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Removing Wallpaper

It is highly unlikely that old wallpaper will be easily removed. Taking down wallpaper is not fun but it's a necessity when preparing the surface correctly prior to hanging new wallpaper.

Before beginning this daunting task, you need to know the type of wall covering you're dealing with and you also need to know the type of wall surfaces that's underneath the wallpaper. In most cases this will either be drywall or plaster smoothed over either strips of wood or metal mesh.  You can visually tell by the feel, as plaster is harder and smoother than drywall or by tapping it as drywall sounds hollow and plaster does not.

If in doubt remove an outlet cover to see the exposed edges.

Be careful when wetting drywall as it is vulnerable to water damage so try not to over wet it. Also be careful when you're scraping because drywall gouges more easily than plaster. If you are lucky the wallpaper is dry strippable. Lift a corner with a putty knife and grasp with both hands and attempt to peel back. If it peels, you're in luck. If it does not peel off or if only the decorative surface peel off you will need to cover the wallpaper with water or wallpaper solvent remover and then scrape it off.   

Some papers, like foils or vinyl and acrylic finishes are not porous so you need to scratch or roughen the entire surface to permit the solution to penetrate the non-porous surface to the adhesive layer.

Protect your floors when you are removing wallpaper. Lay down a waterproof barrier around the perimeter of the room. Tape the plastic edge to the baseboard that will prevent water from seeping behind the trim. Be sure to tape over the switch and receptacle covers or shut off the circuit breaker at the electrical panel.

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