How to Remove Wallpaper from Bare Drywall
LESLIE: Sue in South Carolina is having some trouble removing wallpaper. Tell us what you’ve done, what’s going on.
SUE: I haven’t even started yet. I was waiting to get your solution.
TOM: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) OK.
SUE: I live in an older home where the wallpaper has been adhered to sheetrock and I know the sheetrock was not prepared in any way. Can you give me some tips as to the best way I can remove this old wallpaper or is there anything new on the market I might try?
LESLIE: Hmm. Now when you’re dealing with wallpaper and essentially because you know there was no prep work, you’re probably – once you start removing the paper – going to be kind of doing a lot of damage to that drywall but it’s always worth a shot.
Generally, what you want to do is score the paper first. Some people use a product called a Paper Tiger, which is essentially a bunch of blades on a circular, palm-held device that you can sort of score the paper into tiny little bits on the wall and then you steam it. Other people use just a simple matte knife and do long strips and then sort of steam that, as well.
And you really do have to kind of saturate the wall with steam; really let it get to the glue. And the reason why you score it is so that the steam and the warmth can sort of get behind the paper and loosen up that glue, so you can sort of peel it away.
It’s going to be a lot of work but once you start doing that, you’ll see sort of how that drywall is reacting behind it. If you see that it’s just a disaster, you might as well just stop there and get yourself some super-thin drywall and just recoat the entire room and start from scratch.
SUE: Well, that is an option. I had not thought of that. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Sue. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.