Removing old wallpaper

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Topic by John posted 03-04-2013 07:29 PM 4125 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View John's profile


31 posts in 3951 days

03-04-2013 07:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: refurbishing removing wall paper wallpaper paste bedroom

My house is about 35 years old and we are having a lousy time removing the wallpaper on one wall in the MBR. The Mrs. has scored it with the “turtle”, sprayed with water and fabric softener. It comes off a very small piece at a time. I have discovered today that we are only removing the paper. I really soaked a small place and actually got down to the sheetrock. There is what I thought was a layer of paint. I’m convinced that this is the old style paint-on paste. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.

-- I got out of the rat race. The rats kept winning.

View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 3812 days

03-04-2013 09:25 PM

Check out this thread. It may have some info that can help you.

Removing contact paper

Wallpaper removal always seems to be a crap shoot. It all depends on how it was installed, or more correctly, how it was prepped before the it was hung. The old school sizing that made it easier to removed now is shipped more often to lessen the cost. The next person wanting to remove it pays dearly for that skipped step.

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

View needshave's profile


11 posts in 2992 days

03-11-2013 09:45 PM


I can share my experiences with you, but it may be an apples to oranges comparison. I’m restoring a 1850 Gothic revival. Every room was wallpapered, including the ceiling. Keep in mind this house has no sheet rock, but lathe and plaster and plaster over brick. You can be assured this was the old brush on paste. Much of the wallpaper was painted in later years.

Here is what finally worked for me. I’m not suggesting you do this, it’s just what worked for me. I scored the wall with a utility knife in a small diamond fashion. The turtle did not penetrate all the layers of the wallpaper and paint, so I had to use a utility knife. I mixed water with fabric softener, just as you stated. But I mixed it extremely hot. I sprayed it on, let is set 15 minutes, sprayed it again. I did this three, sometimes four times, waiting 15 minutes between each coating.The very old paper I was dealing with was thick, painted and easier to penetrate when the solution was really hot. The small diamond shaped perforation that I cut into the wall paper allowed more of the water mixture to penetrate down into the adhesive, since some of the wallpaper had been painted. (The paint kept water from penetrating to the first base adhesive level) I then used a three inch flat blade, red devil wall paper knife to remove the gooey wallpaper. I used 400 grit wet and dry sand paper glued to a flat board to maintain a really sharp edge on the tool. It worked for me…...But! What worked for me, may not for you. There are some obvious concerns for your walls. Since you are dealing with plaster board, you must be concerned with how wet you get it, or more accurately how wet you should not get it and you will get some gouges in the wall board from the razor sharp knife if you are not careful. Those scratches and digs in my plaster were really pretty easy to fix, in plaster board and depending upon your experience level to repair, it may be a burden. Additionally if you apply too much water the paper face of the wallboard will absorb the water causing more damage. So like I said, my experience may be an apple to oranges comparison and may not be suitable for your situation.

I tried some of the commercially available solution that you spray the wall with, but found that hot water and fabric softener worked the best for me.

View muddyboggy's profile


4 posts in 2985 days

03-13-2013 02:40 AM

John, our house was built in 1970 and the hall and guest bath were papered with some pretty godawful looking paper. Like yours, the first and second layers had been glued on with a brush-on industrial strength glue and both layers had been primed and painted. I finally did as needshave did and used a box blade to very lightly score the paper and used a 50/50 mix of vinegar, hot water and vodka. Actually the vodka was blended with oj. The fabric softener didn’t seem to have much effect on the paste. After letting each 2×2 section soak for about 10-15 minutes, while I worked on another area, I would scrape off as much as I could and re a-apply the solution. I also tried Dif with very poor results. Good luck.

View dineshobroy's profile


10 posts in 2816 days

08-24-2013 11:42 AM

yeah good idea/....now a days lot of design wall paper available try to get new design wall paper.

-- Home Design / Home Services

View PaulChau's profile


9 posts in 777 days

04-29-2019 08:16 AM

I needed to have a scraper at the ready when I was removing that stuff on my storage room walls. Also if you’re able to steam the stuff off the wall it helps. Otherwise, you’re going to be in for a real tough time getting it off! Good luck!

-- Paul Chau: https://supercheapselfstorage.com.au/facilities/perth/south-perth/

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