How to Remove Wallpaper Border
Get Old Outdated Border Off Of Your Walls!
Wallpaper Removal Materials
Materials and Supplies Needed to Remove Wallpaper Border
When you are ready to remove wall border, you will need the following items:
- wallpaper scoring tool (can be found at online or at home improvement or hardware stores for under $5)
- liquid fabric softener
- spray bottle
- sponge or rags
- scraper/putty knife (plastic ones are less likely to scratch your walls)
- garbage bag or can
- ladder or step stool (needed if the border is on the top part of the wall and hard to reach)
Removing Wallpaper BorderClick thumbnail to view full-size
Steps to Remove Wallpaper Border
Work in small sections (about 1-2 feet) and always start where there is a seam. If possible peel as much of the border as you can by hand from one seam to the next before starting the removal process. If the border will not come off by hand at all, then just start with the steps below and once you remove one section, repeat all the steps for the next section.
- Use the scoring tool to create little holes in the wallpaper border. Do not press hard on the wall with the tool or you may leave marks on the wall. Move the tool around to create circles that overlap each other.
- Prepare a solution of fabric softener and water in a clean spray bottle. I use a 50/50 mix of softener and water, but on paper borders you can use less softener. If the borders are plastic coated or have been on the wall a long time, you may need more softener.
- Fill a bucket half full with warm soapy water and place your sponge or rag into the bucket.
- Spray the softener water mix into the little holes you created with the scoring tool.
- After you spray a section, use a sponge or rag to soak up the liquid that drips down the wall and smear it into the border.
- Allow the liquid to soak into the board for at least five to ten minutes and then start peeling. Try to peel first with your hands by grabbing a loose seam or corner. Peel off what you can and spray more liquid onto the additional layers.
- Once you have peeled away all that you can with your hands, start using your scrapper/putty knife to remove the rest. Be careful not to damage the wall while scrapping.
- After scrapping, use a wet sponge or rag to fully clean the wall before you move onto the next section.
- It is also a good idea to put all the border into the garbage bag before moving onto the next section. if wet border is left on the floor it may get stuck to carpeting or flooring as it dries.
Amount of Time It Takes to Remove Wallpaper Border
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Additional Ways to Remove Wallpaper Border or Wallpaper
I have removed both wallpaper and wallpaper borders using the water and fabric softener mixture with great success, however there are other ways you can remove wall borders. Both borders and wallpaper stick to the wall with a glue and that glue must be broken down and removed from the wall prior to repainting or putting up new wallpaper.
The key is getting the liquid to soak into the glue and work on dissolving both the glue and the paper. The wallpaper scoring tool is key to helping moisture to the glue. Sometimes the wallpaper top layer can be ripped off by hand and then the paper/glue layer can be sprayed directly, but most of the time it is not that easy and the scoring tool is needed. Once the paper is scored, it can be sprayed with any of the following mixtures:
- commercial wallpaper removal solution
- water and liquid fabric softener
- warm soapy water (Dawn dish detergent works well)
- water and vinegar
- vinegar and liquid fabric softener
You can also apply the liquid mixtures with a paint roller or sponge if you do not want to use the spray bottle method. Whether the mixture is sprayed, rolled or sponged on, they usually need to soak into the paper and the glue for ten to fifteen minutes before scrapping or scrubbing the paper off. You should always work in one to two feet sections and plan on it taking more than twenty minutes per foot of wallpaper border to score, spray, and remove. If you do not want to put in the time to remove wallpaper border, you can pay someone to do it, but the money you save by doing it yourself will mean more money to spend on new décor for the room.
Patching and Preparing Walls for Painting
What to do After the Wallpaper Border is Removed
Once wallpaper or border is removed, you have the option to paint or apply new wallpaper. There are pros and cons to both and you should think about what is best for your room and your budget. Painting can be cheaper and easier to change, but wallpaper does offer a lot more interest to a space. Vinyl wall stickers and decals are starting to gain popularity, especially in kids' rooms. They allow you to bring visual appeal to a room, but can easily be peeled off without any special tools or materials.
Whether you decide to use wallpaper, paint or vinyl wall decals, after removing wallpaper border, you will need to clean the wall and patch and repair the wall before redecorating. The video above shows how to do simple patching and repairing and many home improvement stores also offer free workshops on spackling, painting and hanging wallpaper. Although removing wallpaper border takes a while, you will likely be glad you invested the time to remove the border and give your room a new look.