How To Take Wallpaper Border Off

How To Take Wallpaper Border Off

How To Take Wallpaper Border Off

Introduction to Wallpaper Border Removal

Wallpaper border removal can often feel like a daunting task, especially if the wallpaper has been up for a long time. However, with the right tools and a bit of patience, you’ll find the process isn't as hard as it may seem. This guide will navigate through the steps required to efficiently and effectively remove your wallpaper border.

Understanding Wallpaper Border

A wallpaper border is a decorative element, often used to enhance the aesthetic of a room. These borders can add character and charm, but over time, they may fade or simply become out of style. Regardless of the reason, the removal process begins with understanding what type of wallpaper border you are trying to remove.

Tools Needed for Wallpaper Border Removal

Before you begin, gather all necessary tools. This will generally include a scoring tool, a spray bottle filled with warm water or wallpaper remover solution, and a plastic scraper. It’s also a good idea to have some plastic sheeting or towels on hand to protect your floors during the process.

Preparation for Wallpaper Border Removal

Start by moving any furniture away from the wall and lay down your plastic sheeting or towels. Use your scoring tool to create small holes in the wallpaper border. These holes will allow the water or wallpaper remover solution to penetrate the adhesive backing. Do this gently to avoid damaging the wall beneath.

Applying Wallpaper Remover Solution

Fill your spray bottle with warm water or wallpaper remover solution and spray the border until it is completely wet. Allow it to soak in for a few minutes. This will soften the adhesive and make the border easier to remove.

Scraping off the Wallpaper Border

Using your plastic scraper, begin to gently scrape off the wallpaper border. Work in small sections, scraping and peeling the border off. If you come across a stubborn piece, spray it again with the solution, wait, and then try scraping again.

Cleaning Up After Border Removal

Once the wallpaper border is completely removed, there may still be some residue left on the wall. This can be wiped off with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water. Allow the wall to dry completely before proceeding with repainting or applying new wallpaper.

Remember to clean and store your tools properly, ready for your next home improvement project. This process may seem tedious, but it is well worth the effort to refresh and update your home’s look.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before starting the process of removing a wallpaper border, it is essential to assemble all the necessary tools and materials. Having all required items on hand will streamline the process and prevent unnecessary delays.

Scoring Tool

A scoring tool is typically a small handheld device that you roll over the wallpaper to create tiny punctures. This allows the wallpaper remover solution or steam to penetrate the adhesive backing and facilitate easier removal. Ensure the tool is not overly sharp to avoid damaging the wall underneath.

Wallpaper Remover Solution

This special formula is designed to break down the adhesive holding the wallpaper border to the wall. It is available in ready-to-use spray bottles or as a concentrate you can mix with water, apply with a sponge or spray bottle. Natural products like vinegar and hot water mixture also often do the job.

Spray Bottle or Garden Sprayer

These are used to apply the wallpaper remover solution to the border. A garden sprayer can be particularly useful when dealing with a large amount of border as it allows you to infiltrate large sections efficiently.

Putty Knife or Wallpaper Scraper

These are used to scrape off the soaked wallpaper border. Ensure that they have a flexible blade with a sharp, but not overly aggressive, edge to scrape wallpaper away without gouging the wall.

Sponge and Bucket

These will be used to clean the wall after the wallpaper border has been removed. The sponge should be soft to avoid scratching the wall, and the bucket will hold warm soap water for the clean-up process.


If your wallpaper border is high up on the wall, a stable ladder will be required to safely reach it. Consider using a step ladder or an extendable ladder depending on the ceiling height and the area you need to cover.

Rubber Gloves and Protecting Sheets

Removing wallpaper can get messy. Protect your hands from the wallpaper remover solution with a good pair of rubber gloves. Plastic sheets or old towels can be used to protect your floor and furniture from drips and spills.

Having the proper tools and materials can make the process of removing a wallpaper border much smoother and more efficient.

Preparing Your Work Area

Gathering Necessary Supplies

Before you begin, ensure that you have all the necessary supplies ready. These could include a wallpaper steamer, wallpaper scraping tool, ladder for hard-to-reach places, buckets, warm water, sponges, protective gloves, safety goggles, and dust sheets or plastic covering to shield your flooring.

Protecting the Floor and Furniture

Your wallpaper removal process can be messy, making it crucial to protect your floor and furniture. Cover the floor and any immovable furniture with dust sheets, old bed sheets, or plastic sheets. Ensure all corners are well covered, catching any water or wallpaper that may fall during your work.

Safety Precautions

As with any home improvement task, it is crucial to take certain safety measures. Ensure you wear protective gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself from any sharp tools or potentially hazardous wallpaper adhesive. If you are working in a well-decorated room, consider removing any precious or delicate items to avoid accidental damage.

