A Beginner’s Guide to Stripping Wallpaper with Three Essential Tools

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If you’ve been following along on my flip house project, then you know that removing wallpaper has been my first major task.

wallpaper at flip house before

So. Much. Wallpaper.

When I bought the house, I knew that the wallpaper needed to be removed, but I didn’t anticipate quite the volume or the challenge this paper would present. I’ve removed just about all of it at this point so I figured it would make sense to share what I’ve learned. And trust me… I’ve learned A LOT about wallpaper at this point.

wallpaper at the flip house

I experimented with a handful of tools and techniques but ultimately, there were three things that I used to remove every inch of paper in the entire house: my scraper, my steamer, and my sprayer. And trust me… I tried a lot. Any tool specifically for “scraping wallpaper“… forget it- didn’t work even a little bit. Those little wheely things that put holes in the surface of the paper? Nah… just an added step that didn’t seem necessary. I did buy a liquid wallpaper remover but again, it was an added step and for me the water was doing the trick so I never bothered.

wallpaper in the flip house

Wallpaper removal may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and some determination, you can give your room a fresh start. Today, I’m going to walk you through how to strip wallpaper using three simple tools: a five-in-one paint scraping tool, a steamer, and a sprayer. Trust me, it’s easier than you think!

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Why Strip Wallpaper?

Before we dive into the tools and the process, let’s talk about why you might want to remove wallpaper in the first place. Wallpaper can become outdated, damaged, or simply not to your taste anymore. By stripping it and prepping your walls for a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper, you can give your space an instant makeover. Also? Painting *over* wallpaper can be a dangerous venture as the paint might cause the wallpaper to begin peeling off the wall which is NOT a good look.

wallpaper at flip house

The Essential Tools:

  1. Five-in-One Paint Scraping Tool: This versatile tool is your best friend when it comes to wallpaper removal. It has a sharp blade for cutting, a flat edge for scraping, and a variety of other functions that make it perfect for this job.
  2. Steamer: A steamer is a game-changer when it comes to removing wallpaper. It softens the adhesive, making it much easier to peel the wallpaper off the wall. It’s a must-have for larger or stubborn wallpaper removal projects.
  3. Sprayer: You’ll need a sprayer to apply a wallpaper removal solution to the wallpaper. A simple pump sprayer will do the trick, ensuring the solution soaks into the wallpaper effectively.
pump sprayer

The Step-by-Step Process:

Step 1: Prepare Your Space

Start by removing any furniture or decor from the room, and cover the floor with drop cloths to protect it from any water or wallpaper remnants. Turn off the electricity to the room to ensure safety when using the steamer. It WILL get messy. When the paper is scraped off, it can stick to things so protect your floor and maybe even tape off your baseboards.

messy wallpaper removal

Step 2: Peel off the top layer

For certain papers, the top decorative patterned layer will peel away from the papery backing that will stay adhered to the wall. If you can, peel this top layer off the wall. Skip ahead to Step 4 if you were able to easily peel the top layer of paper away from your wall.

wallpaper removal tips

Step 3: Steam and Scrape

For other paper, fire up your steamer and gently run it over the wallpaper. The steam will soften the adhesive, making the wallpaper easier to peel. As you steam, use the flat edge of your five-in-one tool to gently scrape the wallpaper off the wall. Start at a corner or an edge and work your way across, being careful not to damage the drywall underneath.

steam and scrape

Step 4: Spray

With your sprayer, saturate the papery underlayer and let it sit for a minute or two. Once soggy, use your five-in-one tool to peel away the papery underlayer. Mine did not require anything other than water for the paper to peel clean away from the wall.

removed wallpaper

Step 5: Remove Residue and Clean

Once you’ve removed all the wallpaper, it’s time to tackle any remaining adhesive or paper residue. You can use your scraping tool or a sponge and warm water or some diluted white vinegar to clean the wall thoroughly. Make sure it’s dry before you proceed with your next decorating step.

wallpaper removal

Check out my video about wallpaper removal below!

Final Results

With just three simple tools – a five-in-one paint scraping tool, a steamer, and a sprayer – you can transform your space by stripping wallpaper. Don’t be intimidated by the process; it’s a rewarding DIY project that can breathe new life into your home. So, roll up your sleeves, grab these tools, and get ready to create a fresh canvas for your home decor dreams. Happy decorating, and remember, I’m always here to help you make your house feel like a home!

wallpaper removal after
foyer after wallpaper removal

To skip ahead to the full flip house reveal, click here!

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