Painting Tips and Tricks

One of the most hated jobs, DIY wallpaper removal, tedious, uninteresting and of course very frustrating. If you would like tips on “How To Remove Wallpaper Fast”, keep reading. I cover 3 steps to effectively removing wallpaper easily with no stress.

If you considering employing services of a painter and decorator to remove your wallpaper, STOP. Save yourself the money by doing it yourself, stripping wallpaper is not a highly skilled job, its simply labour intensive. Below I have detailed the steps, products and correct order for fast wallpaper removal in 3 steps.

Step 1: Scoring The Wallpaper

All wallpaper has a top layer that in most cases is waterproof, meaning that no matter how much you wet the outer layer. The moisture will not soak through to the backing paper. The first step is to score the outer layer of the wallpaper allowing your wallpapering stripping solution to penetrate through the top layer of paper.

This can be easily achieved using a simple tool, Zinsser Paper Tiger. The painter’s tool has three independent wheels with two circular discs per wheel. Each metal disc is covered in small teeth (spikes) that score the wallpaper. Essentially when using the paper tiger you’re piercing hundreds of tiny holes through the outer surface of the wallpaper.

How To Strip Wallpaper Fast

Zinsser paper tigers effect on wallpaper

How To Use The Zinsser Paper Tiger?

Using the paper tiger is a relatively simply process. Place the scoring tool into the palm of your hand and using a circular motion score the top layer of wallpaper. You don’t need to apply a lot of pressure as the paper tiger will do the work for you. The goal is to pierce through the outer layer, applying too much pressure or using the tool in a forceful manner can 1) Damage the teeth of the tool 2) Increase the risk of scoring the plaster beneath the wallpaper.

how to remove wallpaper fast

Zinsser paper tiger scoring tool

I personally prefer to use the paper tiger to score the wallpaper on one wall at a time and then soak the wallpaper, which i’m going to cover in the next step.

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Step 2: Soaking The Wallpaper

The most effective way I have found to soak the wallpaper after scoring is to use a combination of two products. 1) Spray the walls with a Garden Pressure Sprayer, its fast, saves bending up and down and you uses less water 2) Add one of best wallpaper solutions on the market, Zinsser DIF Concentrate Wallpaper Stripper at a ratio of: 75ml per 1 litres of warm water.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking more is better, follow the dilution instructions. Zinsser wallpaper stripper is strong, add to much and you run the risk of stripping any emulsion paint that may be on the plaster behind the wallpaper.

how to remove wallpaper fast

Zinsser DIF & Garden Pressure Sprayer

Always where a Respirator Mask, Safety Glasses and Latex Gloves when working with chemicals.

Step 3: Wallpaper Removal

As I mentioned above, I tend to score one wall at a time and then use the Garden Sprayer in combination with Zinsser DIF to spray the wall. I then leave the wall to soak and score the next wall, after 15 mins I go back and test the previous wall.

If the wallpaper is not coming off with ease, spray the wall for a second time and leave for a further 15 mins. In most cases this does the trick, with both the top layer and backing paper coming off together.

You don’t need any fancy tools for removing wallpaper, a simple 3 Inch Flex Knife will get the job done. Once the wallpaper is soaked thoroughly, use the flex knife to raise a corner or seam of the wallpaper. Once it starts to lift, continue using  your fingers to peel the wallpaper from the wall. If you have followed the steps above correctly, the wallpaper should peel off in large sections (strips).

There have been several occasions using the 3 steps above that I have removed the wallpaper from an average sized room in 60 mins. Of course this is not always the case, there are circumstances where stripping wallpaper does take longer, which I talk about below.

How Do I Remove Difficult Wallpaper?

Of course there are wallpapers that are more difficult to remove than others. For instance, woodchip, or any wallpaper that has numerous layers of paint on the surface, generally take longer to remove.

The process for removing difficult wallpaper is the same as above. Follow the 3 steps outlined in this article, how to remove wallpaper fast is relatively easy, if you take “extra time” to score the surface of the wallpaper. This gives Zinsser Wallpaper Stripper the opportunity to penetrate the layers behind the surface.

Another popular wallpaper removal method is to use a machine, Wallpaper Stripper (steamer). The principles are the same, score the surface allowing for the steam to soften the paste behind the surface.

In my experience this method is effective, but very slow and tedious. You gradually move the steamer plate from one section of wallpaper to another, waiting each time until the steam penetrates the lower surface before stripping the wallpaper.

Wallpaper Removal Hacks

  • Score the upper layer of wallpaper with the Zinsser Paper Tiger
  • Spray the Wallpaper, let it soak for 15 mins, then respray total wait time 30 mins
  • Use warm water when mixing Zinsser Dif in spray container as helps to soften the paste on the wall
  • Flex knife is only used to lift corners of wallpaper, then continue to peel sections of wallpaper using your fingers
  • Lay a drop cloth to avoid the glue residue from wallpaper and paste sticking to floor

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