It is common to come across a painted wall that has wallpaper beneath its many layers. This is especially common in older homes and commercial properties, partly due to the fact that wallpaper was more of a hassle to remove back then because the market lacked the innovative tools and products that we have now to ease the process. For many people, painting over wallpaper is still the more cost-effective and time-convenient option. But this really just adds to work that will be required later down the line when it comes time to properly renovate.
If you are a new homeowner or house “flipper”, and your property has wallpaper that’s been painted over, you are probably wondering how to manage the project efficiently. But the unfortunate truth is, there is no secret method behind removing painted wallpaper; it simply takes a lot more effort and elbow grease than a standard wallpaper removal job. And if there are several layers of paint, your best option may be to replace the drywall altogether. Continue reading to learn the best practice for painted wallpapered walls, and be on your way to a fresh start.
Removing Painted Wallpaper
If you do not already know how to remove wallpaper, simply review the steps before getting started. What you will see is that it is a very similar process to removing painted wallpaper. You will first need to gather all the necessary items, including:
- 3-in-1 Scraper Tool or Broad Knife
- Serrated Paper Scoring Tool (Or stiff wire brush)
- Quality Wallpaper Stripper Solution (Or liquid fabric softener mixed with water and vinegar)
- Wallpaper Removal Cloth
- Ladder or Step Stool
- Large Plastic Bucket
- 2 Gallons Warm Water
- Rubber Gloves
- Protective Eyewear
- Drop Cloths or Tarps
Keep in mind that you may require new drywall installation if you find that there are several layers of paint on top of the wallpaper. If there are only a few layers of paint, you may be successful at removing it without having to replace the drywall. Once you have all the necessary supplies, you are ready to get your hands wet! Here’s how to get started:
- Using medium pressure, score the outer layer on the wall with the paper scoring tool. Too much pressure can damage the wall so take your time on this part. You may also use a thick-bristled wire brush, or both. Choose the tool that you are more comfortable using and that produces the most results.
- Once you have scored the paint, spray on your wallpaper stripper solution, focusing on small sections at a time. Then allow the solution to soak into the wall for a few minutes. Spraying too much solution on at once can damage the wall, so don’t be too generous with the spray bottle. If you do not wish to use a commercial wallpaper stripper solutions, you can mix water, vinegar, and liquid fabric softener into a plastic spray bottle instead.
- After the solution has soaked into the wall for a few minutes, grab your 3-in-1 scraper tool (available at any local hardware or home improvement store for a lower price), and start with the sharpest edge. Get underneath the painted wallpaper and work slowly to scrape it away. Scraping in alternate directions will help expedite the effects.
- Expect this process to take several hours, or even days depending on the drywall or plaster used, the type of wallpaper adhesive, the square footage of the wall, the extent of paint on top of the wallpaper, and much more. After an abundant amount of dedication, patience, and effort, you will eventually get it all!
Please remember that all wallpaper removal jobs will be different. There are countless factors that influence the process of removing wallpaper, especially painted-over wallpaper. Sometimes it is best to leave a tedious and complicated project to a licensed professional.
A drywall and painting contractor has the tools, resources, and training necessary to remove wallpaper in the most efficient and professional manner. And they can also provide drywall installation and repair services for walls that have been damaged by too many layers of paint or wallpaper. If you want outstanding results at a great price, trust your local general contractor for wallpaper and paint removal services.