How To Remove Wallpaper And Paint

How To Remove Wallpaper And Paint

How To Remove Wallpaper And Paint

Introduction: Reasons for Removing Wallpaper and Painting

There are several reasons one might choose to remove wallpaper and opt for paint. Sometimes the wallpaper is outdated, damaged, or peeling and needs to be replaced. In more modern times, paint has become a popular choice due to the wide array of colors, finishes, and techniques available. Let's delve into the reasons for this shift.

Aesthetic Preference

Some people simply prefer the smooth and versatile appearance of paint. Wallpaper patterns can be limiting, whereas paint provides an opportunity for more creative freedom. The patterns and colors are unlimited, and additional artistic nuances can be added with various painting techniques.

Outdated Wallpaper

Wallpaper comes in and out of fashion, what was popular a few years ago might be considered outdated now. Removing the wallpaper and painting the room can give your home a more updated and modern look.


Wallpaper, especially in areas of high moisture like bathrooms, can start to peel or bubble over time. Sometimes, wallpaper can even grow mould. On the contrary, paint is usually more durable and can stand up to heat, moisture, and other environmental changes better than wallpaper.

Ease of Change

Changing the color of a room that's painted is easy, just apply a fresh coat. Wallpaper, on the other hand, needs to be stripped before anything new can be applied. This can be a difficult and messy process.

Cost Effective

In general, painting a room can be more cost effective than putting up wallpaper. Wallpaper can cost more per roll, require professional installation, and be more expensive to maintain.

Value Addition

Lastly, painted walls may add more value to your home. If you're planning to sell, buyers might see wallpaper as a potential project they'll need to undertake, while paint is generally seen as more move-in ready. This in return could give the perception of added value to your home.


Not only does paint offer a wide range of colors and finishes, but it also allows homeowners to express their unique personal style and taste. This personalization can make your living space feel more like your own. Therefore painting over wallpaper offers a multitude of creative options and advantages.

Necessary Tools and Barring Purchases

To accomplish the task of removing wallpaper and applying paint smoothly, you will need to gather certain tools and equipment. The list isn't long or highly specialized, but each element plays a crucial role in ensuring a clean, crisp finish. Below are the essential items you need to acquire:

Wallpaper Stripper

This is possibly the most important of all the tools. A wallpaper stripper is vital to the task and can be found at any local home improvement store. Choose between liquid and gel strippers, depending on your comfort and the wallpaper material.

Scraping Tool

Once the stripper has loosened the wallpaper glue, a sturdy scraping tool is needed to remove the paper from the wall. Opt for a tool with a comfortable grip and a blade wide enough to cover good surface area without damaging the wall.

Sponges and Buckets

Clean-up is a significant part of the process. Arm yourself with sponges and buckets to wipe down the walls post-wallpaper removal and prepare it for the paint job. The washing step is crucial for a smooth, even paint application.

Paint Brushes and Rollers

Choose good quality paint brushes and rollers, so the paint goes on smoothly and evenly. Bear in mind that brush sizes will vary based on the edging and corner details of your walls.

Drop Cloths or Plastic Sheeting

These essential items will protect your floors and furniture from getting damaged or stained during the process.


Lastly, you're going to need paint. Make sure to select a high-quality paint that will provide full coverage and a long-lasting finish.

Barring Purchases

While investing in brand new tools and equipment can be tempting, barring purchases, or renting, is also an option. Renting can not only save money but also reduce the need for storage space for tools that might not get frequent use. Check local home improvement stores as they often offer rental services for the essential tools mentioned above.

Additionally, remember that while it may be cheaper to go for the least expensive option, investing in good quality tools and equipment can make the job a lot easier and lead to a better finish in the end. Therefore, consider your options and choose wisely.

Preliminary Step: Protecting Your Room's Furnishing

When removing wallpaper and preparing to paint, one crucial step often overlooked is protecting your room's furnishings. This preliminary step not only saves your furniture, flooring, and other accessories from potential damage but also allows for a smoother, less stressful remodeling process.

Prepare the Room

The first order of business should always be to clear the room as much as possible. Remove all smaller items, decoratives, and electronic devices. Larger furniture that cannot be moved should be carefully placed in the center of the room or adequately covered.

Moving Furniture Away

If possible, entirely empty the room or at least move your furniture to the center away from the walls. This will give you unimpeded access to the wallpaper and avoid any accidental damage to your furniture while you work.

Covering the Furniture

If some pieces of furniture remain in the room, cover them with quality drop cloths. This will protect them from dust, pieces of wallpaper, and accidental paint splatters. Remember to also cover the floor, especially if it's a carpeted area, to prevent any water or stain damage.

Protect the Fixtures

No room is devoid of fixtures, and these can include lights, switches, outlets, and even heating units. Covering these fixtures with masking or painter’s tape will keep them safe from any splattering and ensure they continue functioning correctly after the renovation.

