Fastest Way of Removing Wallpaper


Washable vinyl wallpapers can provide years of service, but it's time to replace one, the waterproof surface becomes an obstacle. A chemical stripper can dissolve glue quickly, but to be effective, it has to be able to penetrate behind the paper. Fortunately, there is an easy, inexpensive solution that doesn't involve tearing up the paper, and the wallboard behind it, with scraping tools. Before you begin stripping, it's always a good idea to see if your paper is self-strippable. If it is, you should be able to peel it off without any tools or chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • Wallpaper scoring tool
  • Enzyme-based wallpaper stripper
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Paint brush or roller
  • Wallpaper scraper
  • Warm water
  • Soap
  • Sponge
  • White shellac
  • Drywall joint compound
  • Drywall blade
  • Score the surface of the wallpaper with a scoring tool. It is hand-held geared mechanism that makes tiny holes in the paper when you run it across the surface. Glide the tool randomly over the surface as many times as you wish. The more times you make a pass, the more holes it will create and the easier it will be for the stripper to penetrate.

  • Mix an enzyme-based wallpaper stripper with water in a bucket, or use a gel-type stripper and apply it directly out of the container. Roll or brush it onto the wall and let the chemical work for 30 minutes or more. It will chemically alter the glue to reduce its adhesion.

  • Work off a small piece of wallpaper with a wallpaper scraper. Slide the scraper under the paper and slide it along the wallboard. Most wallpapers will separate in large sheets when you do this. Hold the scraper at a a 45-degree angle. The pre-set angle of the blade will prevent it from digging into the wallboard.

  • Wash the wall with a solution of household cleaning soap and warm water after you have scraped off all the wallpaper. It will dissolve the stripper and remove small bits of paper that are still stuck to the wall. Let the wall dry completely.

  • Spread a coat of white shellac on gouges and holes in the drywall that may have been created by the scraper. Let the shellac dry. Spread drywall joint compound over the holes with a drywall blade. The shellac will prevent the moisture from the joint compound from raising bubbles in the drywall paper.

  • Let the first coat of joint compound dry. Spread a second, feathering the patch into the rest of the wall. Repeat with a third coat, if necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Chemical strippers may not work well on some older, thinner papers, especially if they are covering wood. Use a wallpaper steamer for these papers.
  • Even though wallpaper stripper is safe to use, it's a good idea to wear rubber gloves when handling it, especially if you have sensitive skin.

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  • Photo Credit retro wallpaper image by .shock from
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