How To Take Off Wallpaper Border

How To Take Off Wallpaper Border

How To Take Off Wallpaper Border

Introduction to Wallpaper Border Removal

Wallpaper borders provide a charming and personalized touch to any room. However, over time, their appeal may fade, and they may become outdated, torn, or even peeling. When this occurs, removal of the wallpaper border is the next course of action you need to undertake.

Understanding Wallpaper Borders

Firstly, it's important to understand what wallpaper borders are. These are a type of wall decoration, typically a strip of wallpaper that runs horizontally along the top or middle part of a wall. They often feature unique designs, such as vines, flowers, or other patterns and are commonly used to break up spaces on large walls or to accentuate certain architectural features.

Why Wallpaper Border Removal is Needed

Over time, your love for the design of the wallpaper border may fade and you may desire to introduce a fresh look to your room. In some cases, the wallpaper border can become damaged or begin to peel away, which can have a negative impact on the overall aesthetics of the space. These are some instances when you might need to consider the removal of the wallpaper border.

The Basics of Wallpaper Border Removal

The process of removing wallpaper borders involves a combination of heat, moisture, and gentle scraping. Proper care and patience must be exerted during the wallpaper border removal process to ensure the walls aren't damaged in the progress. While this process can be time-consuming and somewhat messy, the transformative impact on your room will ultimately make the effort worthwhile.

Environment Preparation

Before you embark on the removal process, you must prepare your working area effectively. This involves covering your floors and furniture with plastic sheets or drop cloths to ensure they are protected from potential slip-ups during the removal process.

Tools Necessary for Border Removal

To successfully carry out this task, several tools will be needed. These include a wallpaper scraper, sponge or sprayer, and a wallpaper removal solution. Alternatively, a mixture of hot water and dish soap can be used if the removal solution is unavailable.

Mindset and Patience

Lastly, the right mindset is important when taking on this task. While the process might take longer than anticipated, remember that it is not a race. The reward is an opportunity to bring new life and a breath of fresh air into your space.

Necessary Tools and Materials for the Task

When undertaking the process of removing wallpaper border, it is important to gather all the necessary tools and materials beforehand. This will not only make the task more efficient but also ensure you protect your walls from damage.

Water and Soap Solution

The first and most basic tool needed is a mixture of warm water and dish soap. This solution, often referred to as a wallpaper stripper, is highly effective at loosening wallpaper glue. It is essential to use warm water as it dissolves the glue better than cold water.

Spray Bottle

A spray bottle is the best way to apply the water and soap solution. Spray bottles offer a controlled and even spread of the solution. This ensures every inch of the wallpaper border is soaked, making the process of peeling off the wall easier.

Putty Knife or Plastic Scraper

Once the water and soap solution has had time to soak into the wallpaper border, you will need a putty knife or a plastic scraper to help peel off the wallpaper. A narrow tool like these are preferred because they can get under and lift the wallpaper without scratching or damaging the wall.

Sponge and Water Bucket

After the wallpaper border has been removed, a water bucket and sponge will be needed to clean the wall. The sponge should be used to wash off any remaining glue and the bucket will hold the clean water for rinsing the sponge.

Safety Gear

Finally, safety gear like gloves and goggles are highly recommended especially if you are dealing with older wallpaper borders that might contain lead-based adhesives.

Gathering these tools and materials in advance will help you streamline the procedure and make the process of removing the wallpaper border easier and more effective.

Safety Precautions Before Starting

Before starting the task of taking off wallpaper border, you should take precautions to protect your well-being and prevent infliction of unnecessary damage to your home.

Wear Protective Clothing

Always ensure that you are wearing strong, thick clothing that can protect your skin from any potential injury. Tool-related accidents can happen and it's better being safe than sorry. In addition, gloves should be used to protect your hands from the hard work and potentially sharp tools. Eye protection should also be considered to protect your eyes from small particles.

Pets and Children

If you have little children or pets at home, be certain to keep them away from the working area. Tools and loose wallpaper can pose a choking hazard, and the dust or small particles in the air during the removal process can cause health problems.

Prepare the Area

Take the time to clear the room as much as possible. Remove furnishings or home décor that may impede the work or risk damage. If you can't take everything out, cover the items or the floor with a dust sheet as this will make cleaning easier.

Use Safe and Appropriate Tools

Always use the appropriate tool for the task. Avoid improvisation as this can lead to accidents. Keep your tools clean and in good working order.

Proper Handling of Chemicals

If you decide to use a chemical wallpaper stripper, always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions properly. Ensure you work in a well-ventilated room to avoid the inhalation of potentially harmful fumes and always use gloves to protect your skin from any harm.

Handling of Ladder

If the work involves climbing up and down a ladder, make sure that the ladder is sturdy and secure. Practise good ladder safety by not overreaching and trying to always keep at least one hand on the ladder at all times.

