Best way of removing contact paper from wall?

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Topic by TimmyP posted 01-14-2012 10:57 AM 31415 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 3294 days

01-14-2012 10:57 AM

Hi everyone,

I was just wondering if anybody has had the need to remove contact paper from drywall. I’ve found that because I used two different brands of paper, they peel off the walls differently. So the stuff that doesn’t peel away real nice, it usually rips after a few inches of peeling it off, and then there is a bunch of leftover paper to be scraped off. I’ve been having fairly good success with just scraping the leftover residue with a single-edge blade, but I manage about 2 square feet before I run out of time or finger dexterity. More recently, I’ve been using spray-on wallpaper remover, but I’ve had rather poor results with it. So my question to all of you is, is there any easier methods to remove contact paper from drywall? Many thanks.

So you might ask, why do you have contact paper on the walls? Because we had a St. Bernard, and to make it easier to clean-up his spit that he could fling all over the house, I had the bright idea to put contact paper on the walls.

This is Zissner’s no-drip gel wallpaper remover. Unfortunately, the instructions just say to spray it on (after using a paper tiger or such), let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes, then scrape away. But I don’t know how much of the stuff I’m supposed to spray on – a little, a lot, enough to saturate everything? So far, I’ve been finding that the remover gets down to the drywall, and softens the paper layer, so I’ve looking at a fair amount of drywall repair when I’m finished. Today, I did have some success with the stuff – I found the underlying contact paper to be “wrinkled”, and it scraped right off. However, it was only an area of maybe 3 square inches.

View dfletcher's profile


128 posts in 4030 days

01-16-2012 04:56 PM

We use warm water and fabric softener. You won’t get it to peel right off, but, it does work. You need a scraper and towels to clean it up with.

Sometimes, you will get long pieces to come off, just spray it on, let it set for a minute, start to run your scraper down while pulling.

Any left over stuff, re-spray and scrape off.

View TimmyP's profile


9 posts in 3294 days

01-18-2012 12:55 PM

Dfletcher, how much water to fabric softener did you use? 50/50?
and what kind of scraper are you using? Today, I went at it just using my blade, and managed to clean-up a couple of square feet, but there is still a bit of a gummy feeling left behind on the wall, even though it looks scraped clean. In using your softener/water solution, do you have the problem of the drywall paper getting too wet and ripping off? I’m finding that just dry scraping the stuff off, I’m not too bothered by drywall damage.

View getneds's profile


10 posts in 4081 days

02-05-2012 04:17 PM

I think using the tool that scores the paper works well with the mixture stated above. As for me what I did was a 1 part softner:2 parts hot water mix, after running the scorer on one wall I saturated it with the solution. I then move onto the next wall for scoreing allowing the first to penetrate. After I score the second wall I spray it also then return to the first wall spraying and scraping. Doing this allows the solution to penetrate and really start freeing up the glue. move around the room methodically. A sharpened 6” putty knife worked for me first prying motion, then a 90 degree scraping motion. You’ll need to constantly spray.

No matter how well you think you have it the job is still tedious and always a Pain in the BUTT. Good luck and have fun.

Heres a link to some more info.

-- www.getneds.com, Builk woodshop supplies. Deck screws, Buy bulk and save

View SteveVo's profile


5 posts in 3227 days

04-23-2012 04:57 AM

If the contact paper is glued too strongly to the wall and the glue is water resistant, you can try using a hair dryer to slowly weaken the glue. Start from the top and peel downwards slowly, all the while using the hair dryer to blow at the glue. You can also use some citrus based adhesive remover to remove the excess adhesive.

-- Steve | http://www.radiatorshowroom.co.uk

View TimmyP's profile


9 posts in 3294 days

05-03-2012 11:09 AM

Thanks for that. I’ve heard about using a hair dryer/heat gun before, but never tried it. The good news is, most of the paper I’ve managed to scrape off the walls, so now it’s just a matter of touching up spots I might have missed, and repairing the gouges I made. I’m thinking, that once I start painting, that over time, the little spots that I couldn’t get off with my scraper will peel off, and I can just re-paint.

I haven’t been doing much work on my walls, because I’ve been sick of late. But things are improving, and hopefully, by end of the month, I can get some painting going.


View Anna25's profile


5 posts in 3021 days

10-13-2012 11:20 AM

hi dear you can use hot water and cotton cloth to remove contract paper from dry wall .. you can also use spray named magic remover …

-- http://www.besureservices.com/building-and-maintenance/

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


447 posts in 3138 days

10-15-2012 07:53 PM

Ouch, I may be a day late for this. My wife bought me a wagner steamer specifically for removing wall paper. No chemicals, no softner, 10 times less work. FAR less damage to sheetrock.