Preparing the Ladder

If your wallpaper border is mounted higher on the wall, a ladder will be necessary. Position your ladder on a stable, even surface. Make sure it extends at least 1 meter above the workspace for safe access and egress points. Also, ensure that someone is nearby to steady the ladder while you work.

Observe, Test, and Plan Your Border Removal

Observe the condition of the wallpaper border and the wall behind. This can give you an idea of how difficult the removal process may be. Test a small, inconspicuous area with your tools and method of choice to see how well it works, giving you a good idea on how to tackle the entire border. Plan your border removal strategically, starting from a corner or seam for easier peeling.

Moistening the Paper

Before commencing the removal process, it is a good idea to moisten the wallpaper border with warm, soapy water. This should help to soften the adhesive and make the removal process easier. Apply liberally with a sponge, cloth, or spray bottle and allow it to soak for a few minutes.

Easing Your Work

Always remember, it's easier to remove wet wallpaper, so maintaining moisture in the paper will ease your work. Hence, moisten the area to be worked upon frequently. Additionally, work in small sections, so the paper doesn't dry before you reach it.

Cleaning Up

Plan for your clean up beforehand. Have garbage bags or bins ready to collect the border pieces as you remove them from the wall.

Understanding Different Types of Wallpaper Borders

Wallpaper borders are significantly distinct, varying in design, material, and installation method. Your journey to remove a wallpaper border should first begin with a proper understanding of the different types of wallpaper borders. This way, you would know the right techniques and tools to use for a smoother, more controlled removal.

Self-Adherent Wallpaper Borders

One common type of wallpaper border is the Self-Adherent Border. These borders come with an adhesive backing. When installation is necessary, the backing gets simply peeled, and then the border is stuck to the wall. The advantage of this type is its ease of installation. For removal, knowledge of the adhesive used, and an appropriate removal solution or steam, can simplify the process.

Pre-Pasted Wallpaper Borders

Another type is Pre-Pasted Wallpaper Borders, these borders added to walls with water. The border's back surface is treated with a dried paste, which gets activated on contact with water. On it being dampened, it sticks to the wall. Removal usually involves re-wetting the paste and using a scraper tool.

Unpasted Wallpaper Borders

The third type is Unpasted Wallpaper Borders, which require a separate adhesive during installation. This type might be a bit tricky to remove because the adhesive used can vary and might require different techniques or solutions.

Vinyl Wallpaper Borders

Finally we have Vinyl Wallpaper Borders. This border type is robust, washable, and often used in kitchens, baths, or children’s rooms. Vinyl borders are usually more challenging to remove due to their durability. A combination of steam and removal solution typically works best for these types.

Important Considerations When Removing Wallpaper Borders

Recognizing the type of wallpaper border in your home is vital as it helps in deciding the correct removal approach to ensure minimum damage to your walls. Therefore, before you begin, it can be beneficial to try to identify your wallpaper border type. Remember, knowledge is power- and that is also valid when it comes to wallpaper border removal!

Steps to Loosen the Wallpaper Border

To successfully remove an old wallpaper border, it is crucial to first loosen it. This facilitates an easy peel-off and ensures the wall remains intact without any damages. Here are some steps to follow:

Materials Needed

  • Water
  • Vinegar or wallpaper remover
  • Spray bottle
  • Putty knife
  • Sponge

Step 1: Preparation

Start by preparing a mixture to loosen the wallpaper border. Fill the spray bottle with hot water and add vinegar or commercial wallpaper remover in a 1:1 ratio. Shake well to combine the elements.

Step 2: Apply Mixture

Generously spray your mixture onto the wallpaper border. Make sure you spray evenly across the entire surface. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes to let the border absorb the mixture and soften.

Step 3: Scraping

After soaking, use the putty knife to gently scrape the border. Start from a corner or edge, lift a piece, and gradually pull it off. If you meet resistance, spray the difficult area again and wait a few more minutes before retrying.

Step 4: Apply More Mixture if Necessary

If certain areas remain stubbornly attached, apply more of your mixture and let it soak for another 10 minutes. The time will allow the solution to further sink in and soften the glue adhering the border to the wall.

Tip: Always scrape in the direction of the loosening border. Doing it oppositely could risk damaging your wall.

Step 5: Clean the Wall

After successfully peeling off the border, there might be residual glue on the wall. Use a sponge soaked in your solution to clean it off and smoothen your wall surface for the next wallpaper installation or paint job.

By following these steps diligently, you will be able to remove your old wallpaper border effectively and easily.

Removing Wallpaper Border Safely

When updating your home's interior, you may find yourself needing to remove old wallpaper border. This is a task that requires patience and attention to ensure you don't damage the underlying wall. Here are the proper steps to do so securely and cleanly.

Equipment and Protective Measure

Firstly, gather all the necessary tools before you start. You will need a scoring tool to start breaking down the wallpaper. A spray bottle filled with a mix of hot water and vinegar, or a wallpaper stripper solution, is also required. Scraper, putty knife or a drywall knife would be useful for scraping off the loosened wallpaper. Always wear gloves to protect your hands and safety glasses to shield your eyes from potential debris.

