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Removing Wallpaper Borders

 

Detailed Instructions for Removing Wallpaper Borders

 

By Mark J. Donovan

 

 

Removing Wallpaper borders is simple in theory but frequently more difficult in practice.  Described below are a few techniques on removing wallpaper borders. Depending on the type of wallpaper border you are removing you may need to implement one or more of the techniques to successfully remove your wallpaper border.

The first step in removing wallpaper border is to first remove all wall hangings from the walls and furniture from the room. Removing wallpaper borders can be a messy job.


Remove Wallpaper Border using Wallpaper Scraper

If the wallpaper border was applied over wallpaper you may be lucky as typically the wallpaper border peels off easily in this situation.

Using a wallpaper scraper, or a putty knife, attempt to lift a corner of the wallpaper border from the wall. Newer wallpaper borders are frequently designed to peel off.

If you have success lifting a corner with the putty knife, use your hands and gently try to remove the wallpaper border section from the wall by simply peeling it away from it.

If the wallpaper border was not applied over wallpaper, or if you are unable to lift a corner of the wallpaper border, or if the backing remains on the wall, apply water or a liquid wallpaper removal solution to the border. Apply the water or liquid wallpaper removal solution liberally with a sponge, spray bottle, or paint roller on the wallpaper and to the point where the wall is saturated.

Note that if the wallpaper border has a plastic or vinyl laminate over it you may need to first lightly scrape/scratch it to enable the water or removal solution to penetrate into the backing and glue layers.

The wallpaper border will absorb the water/liquid and the glue will begin to reactivate and loosen up. Once this has occurred again use a wallpaper scraper or putty knife, as well as your hands, and begin removing the wallpaper border.

Note that removing a wallpaper border is messy and dusty. In addition wallpaper removal solutions can have fumes that may irritate your sinuses and lungs. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area and wear proper clothing, including gloves. Also make sure you wear safety goggles when removing wallpaper borders.

Preparing Walls for new Wallpaper or Paint

After you have removed all of the wallpaper border, wipe the walls down with a warm damp sponge to remove any glue from the wall. Make sure you frequently rinse out the sponge to remove as much of the wallpaper glue as possible.

Once the wall has dried lightly sandpaper the walls to remove any residual glue.

Wallpaper Steamer

Another alternative for the removal of a wallpaper border is to rent a wallpaper steamer. A wallpaper steamer similarly applies water to the wallpaper border however it is extremely hot water. The hot steam helps to reactivate and loosen the glue. After steam heating an area of wallpaper border use your hands and a wallpaper scraper to remove the wallpaper border from the walls. Note that wallpaper steamers are messy and a little dangerous so definitely try the above-mentioned alternatives prior to resorting to the wallpaper steamer.

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Preparing Walls for new Wallpaper Border or Paint

After you have removed the entire wallpaper border, wipe the walls down with a warm damp sponge to remove any glue from the wall. Make sure you frequently rinse out the sponge to remove as much of the wallpaper glue as possible.

Once the wall has dried lightly sandpaper the walls to remove any residual glue.

If you plan to replace the wallpaper border you should be at a point where you can now install it. If, however, you plan on painting the walls you should first apply one coat of primer and then lightly sand the primer.

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