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How To Strip Wallpaper

Here at GS Decorating, we thought we would do a quick overview of the best way to strip wallpaper. Stripping wallpaper can be a right pain in the preverbal and varies with the surface you are working with. But if you stick to these basic principles, everything should run nice and smoothly in your home DIY project.

How to strip wallpaper – get your tools.

We would recommend you pop to your local DIY store and pick up an essential bit of kit before you start to strip your wallpaper. We use Dulux trade, but any local hardware store worth their salt should stock this item.

A long-handled scraper with a 5mm blade (see picture), you can pick one of these up for under a tenner. decorators scrapper

Apart from your trusty long-handled scrapper, all you’re going to need now, is a bucket, some boiling water, a big sponge, dust sheets, some plain brand washing up liquid, bin bags and a box of teabags.

If you are stripping a painted wall or lining paper, you may also want to invest in one of these a wallpaper scorer. But if you don’t want to splash out, make sure you score the paper using your scraper. You basically need to ensure water can seep through behind the wallpaper. Steamers, in our opinion, are just a waste of time and money. You will end up there for hours upon hours and get a bright red face from the steam to boot!

How to strip wallpaper – Get your room ready.

Hopefully to all of you with common sense out there, we shouldn’t really need to explain this step. But just in case, we will give it a quick mention. Clean your room out as much as possible, lay dust sheets throughout your room, ensuring they are right to the edge of the wall. Carpets don’t seem to take to wet, damp wallpaper for some reason kindly! There are many ways to prep a room and a professional will always take their time to do it properly, ensuring minimum disruption to the room. However, for this post, doing it properly is a whole another story and will be for another blog.

Check out our post on how to decorate a room and protect your work area properly: Laying Dust Sheets and Masking up. 

How to Strip wallpaper –  Score your paper.

This all depends on the paper you have on the wall and if you have invested in the wallpaper scorer as recommended above or using a blade. You need to ensure the wallpaper has been scored to allow the water behind the paper and loosen it from the wall.

How to strip wallpaper – Soak your walls.

Right now, this part is extremely straight forward, but it’s amazing how many people don’t do this and dive straight in with their scrapper or steamer. Scraping away for hours to get every last inch of the paper off.  Mix your washing up liquid with your boiling water and soak the walls. Simple! Get the walls extremely wet and… go put the kettle on! Sit down, read the paper, check your phone, do whatever you want. But leave the walls alone, don’t get that scrapper anywhere near to them yet.

Depending on the number of layers of wallpaper on your walls will relate to how many times you want to soak them. But we would recommend between three and five times. Just ensure the waters soapy, very hot, the walls get very wet, and then you leave it at least twenty minutes between each soaking. All you need is a big old sponge and your away.

As professional painters and decorators, GS Decorating tends to soak the whole room in one go, but dependant on your speed take sections at a time, and by the time you have finished one section you will be ready for the next.

How to strip wallpaper  – The strip

What you will find, if you have soaked your walls properly, is that the hot soapy water has got behind the wallpaper and dissolve the paste. With the aid of your trusty long-handled scrapper, this paper should now glide off with minimal effort at all. If you start and find the paper is not almost falling off the walls, then stop put your scrapper down and soak that wall again. Maybe time for another brew or two.

How to strip wallpaper – Keeping clean.

As with everything in decorating, cleaning as you go along is paramount, everyone has their own method with this. Do whatever works best for you. But we recommend bagging up as often as possible. It makes it easier in the long run.

How to strip wallpaper – Summary

Stripping a room may look a daunting challenge when you start, but it doesn’t have to be hard work. By ensuring the hot water can get behind the wallpaper (whatever finish it is) and giving it enough time to soak through properly, most rooms can easily be stripped.

If you are looking for high-quality painters and decorators London, please feel free to contact GS Decorating for more information. GS Decorating has a successful history of undertaking both residential decorating and commercial painting for clients throughout London. Decorating London’s residential and commercial properties, we are always happy to help with your up-and-coming projects. If you’re looking for painters in London contact us now.

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