Know Your Limitations

If you feel that the task at hand is too daunting or if you are unsure about anything, then don't hesitate to get help. There is no shame in consulting a professional or even hiring one to do the task for you.

Initial Steps: Preparing the Area and Testing for Removal

Before tackling the task of removing the wallpaper border, you need to prepare the space appropriately to ensure a clean and efficient job.

Clear the Area

Begin by removing all furniture away from the walls and placing them in the center of the room. Cover the furniture with dust sheets to protect them from potential damage. Additionally, spread some old newspapers or plastic sheets on your floors to protect them from debris and any liquid solutions used during the wallpaper removal process.

Provide Adequate Ventilation

Ensure that the room is well-ventilated. The removal process might involve using solutions that can emit strong odors or even harmful fumes. Opening up windows and doors can allow for proper air circulation and keep you safe throughout the process.

Turn Off Electricity

For your safety, it's crucial to turn off power in the room where you will be working, especially if you are going to use liquid or steam removal methods. Removing wall coverings around electrical outlets can be risky when power is still on. Use a voltage tester to ensure that the power is off in your working area.

Prepare Your Tools

Having all the necessary tools prepared before you start can make the job smoother and quicker. You will likely require items such as a scoring tool, putty knife, sponges, and a wallpaper steamer. Gather everything you need in one place for easy access.

Testing for Removal

Once the room is all set and prepared, the next course of action is to test the wallpaper for removal.

Determine the Type of Wallpaper

There are two main types of wallpaper - strippable and peelable. Identifying which type you have will determine your removal approach. A corner of the wallpaper can be lifted with a putty knife to ascertain the type. If the entire layer peels away, this indicates that your wallpaper is strippable. If only the decorative surface paper peels off leaving a paper backing, it is peelable wallpaper.

Conduct a Test Patch

Start with a small, inconspicuous area to gauge how easy or challenging the removal will be. If the border peels off without leaving any residue or damaging the wall, you can proceed with the same method for the rest of the wall. However, if the process appears challenging, you may need to use a more robust removal method like a chemical remover or a wallpaper steamer.

Techniques for Dry Stripping Wallpaper Borders

Understanding the techniques of dry stripping wallpaper borders is essential to ensure a neat and clean look of your walls after the process. Adopting the proper technique will help to minimize damage to your walls and enables you to prepare the walls for the next layer of covering easily.

1. Testing a Section

Before starting the dry stripping process, it is best to test a small corner section. This will help you to gauge the adherence of the wallpaper border. If the border comes off without any resistance, this is an indication that your wallpaper border was installed using strippable adhesive and dry stripping may be a straightforward process.

2. Using the Right Tools

Having the right tools is critical to effectively dry strip wallpaper borders. These include a wallpaper scoring tool that makes small holes in the wallpaper, and a wallpaper scraping tool for removing the layers.

3. Scoring the Wallpaper

Using a wallpaper scoring tool, create small punctures in the wallpaper border. Be careful not to press too hard as it can cause damage to your wall. The goal is to create enough holes to allow the wallpaper scrapers to do their job efficiently.

4. Getting the Angle Right

Once the wallpaper has been scored, the next step is to peel the wallpaper off. Hold your scraper at an angle of about 30 degrees relative to the wall and gently but assertively start peeling the wallpaper off the wall.

5. Removing in Sections

Treat each section of the wallpaper as a separate project. Gradually work your way around the room from one side to another. This allows you to keep the wet wallpaper away from the sections you are currently working on and prevents potential water damage.

6. Using an Adhesive Remover for Stubborn Wallpaper

If you find that the wallpaper is not coming off easily, using a commercially sold adhesive remover may be your best solution. Stubborn bits of wallpaper can often be taken off with this product, which softens the adhesive and makes it easier to scrape off.

7. Cleaning Up

Once all the wallpaper has been removed, you need to do a thorough clean-up. This usually involves using warm water and a sponge to clean off any remaining adhesive. It's important to get all the glue off, or the new wallpaper may not adhere properly.

8. Final Inspection

The last step is to do a final inspection to ensure all wallpaper and adhesive have been removed. Any bumps or rough spots must be sanded down for the best final result.

Using Solvents and Steamers for Stubborn Borders

If your wallpaper border proves to be particularly stubborn, you might need to resort to stronger measures. This is where solvents and steamers come into play. Both can be extremely effective in loosening the adhesive bond of the wallpaper border, but it's imperative to take some precautions while using them to avoid damage to your wall and for your own safety.

Using Solvents

Solvents, which can be bought from your local home improvement shops, help to soften the wallpaper glue, making it easier to be scraped off. Start by applying a small quantity of the solvent on an inconspicuous part of the wallpaper. This is to test if the solvent is too strong and could potentially damage your walls.

