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Easy Ways to Get Rid of Old Wallpaper

“I love removing old wallpaper!” said no-one ever. When it comes to removing old wallpaper, most people would put it up there on the “not fun” list with getting teeth pulled.

But alas, removing old wallpaper is a task that must be done sometimes, especially if you buy an older home in Albuquerque. So how can you remove it an keep your sanity as well?

Check to See If Your Walls Were Primed

If your wallpaper is primed, that’s a “prime” situation, as it will definitely speed up the removal job. Priming paper became a common practice in the 1990’s, as it kept the glue from forming too strong of a bond with the plaster.

It’s easy enough to check if your walls are primed. Just loosen a corner or seam with a putty knife and pull. If it comes off in one sheet, success!

With well-primed walls, dry stripping should work for the entire job and you could finish a room in a couple of hours at most.

Water Works Miracles

If your wallpaper is not primed, all is not lost. Wallpaper glue is water-based, so you can still remove it if your walls are not primed.

Here’s a technique the pros use:

  • Score or perforate the paper and its backing in sections so water can soak through and loosen the glue. The pros recommend a scoring tool called the PaperTiger (under $20) because it doesn’t harm the wall.
  • Douse the perforated paper with hot water using a pump or compression sprayer. The big mistake most people make is using a regular old spray bottle or damp rag to wet the paper. This leads to hours of fruitless scraping because the paper and its backing don’t get sufficiently saturated. The sprayer, on the other hand, gives you the firepower to really soak the glue.
  • Let the paper soak for about 15 minutes and scrape it off with a putty knife.

This process will take about 6 hours for an average room, but it’s better than how long it would take if you didn’t know how to do this.

Avoid Chemical Strippers Because of the Fumes

You can go with chemical wallpaper strippers, which is waht the pros use. But the downside is the fumes, and it costs more than using water (of course).

Don’t Try the Fabric Softener Trick

You may have heard that using fabric softeners with diluted water will remove wallpaper. Yet, no expert agrees with that method.

In fact, fabric softener makes removing wallpaper even more complicated and messier than just using water, as it ends up mixing the glue with the fabric softener. The fabric softener can also harm drywall.

So when it comes to removing wallpaper, the happiest journey (assuming your walls aren’t primed) involves water — and patience.

Contact us today to help you buy or sell your next home in Albuquerque. Looking for the perfect home for sale in Albuquerque? Our easy-to-use home search tool can help you start the process. Join us twice a week on our blog for more real estate advice and great reasons to buy a home in Albuquerque and the surrounding area. Follow us on Facebook for the latest Albuquerque real estate updates.


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Sandi Pressley

Albuquerque New Mexico Real Estate YOUR SOURCE FOR ALBUQUERQUE REAL ESTATE! Sandi Pressley offers unparalleled service to ALL clients in Albuquerque and surrounding communities in the New Mexico real estate market. Sandi's motto is "Putting You First." Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority. As a native of Albuquerque, Sandi Pressley has been dedicated to serving her client's real estate needs for over 43 years. Sandi has achieved a goal unprecedented by any other Realtor of being the #1 Top Producing Realtor for 36 consecutive years in all of Albuquerque as well as the entire state of New Mexico. She is also the #1 Top Producing Realtor for the entire Western Region and 8th in the Nation with Coldwell Banker National. Sandi Pressley serves the entire Albuquerque New Mexico real estate market including the surrounding communities such as Rio Rancho, Placitas, Corrales, Bernalillo, Northeast Heights, North Albuquerque Acres, Sandia Heights, High Desert, Foothills, Four Hills, UNM, Nob Hill, Ridgecrest area, Uptown area, North Valley, Northwest Heights, Paradise Hills, South Valley, Southwest Heights, Bosque Farms, Los Lunas, Cedar Crest, Tijeras, and all East Mountain areas. Whether you are considering buying a home, selling a home or both, we know these areas inside and out.

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