Prepare Your Work Area

To avoid any significant clean up afterwards, it is advisable to lay some plastic sheeting or old sheets along the floor beneath your work area. This catches any falling debris or drips of solution, making the cleanup process far easier.

Start Stripping the Wallpaper Border

To start, puncture the wallpaper border using the scoring tool. Be careful not to press too hard as it can damage the wall underneath. This step helps the solution penetrate the wallpaper, loosening it from the wall.

Apply the Solution

After scoring the wallpaper, spray your solution onto the wallpaper border, ensuring it is fully soaked. Allow the solution to soak in for about 20 minutes. This should give it enough time to thoroughly penetrate the wallpaper and begin to break down the adhesive.

Begin Scraping

Once the wallpaper is adequately soaked, you can start to gently scrape it off using your scraper or drywall knife. Be careful not to dig too deeply into the wall. The aim is to scrape away just the wallpaper, whilst leaving the wall intact.

Final Cleaning

After all the wallpaper border is removed, clean off any residual adhesive. A sponge or cloth dipped in the solution and a bit of light scrubbing should suffice. Finally, rinse the wall with clean water to remove any excess solution and let it dry thoroughly before painting or applying new wallpaper.

Points to Remember

Remember, the key to successfully removing wallpaper border safely is patience. Do not rush or force peeling off the wallpaper as it could damage the wall. Working on a small section at a time is often the best policy, ensuring each section is properly soaked and scraped before moving onto the next.

Treatment and Repair of Wall After Removal

Once the wallpaper border is successfully removed, the wall underneath may require some treatment and repair. This process ensures that the wall is in the best condition for any new decorating task.

Cleaning the Wall

The first step is cleaning the wall. Even after careful removal, there can still be wallpaper paste residues on the wall. Using a sponge and warm water with a mild detergent, gently clean the wall, making sure to remove all paste residues. It's essential to rinse the wall thoroughly and let it dry before moving on to the next step.

Checking Wall for Damages

While the wall is drying, this is the perfect time to check for any damages. High levels of moisture during wallpaper removal might have caused parts of the wall to soften or deteriorate. In this case, the damaged parts need to be treated and repaired.

Repairing Wall Imperfections

Depending on the extent of the damage or deterioration, different repair methods can be used. For minor damages like small holes or cracks, a small application of spackling paste with a putty knife will do the trick. For larger holes, you might need to use a wall repair patch. Once the repairs are done, they should be allowed to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

Sanding the Wall

After repairs, the wall's surface might be uneven. To ensure a smooth finish for future decorating tasks, sanding is necessary. Using medium-grit sandpaper, lightly sand the entire wall, focusing particularly on patched areas to ensure they blend seamlessly with the rest of the wall. Afterwards, make sure to clean up the dust generated from sanding.

Prepping the Wall for Future Decorating Tasks

Finally, the wall would be clean, repaired, and smooth - ready for any future decorating undertakings. Depending on your next project, you might need to apply a primer or moisture barrier to prepare the wall. Ultimately, caring for your wall and treating it properly after removing a wallpaper border ensures that it remains in great condition for a long time.

Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid

Having an effective and efficient process depends not only on knowing what to do but also on knowing what not to do. In this section, we will discuss some common mistakes and provide tips that can help make the process of removing wallpaper border a breeze.

Do Not Rush

The first and most common mistake people make when removing wallpaper border is trying to rush the process. While it may seem like a straightforward task, proper removal requires patience and care. Do not be in a hurry, take your time, and remember to protect your walls and the surrounding areas.

Incorrect Tools

Using the wrong tools is another common mistake. Avoid using sharp objects like knives or screwdrivers that can damage the walls. Instead, invest in a good quality wallpaper scorer and a spray bottle or steam machine for removing the glue.

Sufficient Moisture

One crucial tip is ensuring sufficient moisture. The border wallpaper is designed to be water-resistant, so not wetting it enough before attempting to peel or scrape it off often leads to problems. Apply enough water or wallpaper remover solution and give it time to soak in, this will make the process much easier.

Don’t Be Too Forceful

Another mistake is applying too much force when trying to remove the wallpaper border. This is likely to cause unnecessary damage to the wall. The key is to gently loosen the paper with the appropriate tools and peel it off slowly.

Not Cleaning The Walls Afterwards

After you have successfully removed the wallpaper border, it is crucial to thoroughly clean the walls. Remaining adhesive can cause problems when you paint or add new wallpaper. Wash the walls using warm water and a mild detergent or a dedicated adhesive remover, and ensure no residue is left behind.

Final Tip

If the wallpaper border has been attached for many years or is particularly stubborn, it can be worth employing a professional. This can save you time and ensure your walls do not get damaged in the process.