How to Hang and Remove Wallpaper

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Wallpaper offers a good alternative to paint when improving the look of your interior walls. And while properly hung wallpaper can make any space look better, removing and hanging wallpaper can be tricky if not done correctly.
In this article, Part 1 talks about how to remove a variety of different types of wallpaper and Part 2 discusses how to hang new wallpaper in your home.

Part 1 of 2: How to remove old wallpaper

Materials Needed
  • Large brush
  • Liquid stripper concentrate
  • Gloves
  • Putty Knife
  • Safety goggles
  • Scoring tool
  • Spray bottle
  • Steamer
Before you can hang new wallpaper, you need to remove the old paper. The section below details how to remove various types of wallpaper from your home’s wall surfaces.
Step 1: Prepare the wall. Start by determining what kind of wall you have, plaster or drywall.
Found in many homes 50 years old or older, a plaster wall is more durable than drywall. If you have drywall, which is common in newer homes, you need to be more careful when scraping the wallpaper off of the wall with a tool.
In addition, remove everything off of the walls, including any pictures, knickknacks, and other objects. Remove any furniture from the room. If you must leave anything, make sure to cover it with a drop cloth to protect the item.
Step 2: Removing the wallpaper. Next, you need to start removing the wallpaper.
Give yourself a day for removal of the wallpaper from the walls of an average-sized room.
Depending on the type of wallpaper, do the following to remove it:
Removing strippable wallpaper
To remove strippable wallpaper, start at a corner or seam. Use a putty knife to pry the edge of the paper away from the wall. Grab the lower corner and pull the wallpaper away from the wall until both bottom corners are free. Next, holding the bottom edge, pull up until the whole piece comes off the wall. Continue doing this until you have removed all of the pieces.
Removing peelable wallpaper
Some wallpapers have a top coat that removes easily like strippable wallpaper, though this wallpaper leaves a backing that you must also remove before applying new wallpaper. The easiest way to strip this backing is by using a liquid stripper concentrate mixed with hot water. Apply the mixture to the wall using a large brush or sprayer. Allow the mixture to soak for a few minutes before using a scraper to remove the backing.
Removing washable wallpaper
Washable wallpaper uses a plastic coating to make the surface waterproof. The easiest way to break through the plastic coating is by using a scoring tool to score the wallpaper and allow moisture in. Using a spray bottle, soak the scored wallpaper. After about 10 minutes, scrape the wallpaper away with a putty knife.
Removing wallpaper using steam
While usually used as a last resort for more stubborn wallpaper removal, steam provides a way to remove wallpaper that other methods fail to remove. Using a steamer, you must apply the steam and remove the paper at the same time.
In addition, if the wallpaper is of the washable variety, use a scoring tool to allow water to get beneath the plastic covering prior to removal. As you apply steam to the wall’s surface with the steamer, follow behind with a putty knife to scrape the wallpaper off of the wall.
Consider using a helper to make the process easier and faster.

Part 2 of 2: How to hang new wallpaper

Materials Needed
  • Drop cloth
  • Knife or snap off blade
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Paste
  • Paste roller or brush
  • Pencil
  • Putty knife and a straight edge
  • Smoothing brush or plastic smoother
  • Sponge and a bucket of clean water
  • Step ladder
Once you have removed your old wallpaper, it is time to hang some new paper. The following steps detail how to apply new wallpaper.
Step 1: Determine how much wallpaper you need. First, calculate how much wallpaper you need.
First, find the parameter of the room by measuring the length of each wall and adding the sums together.
Next, measure the height of the room. Make sure to take any openings, such as doors and windows, into account when measuring. Also, you should take into account any other areas that you don’t expect to need wallpaper for, such as a fireplace.
Multiply the perimeter of the room by the height and subtract any space that you don’t plan to wallpaper.
Next, divide the total by the square feet per roll of wallpaper. You should also add about 5% more wallpaper to account for any waste.
You can find wallpaper calculators at various sites online, including and
Step 2: Prepare the walls. Next, you want to clean the walls, making sure to remove any debris.
Fill in any holes in the wall with spackle and allow it to dry. After the spackle has dried, use sandpaper to make the spackled area nice and smooth.
Remove any faceplates or socket covers from the walls.
Remove any furniture from the room and lay down drop clothes to catch any drips from the paste.
You should also measure out from each corner of the room the total width of the paper used minus a half inch. Mark this with a pencil.
Step 3: Cut the paper. When cutting the paper to put on the wall, add 4 inches to the total length of each strip.
This allows you an extra 2 inches along the top and bottom of the wall to account for any trimming.
Step 4: Applying the wallpaper. Start in the most inconspicuous corner of the room, such as behind a piece of furniture or behind a door.
Also, make sure the first piece you place is straight and level, as this piece impacts how straight additional wallpaper pieces are. Use a level to draw a plumb line, which allows you to hang the paper straight on the wall.
If using paste to apply wallpaper, make sure that you evenly distribute the paste in an area just slightly larger than the strip of wallpaper you want to apply.
Use a stepladder to reach the top of the wall with the wallpaper.
Step 5: Place the first strip. When placing the first strip, unfold the top half of the strip and apply it to the wall.
Allow some of the paper to overlap on the ceiling and the adjoining wall in the corner.
Position the edge of the paper so that it lines up with the plumb line you drew.
Step 6: Smooth in place. Once you have the paper in place, use a smoothing tool to press the strip to the wall, making sure to not stretch it.
Unfold the bottom half of the strip of wallpaper and smooth it into place using the smoothing tool.
Smooth the entire strip, using the tool, making sure to work diagonally from top to bottom and from the center of the strip to either edge. This helps remove any air bubbles under the material.
Step 7: Wash off the excess paste. Finish by washing off excess paste using a sponge and bucket of clean water.
Step 8: Trim the excess paper. Using the putty knife and straight edge, trim any excess paper along the ceiling or floor.
Wash any paste off the ceiling or baseboard using the sponge and clean water.
Step 9: Continue applying the wallpaper. Continue to apply strips of wallpaper using the above method.
Make sure to match the pattern up from the previous piece. Also, the edges of each piece should be tightly together without any overlapping.
When starting on a new wall, measure and mark a new plumb line using the level and pencil.
Removing old wallpaper and hanging new wallpaper can update the look of your home. Before beginning, though, find out what type of wallpaper you currently have hanging on your walls to determine the best way to remove it. Also make sure that you calculate how much wallpaper you need when hanging new wallpaper and to allocate enough time to complete the project.

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