What are the Best Tips for Wallpaper Removal?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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The best tips for wallpaper removal are to go slowly and do the job right, and to use the proper materials. Working too quickly and without the right materials can not only create a bigger mess than necessary, but it may also lead to wall damage. It is also important to move all furniture away from the wall if possible, and to cover everything with a plastic tarp. This will prevent any mess from covering the rest of the room.

It is a good idea to cover the floor and any furniture that cannot be moved before attempting a wallpaper removal. Although the adhesive comes off cleanly relatively easily, there is no need to create more work than necessary. Using a plastic tarp or rubber runner is ideal, but any covering that is available is better than nothing.

If the wallpaper is made from vinyl, fabric materials, or heavy duty paper, it should peel off quickly and easily without much fuss. Starting at the seams and pulling to the sides should remove the paper in a few large sheets on each wall. This is likely the only step needed before painting, unless there is wall damage already underneath.


Most wallpaper removal projects will take a little more patience than this, since the majority of wallpaper is thin and does not come off easily. It is almost impossible to remove it in one piece. The top layer usually comes off easier, often leaving behind a thin layer of white paper. This can be removed by wetting with water several times and allowing the moisture to set in. Once this is done, it should peel off in several strips.

If this doesn’t work, using a rented steamer and sandpaper may do the trick. Only manually sanding the wall will work, though, because coarse abrasives will damage the wall if used too vigorously. There are also commercial products available which are designed to remove wallpaper, although some are more effective than others. It is also important to purchase the correct kind of solvent to allow wallpaper removal to go more smoothly.

Sanding the area for wallpaper removal should be used as a last resort, since damage to the wall underneath can be pricey to repair. When in doubt, hiring a professional may be the best idea since it can save money in the long run by avoiding damage to the wall. If this is not an option, there are also techniques which can be used to cover the paper with other paper or with paint.


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