Detachable Fixtures

For fixtures like lightbulbs or detachable light fixtures, it's often best to remove them altogether. You can replace them after you've completed your wallpaper removal and painting processes.

Non-Detachable Fixtures

For non-detachable fixtures, cover them with a high-quality masking tape to ensure they would not be painted on accidentally. A more effective measure can be to cover them entirely with plastic or a bag and seal the edges with tape.

Prepare for Cleanup

Finally, prepare trash bags or a trash bin where you can immediately dispose of old wallpaper, debris, and other waste. This reduces the amount of cleanup needed after the renovation and maintains the cleanliness and orderliness of your space.

Once your room's furnishing has been adequately secured and protected, you can begin the more hands-on task of removing your old wallpaper and painting your walls, confident in knowing that your furniture, fixtures, and flooring are well-protected.

The Initial Step: Testing and Loosening the Wallpaper

Removing wallpaper and preparing the wall for paint can be a chore, but with careful attention to detail and the right techniques, this task can be accomplished smoothly.

Testing Your Wallpaper

Start by determining the type of wallpaper and the method used to adhere it to the wall. Look for seams or edges that can give you some insight into both the state and type of your wallpaper. To check if your wallpaper is strippable, use a putty knife to try peeling off a corner. If it comes off cleanly, your wallpaper is likely strippable, simplifying the removal process.

Loosening Up The Wallpaper

If your wallpaper isn't strippable, you may need to score it before it can be easily removed. Using a wallpaper scoring tool, create small perforations in the wallpaper. Always be careful not to apply too much pressure as this may damage your walls.

Applying a Stripping Solution

Next, apply a stripping solution to the wallpaper. This can be a commercial wallpaper-removing solution or a DIY option made from hot water and vinegar. It's important to apply the solution generously to completely saturate the paper. This may need to be done more than once depending on the stubbornness of the wallpaper.

Safety Precautions

As you work with stripping solution, remember to protect yourself. Many commercial stripping solutions contain chemicals that can be harmful if ingested or in contact with skin. Always wear safety goggles, gloves, and long sleeves to safeguard your body.

Time to Soak

After saturating the wall with the solution, give it time to penetrate the paper and adhesive. Waiting around 10 to 15 minutes should be enough for most wallpapers. You may need to wait longer or apply second or third coats for stubborn or thick papers.

Using a Wallpaper Steamer

For very resilient wallpaper, using a wallpaper steamer may be the way to go. This heats up the adhesive and helps in separating the wallpaper from the wall. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when using a steamer to avoid any potential damage to your walls.

Taking Care of your Wall

While removing the wallpaper, always be gentle. It’s easy to accidentally gouge your wall or cause other types of damage, which can create extra work in the long run. If you do damage your wall, remember to patch, sand, and prime it before you start painting.

The In-depth Process: Stripping off the Wallpaper

To ensure a smooth, flawless finish when painting, it's essential to completely strip off the old wallpaper. This task can be challenging but becomes less so if the correct steps are followed. Here is a detailed overview of what it entails.


The first step is to protect your floor and furniture. Use drop cloths or plastic sheets to cover the floor and any nearby furniture. Remember to also switch off the electricity because you'll be working near outlets.

Select Your Tools

You'll need a few tools to effectively remove the wallpaper. These include a scoring tool, to puncture the wallpaper, a wallpaper scraper, to remove the wallpaper, and a bucket and sponge, to apply the stripping solution.

Create a Wallpaper Stripping Solution

Next, you should create a solution that will help loosen the wallpaper and make it easier to remove. A common homemade solution is mixing hot water and fabric softener in a 1:1 ratio. Alternatively, there are also commercial stripping solutions available.

Apply the Stripping Solution

After making the solution, apply it to the wallpaper using a sponge or sprayer. Soak a small area at a time, wait a few minutes for the solution to penetrate, and then proceed to the next section.

Strip the Wallpaper

Using your wallpaper scraper, gently begin to scrape off the wallpaper. If it doesn’t come off easily, reapply the stripping solution and wait a few more minutes before trying again.


For stubborn wallpaper, use a steamer, which can be rented from a home improvement store. The heat helps to further loosen the adhesive.

Post-Stripping Clean Up

Once all the wallpaper is removed, wipe down the walls with a clean, wet sponge to remove any residual adhesive. Allow the walls to dry completely before you begin painting.

Evaluate the Walls

After removing the wallpaper and cleaning the walls, it's crucial to evaluate their condition. Look out for any damages or blemishes that need to be fixed before proceeding with your painting project.

Post-Removal Clean-up: Preparing the Wall for Painting

Once the wallpaper has been effectively removed, it’s essential to properly prepare the wall before applying paint. This post-removal clean-up is a crucial step in the process, ensuring a smooth and professional result.

