam is hot; water will boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so be careful when using a steamer.