After the test, use a sponge or a paintbrush to apply the solvent to the border. Ensure the entire surface is covered, adding more solvent if required. Leave the solvent to soak in for a time as specified on the product. Then, begin scraping off the wallpaper border using a putty knife. Be gentle to not gouge or scratch your walls.

Always ensure your work area is well-ventilated when using solvents, and protect your hands with rubber gloves

Using Steamers

A wallpaper steamer is another viable option for stubborn borders. The steam produced by the device works by penetrating and softening the adhesive, making it simple to peel off.

Position the steamer pad on the border and hold it there for about 30 seconds. Be cautious not to keep the steamer pad in one spot for too long as it can lead to wall damage. After 30 seconds, move the pad to the next section of the border and peel off the loosened wallpaper at the same time.

Final Precautions

Both methods outlined have their own risks, so it's always good to act with caution. Remember to protect your flooring and furniture from potential spills and keep the room well-ventilated. Regardless of the method you choose, always perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area before fully diving in. This will give you an idea of how the border, adhesive, and wall could react to the solvent or steamer.

Repairing and Prep Work for the Wall After Border Removal

Once the wallpaper border has been removed, it's time to get the wall ready for either new wallpaper or paint. There are some essential steps to follow to ensure the wall surface is perfectly prepped and ready for the next phase.

Repairing Any Damage

Start by inspecting the wall for any damage that may have occurred during the wallpaper border removal process. This could be tiny pinholes, larger holes, or even cracks in the plaster. No matter the size, it's essential to fix these issues before moving forward.

For smaller holes, use a pre-mixed spackling compound and a putty knife to fill in the spaces. Once the compound has dried, sand it smooth. For larger holes or cracks, it might be necessary to use a patching plaster and a plastering trowel.

Smoothing the Wall

A smooth wall is the key to achieving a professional-looking finish, whether you're reapplying wallpaper or painting. Use sandpaper to even out any rough patches on the wall. Remember to wipe away dust after sanding with a damp cloth.

Cleaning the Wall

Cleaning the wall thoroughly is also a critical step in the preparation process. Any residue left from the wallpaper adhesive needs to be removed completely. A warm, soapy water solution can be useful for lightly soiled walls, but for heavily stained areas a dedicated wall cleaner may be necessary. Always remember to rinse the wall with clean water after cleaning and allow it to dry completely.

Applying a Primer

Once the wall is clean and dry, apply a primer. This helps prepare the wall surface for painting or new wallpaper. It forms a barrier between the wall and the new surface, which prevents stains and adhesive residue from bleeding through.

Prep Work for New Wallpaper

If you're planning to install new wallpaper, a 'liner paper' can smooth out any remaining imperfections in the wall. This acts as a base layer and will ensure the top wallpaper layer looks perfect. Be sure to let the liner paper dry thoroughly before applying wallpaper.

Waiting for the Wall to Dry

Finally, ensure the wall is completely dry before applying paint or new wallpaper. This may take up to a week, depending on the type of repair work done. The patience will pay off with a smooth, well-prepared wall that's ready for its new life.

Finishing Touches and Tricks for Wallpaper Border Removal Success

After successfully removing the wallpaper border, there are a few last steps to finalize the job and make sure that it is completed in the most well-rounded and professional manner possible. The final details include ensuring thorough cleaning, addressing any damage caused, and prepping the wall for any future redecoration.

Cleaning the Space

Clean the area thoroughly to ensure that any remnants of wallpaper glue or fine bits of paper are completely removed. This can be done using a soft brush or vacuuming the area. After vacuuming or brushing, damping a cloth in a solution of warm water and mild detergent, and giving the wall a final wipe can help in completely cleaning the space.

Repairing Wall Damage

Removing wallpaper borders might sometimes lead to minor damages to the wall, including little nicks or scratches. To repair these, you can use a little bit of filler or plaster. Apply the material on the damage using a spatula or knife, and let it dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once it's dry, sand it with fine-grit sandpaper until it's smooth with the rest of the wall.

Preparation for Future Redecoration

Once the wall is completely cleaned and any damage has been repaired, it's time to prepare it for the next step, whether it's a new wallpaper border or paint. If you're preparing to paint, apply a primer to get an even base for your paint. If new wallpaper is your choice, consider applying a size - a type of adhesive that prepares the wall and ensures a stronger bond between the wallpaper and wall.

Additional Tips for Successful Wallpaper Border Removal

While following the aforementioned steps will generally lead to a successful wallpaper border removal, there might be cases where the wallpaper is incredibly stubborn. If you encounter such issues, it's worth remembering that patience is key in this process. Taking your time and carefully removing each section of the wallpaper border minimizes the risk of wall damage.

Furthermore, do not be hesitant to repeat the removal process if it is required. It is better to retreat a stubborn section of wallpaper and slowly work on it, than to rush the process and risk damaging the wall.