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Removing Wallpaper
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement


Wallpaper has been around for several generations. In the beginning, wallpaper was made of real paper and home-made pastes, making its removal fairly easy. Since then, wallpaper has become extremely popular in the decorating scene and manufacturers have made necessary advancements. Wall paper is now available in several outer surfaces including silk, fabric, string, grass cloth/burlap, cork-faced, foil and even vinyl. An array of unique colors and printed patterns are also available.

Along with wallpaper advancements, also came a difficulty in removal. New adhesives were needed to give the wallpaper extra strength and help it adhere to the wall. For this reason, very few types of wall paper easily come off with the use of hot water and a sponge. Often, hot water and a stripper are necessary to get the sticky backing and paste off the wall.

You'll find the most difficulty removing vinyl coated wallpapers. Often it is referred to as “strippable” wallpaper. Ironically, it isn't that simple to strip. Most vinyl coated wallpapers require not only a liquid remover, but it must also be scored in order to expose the adhesive. You may even need to rent a steamer or an electric heated scraper for removal purposes.

In addition, wallpaper that has been professionally installed most likely needs to be professional removed. Pros use additional activators on pre-pasted wallpaper, thickening the overall adhesiveness and making it stronger, yet harder to remove.

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