How to Remove Wallpaper Paste
Preparing a Room for Wallpaper Removal
Before You Start
If you plan to hang wallpaper again, you might be able to hang your new wallpaper over the existing wallpaper paste. To see whether this situation applies to you, read Installing New Wallpaper.
If you're planning to paint instead, you'll want to thoroughly remove all of your wallpaper paste first since any residual wallpaper paste that is painted over will eventually cause the paint to flake. If you have already encountered this problem, you can read Fixing Flaking and Peeling Paint Paint Problems.
The first step in the process of removing wallpaper paste is to protect all of your outlets, floors, furniture and other items of the home in order to prevent water damage and avoid electrical danger. To see how to do this, read Preparing a Room for Wallpaper and Wallpaper Paste Removal.
Next, you'll want to gather all of the tools you'll need to remove the wallpaper paste from your walls. The following is a list of tools that I use when removing wallpaper and wallpaper paste;
See pictures of these tools.
At this point fill your pump sprayer with warm water and add about 1-2 tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap. The soap provides enzyme action which helps break down the wallpaper paste. Never add any product containing bleach, as this may ruin carpets, rugs, and other items that might accidently come into contact with the solution.
Commercial products are also available to remove wallpaper and wallpaper paste and these can also be added to the water used the pump up garden sprayer. These products can usually be found at local paint or hardware stores. The products are formulated to essentially work the same way, using enzymes to help soften the wallpaper paste for easier removal.
You'll want to adjust the spray pattern on your pump sprayer to so that it disperses a soft and feathered spray instead of coarse spray which will leave too much water running down the wall and on the floor.
During the next step you'll applying water to the wallpaper paste. To prevent shock or serious injury while removing the wallpaper paste, turn off all electricity to the room being worked on. To do this, remove the fuse or switch offall electrical breakers to the room. If you are unfamiliar with or feel uncomfortable doing this, please consult a knowledgable person or liscenced electrician for help. Always excercise extreme caution when working around any electrical outlets or switches. To learn more read, Preparing a Room for Wallpaper and Wallpaper Paste Removal.
At this point you'll want to pump up your sprayer to pressurize the water/cleaner solution inside. Once pressurized, use the sprayer to apply water to the wallpaper paste. Always work from the top of the walls to the bottom to avoid cleaning areas more than once.
The wallpaper paste will usually start to soften after allowing the water/detergent mix to work its way into the paste for approximately 3-5 minutes. You may want to spray an area of wall space ahead of where you'll be working, in order to give the solution time to work.Once the wallpaper paste has softened, the 5" mud or putty knife (for smaller areas) can be used to scrape and remove the wallpaper paste. If the wallpaper paste hasn't softened to the point where it can easily be removed, re-spray the area and wait another 3-5 minutes. Continue to repeat this process until the wallpaper paste is soft enough to be removed.To remove any residual wallpaper paste or glue, respray the walls and aggressively scrub the pasted area using the grill cleaner. Once the wallpaper paste is loose, clean the walls using the sponge or towel.
After cleaning all of the main wall areas you'll want to remove the painters tape from around any vents, outlets, baseboards and other trim to unmask any additional wallpaper paste.
Use a slighly damp towel and/or sponge to remove the remaining wallpaper paste exposed after removing the tape. Be careful not to touch anything inside of any outlet or light switch boxes and never spray water in or around the unsealed or exposed electrical outlets or switches since doing so is unsafe and may result in serious injury or death.
Once all of your wallpaper paste is removed, allow the walls to dry before turning your electricity back on. You can use a box fan with an extension cord from another room to speed up this process, if necessary. After successfully removing your wallpaper paste, you'll be ready to start painting your room. Make your painting job easier by reading Choosing the right painting tools and strategies.
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