Inspect the Wall

Inspect the wall carefully for any leftover wallpaper or adhesive residue. Traces of these can create bumps or uneven surfaces that will be visible under the new paint. Removing residual wallpaper can be done with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. A scraper can also be useful for stubborn spots. Make sure to allow the wall to dry thoroughly afterwards.

Repair Any Damages

Assess the condition of the wall for any damages, such as pinholes, cracks or chips. Smaller issues can be fixed with a pre-mixed joint compound, while larger damages may require drywall. Allow any repairs to dry thoroughly, and then smooth over the repairs with sandpaper to ensure an even surface.

Prime the Wall

Once the wall is clean and smooth, apply a suitable primer to prepare the surface for paint. A primer serves as an undercoat that helps the paint adhere to the wall, enhances its durability, and prevents any staining from old wallpaper or adhesive from showing through the new paint.

Choosing the Right Primer

Choose a primer based on the type of paint you plan to use. If you're going to use latex paint, a latex primer is ideal. For oil-based paint, use an oil-based primer. Optionally, a stain-blocking primer can be beneficial if there's any chance that stains from the old wallpaper or adhesive might bleed through the new paint.

Applying the Primer

Use a paint roller for larger wall areas and a brush for detail work along the edges. Allow the primer to dry fully before progressing to the painting stage.

Finally, A Smooth Wall Ready for Painting

With these steps followed properly, the wall is now ready for a fresh coat of paint. This thorough preparation ensures a smooth, flawless finish that speaks volumes about the attention to detail and professionalism with which the project was executed.

Selecting the Right Paint

Before proceeding with applying the paint, it is critical to make the right selection. The paint you choose significantly impacts the final look of your wall. It also plays a significant role in the durability and maintenance of the wall.

While choosing the paint, you need to consider the texture, color, and finish. The texture primarily depends on the look you are aiming for. Some people prefer a smooth texture, while some go for a more rustic look. Regarding color, it entirely depends on your preference and the overall décor of the room.

Choosing the Paint Finish

The finish of the paint affects how well your wall can handle wear and tear. A gloss or semi-gloss finish is better for rooms with heavy traffic or children, as they can withstand washing. On the other hand, matte finishes work well for adult spaces with less traffic.

Priming the Wall

Once the wallpaper has been removed, the wall needs to be primed before painting. Priming the wall is a crucial step because it provides an even base for your paint, covers any remaining adhesive or stains, and makes your paint job look professional and long-lasting.

Choosing the Right Primer

The first step in priming the wall is to choose the correct primer. The primer you should use depends on the surface you're working with and the type of paint you'll be using. Most walls do well with a general, all-purpose primer. For areas that are susceptible to moisture like bathrooms or kitchens, opt for a moisture-resistant primer.

Applying the Primer

After you've selected the right primer, the application process begins. Start with cleaning the wall thoroughly and removing all dust and grime. Once the wall is clean, apply the primer using a paint roller for larger areas and a brush for smaller, detailing areas.

Allow the primer to dry adequately before proceeding with your paint, usually a few hours to overnight. This wait ensures a strong foundation for your paint and contributes significantly to a successful paint job.

The Final Step: Painting and Cleaning Up

After all the prep work is done, you've finally reached the final step in the project of removing wallpaper and painting. In this phase, you'll be painting your walls and cleaning up the area.

Preparing to Paint

Firstly, always remember to protect your floors and furniture from drips and spills. Use a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to cover the area. Then, apply a primer to the walls using a paint roller for best results. Let the primer dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Choosing the Right Paint

When selecting paint, consider the type of room and what function it serves. Kitchens and bathrooms could benefit from semi-gloss or gloss paint due to their moisture resistance, while bedrooms and living rooms may be better suited to a matte or satin finish for a more cozy and relaxed ambience. Also, consider the paint color carefully as it greatly influences the mood of the room.

Applying the Paint

Start painting from the top of the wall and work your way down. This minimizes visible paint streaks. Apply the paint in a “W” formation and then fill in the gaps without lifting the roller, this technique helps to avoid roller marks on the wall. Wait for the first coat to dry before applying the second one. The drying time can vary based on the paint type and weather conditions.

Cleaning Up

Once the paint has dried, it's time to carefully remove the painter's tape. Do it slowly to avoid stripping any of the new paint off. Next, clean your brushes and rollers with water if you used water-based paint, or mineral spirits if you used oil-based paint. Don’t forget to properly dispose of all remaining paint and equipment according to local regulations. Lastly, vacuum up any dust and you're done!

Maintenance Tips for Painted Walls

Keep your new paint job looking fresh by periodically dusting and wiping down the walls with a damp cloth. Avoid harsh cleaning products as they can strip the paint. If you notice any scuffs or marks, touch-up paint comes in handy for small fixes.

With the hard work done, it's time to step back and admire your beautiful, newly painted walls. The effort of removing the old wallpaper and painting was truly worth it.