She took an hour to remove 5 square feet of wall paper badly. I took an hour to remove all the paper from an 8 by 11 wall almost perfectly.

Hop it helps!

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

View morganjanzi's profile


5 posts in 3017 days

10-17-2012 10:49 AM

hallo,,, I thinks you can use heatgun for removing paper from wall. if you use glue in contract paper then heatgun is best for removing this…....

-- http://3gorillas.blog.com/portable-air-conditioner/

View Earlextech's profile


8 posts in 3659 days

11-12-2012 09:38 PM


-- Sam Hamory - The project isn't finished until it's "finished"!

View BuckeyeNate's profile


4 posts in 2987 days

11-16-2012 09:48 PM

I recently ran into the same issue in a bathroom; pain in the butt. I feel the years of getting hot and cold with moisture mixed in made my my wall paper impossible to get off. I ended up using stuff from Lowes called piranah, which worked well. But the tool i used to score the paper ruined the drywall. I wont use this method again.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


447 posts in 3138 days

11-17-2012 12:54 AM

Honest and really really really – steam. Can you tell I have an opinion on this?

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 3702 days

11-17-2012 12:34 PM

This is why one of the things I don’t do is put up wallpaper because someday it needs to come down.
I’ll put my vote up for steam. Time consuming, but will damage the drywall the least.
Many times I have told clients it would be cheaper for me to replace the drywall than to remove the wallpaper. If they want to steam it off themselves than it’s an economical option. but to pay a contractor to do it and still have the possibility/guarantee of drywall repair it not an inexpensive option.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


447 posts in 3138 days

11-19-2012 04:19 AM

Great point Gary. It brings up a point. I put a very heavy texture in the bathrooms. I should probably just put up new Sheetrock instead of spending a day in a cloud of dust and another day repairing.

-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 3702 days

11-20-2012 04:59 PM

The one big advantage of new drywall is just that…it gives you a nice straight new wall to start over with. No waves and humps and bumps from years of patching, scraping, and God knows what else. Plus any underlying issues hidden behind the old wall covering can be addressed

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View TimmyP's profile


9 posts in 3294 days

02-04-2013 09:50 AM

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Currently, 98% of the contact paper is removed, but there is still probably about 40% of residue left on the walls. I think, once I’m done scraping everything, I’ll use a combination of the wallpaper solution and fine (very fine?) sandpaper to smooth the walls, make any repairs and continue painting. (I’ve already done some painting on a couple of walls, and it looks great. But when you run your hand over the places where the final adhesive didn’t come off, you can tell something’s not right).

View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 3702 days

02-04-2013 08:52 PM

Keep wetting the wall down with a spray bottle with your solution in it and let it soak. Let it sit for as long as it takes to soften up enough to scrape off with a 6” drywall knife. Then wash it down with hot water, as hot as you can take. When it drys, which is faster with the hot water, run your hand around on it then to feel any imperfections or pieces left behind. If they’re small enough sand them off with 100 sandpaper. If not wet it again.
When it’s all clean give the whole surface a sanding with 150 or a sanding screen. I usually use the screens when sanding walls or ceilings for a fresh coat of paint. they tend to clog less. If the paper is clogging up bad it may be because there is still a fair amount of adhesive that needs to be removed, wet again and scrub. (Have I ever mentioned I hate taking down wallpaper….this is why…lol ). Be sure to frequently rinse whatever you are scrubbing with or it will just redeposit the glue.
Sand, prime with a primer/sealer, and sand again, then two topcoats.

Ohh…if needed, some patching and sanding before priming, then sand…. and sand between coats…nothing crazy, just to knock of any fuzzies that crop up.

Did I mention sanding…lol….it will make a mediocre paint job into a flawless one.

Keep up the great work!

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View TimmyP's profile


9 posts in 3294 days

02-13-2013 09:24 AM

Thanks for the tips, GaryL. I’m trying to get as much adhesive residue off the walls using my single-edge razor scraper…seems to work best, but it takes a while to get any significant area done. Personally, I don’t see using a 6-inch wide drrywall knife to get the residue off….given the imperfections of the drywall, I’m probably going to have to do a lot of sanding to clean things up.

View newheights's profile


1 post in 2878 days

03-05-2013 10:59 AM

View TimmyP's profile


9 posts in 3294 days

03-06-2013 07:22 PM

Yeah, I think that’s been suggested. At this point, it’s mostly small patches of adhesive that is stuck in the “low” areas of the drywall. I think I’ll start sanding the walls now, to see if I can get a lot of that adhesive removed via sandpaper, and see what happens. I’ll try to keep everyone posted on how things progress. Of course, today’s major task will be shovelling the driveway once I get home this evening, so maybe I’ll get a chance to work on the walls this coming weekend.

View Dallas's profile


5 posts in 2884 days

03-07-2013 01:09 AM

Contact paper removal = heat gun or blow dryer. Warm area, peel off paper. Mineral spirits to remove any goo.

View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 3702 days

03-07-2013 02:10 PM

Hey Timmy….Are you stripping A LOT of wallpaper or is it just fighting you…lol
I looked at your original post…418 days ago…..
Now that is persistence my friend….hope it’s going better.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View TimmyP's profile


9 posts in 3294 days

03-09-2013 12:31 AM

GaryL, it’s fighting me! Understand, this isn’t just a siingle room I’m doing..it’s multiple surfaces throughout the house. I put the contact paper up on the walls so we could wipe my St. Bernard’s spit off the walls a bit easier…but as usual, I outwitted myself, so now instead of just dealing with some dog spit, I’m dealing with a much bigger problem! The most important section was finished about a year ago…it was important, because that’s what the wife was moaning about! What I’ve been working on since is mostly basement walls, and the stairwell into the basement. Right now, it’s mostly gummy residue that needs to come off…I’ll take your advice and start sanding things, see if I can the last of this gunk of my walls before I start painting.

View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 3702 days

03-09-2013 11:24 AM

I had assumed that you were doing several areas. Seems like now your getting a handle on it. There is just no easy way to get stubborn paper off.
Good luck!

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View Melvin Powell's profile

Melvin Powell

6 posts in 2872 days

03-11-2013 10:20 AM

Will the acetone do any damage to the wall? I’m going to be doing this this weekend. My parents have contact paper on one wall in one of their bathrooms in place of wallpaper. I’m going to try to take it down this weekend. Was thinking either a heat gun or wallpaper steamer but might need to use acetone to clean the wall up. Any thoughts or suggestions?

-- Melvin, San Diego, http://www.xpress-restoration.com

View TimmyP's profile


9 posts in 3294 days

03-26-2013 02:30 PM

Hey Melvin,

Sorry this answer is a bit late. How did your contact paper removal go? For the most part, my whole project went “ok”, but it’s the little bits of adhesive that stayed stuck on the drywall has been the problem. I’ve never thought about acetone; if I recall, acetone is great for removing fingernail polish, and other finishes like that. What I’ve considered using on my walls, is the stuff they call “Goo-gone”. Basically, it’s a petroleum-based product (in another words, a very light oil) that does a good job cleaning sticking residue off of things. But my concern was the stuff leaving a discoloration on the drywall, and being an oil, I wouldn’t want my walls to be soaking up oil, in case, God forbid, there would be a fire in my house. Plus, trying to paint over the Goo-gone residue (an oil) with latex paint, problably wouldn’t hold up very well.

Please let me know how your contact paper removal project went. I’m interested to learn anything you discovered.

View jimmyjjohn's profile


1 post in 2837 days

04-15-2013 11:29 AM

Hello Dear

Contact paper should peel right off. A hair dryer will loosen it by warming the glue.

If it is wall paper you need to perforate the veneer with a paper tiger, and spray on a glue dissolve like “dif” then peel off the layers. Take your time and let the glue dissolve. Use a putty knife but try not to destroy your sheet rock. Don’t use the paper tiger on the backing.

View sprucegum's profile


5 posts in 2827 days

04-25-2013 11:17 PM

I don’t even mess around with trying to sand and patch a wall that has had wall paper that came off hard. I just go ahead and skim coat the whole thing with joint compound it is easier than you think and does not require a lot of skill. When you are done the walls will look better than new. My drywall contractor routinely skim coats new drywall in high end homes. I can offer you a few tips if you want to try it.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View TimmyP's profile


9 posts in 3294 days

07-09-2013 08:38 PM

sophiabrown, understand that I’m not working on this project everyday! In fact, it’s probably been a couple of months since I’ve done anything about it – primarily because the walls that upset my wife are now finished, so the rest of the house isn’t so important. However, i’ve been thinking about getting my sandpaper out, start sanding the walls, and then finish up with the paint. Now would be an especially good time, seeing as how it’s summertime, and I’d rather keep myself in the cool of the air conditioning, rather than pull weeds in the sultry outside.

James Nithan, and everyone else who has recommended a hair dryer, my problem here is the noise of the dryer. Would drive the wife into fits.

View Anna John's profile

Anna John

21 posts in 574 days

09-05-2019 10:58 AM

I’m so glad for this discussion. I too have the 1 carat ring price same query since my home wall is also of two different brands of paper. I was really in dilemma. So I searched online and came across this, really thanks for this valuable information.

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