Learning How to Remove Wallpaper Borders

Remove Wallpaper Borders

Wallpaper borders if removed improperly could spoil the looks of your home. Here we are discussing some important tips and tricks for removing wallpapers without spoiling the surface as well as the looks of your walls.
If you wish to prepare the surface of your wall for a new paint, or a new wallpaper job, it is necessary that you remove the old wallpaper completely and correctly. Let us see how to remove these borders. If the old wallpaper is the ‘strippable’ type, it will peel off easily without any problem.

However, old wallpapers in older houses are particularly stubborn, especially with the old glue resisting all efforts to remove them. If the older wallpapers have been painted over, then their removal, along with the borders, is a bigger problem.

Remove Wallpaper Borders

Your method to decide how to remove them depends on what the border has been applied on. Check beneath the wallpaper to find out what kind of surface has been applied to the wall, along with the covering.
It depends on whether the wallpaper, and the border, was applied on a painted wall, or not, and whether it was glued onto the older wallpaper.

You should know what you are up against. You first should know the type of wall it is. Check to see whether the walls are drywall, or plaster smoothed over lath.

• Drywall is a wall made of a material that has been prefabricated, such as plasterboard, and lath is a substructure of thin strips of wood under the plaster. On tapping, the drywall will sound hollow. In addition, a drywall is much less smooth and softer than plaster. If the wall is a drywall, do not use too much water, as excess water can damage it. In addition, scrape with care as drywall gouges easily.

• If glued on a wallpaper, it may be possible to easily peel them off. However, if it is on a painted wall, you may need to dampen the lower layer, and let it soak for a considerable while, with warm water, to make the job easier. Alternately, you may use any solvent that removes wallpaper. These are easily available in any neighborhood hardware store. Follow up by scraping it off.

Check to see whether your wall paper border is made of porous material, or not. Foil, or any vinyl coated material, or material finished with acrylic, would not be porous.

In such a case, scratch the surface of the borders, or perforate and roughen up the entire area to allow the solvent or water to penetrate below to the glue, or any other adhesive used. A well-wetted border can easily be scraped off.

Knowing The Techniques

Your technique for removing the wallpaper border will depend on the kind of paper it is, and the type of wall surface underneath. Once you have identified both, the paper and the surface, let us see how to remove wallpaper borders, using different techniques.

Dry Stripping – Some wallpapers can be easily strippable, and you just loosen the border of each strip with a knife, and gradually peel it off at a low angle of 10 degrees to 15 degrees. Pulling the wallpaper straight off can damage the surface underneath, especially if the surface is drywall. If it is a peel-able wallpaper border, only the top decorative paper will come off. You may later need to scrape off the backing paper and adhesive.

Soaking and Scraping – You will need to use warm water and some wallpaper removing solvent to remove the non-strippable paper border or any paper backing that remains after dry stripping. One way is to use a spray bottle, but a more effective method, to get the solution on the wall and the wallpaper borders, is to use a paint roller. When soaking, do not soak an area of the border larger than what you can scrape off in about 15 minutes, especially so, if the underlying surface is a drywall, which can get damaged. You can wet a couple of border strips at a time and scrape off. There is an assortment of perforators for non-porous paper borders, as well as scrapers, to help you scrape off the stubborn borders. Use extreme caution when using a scraping tool, especially on the wet wallpaper borders on a drywall. If this technique does not remove the borders satisfactorily, then it is time to use the steaming process.

The Steam Bath – This is required if the wallpaper borders do not come off easily, if this wallpaper has been glued onto another wallpaper underneath, or if it has been painted over. Using a wallpaper steamer will ensure that you do not damage the wall underneath. You can either buy, or rent, the steamer. The hotplate of the steamer is attached to a water reservoir, which heats the water and directs the steam directly to the wallpaper through a hose. You can use the hose directing the steam, and the scraper, simultaneously.

The above techniques show you how to remove wallpaper borders, which when used even on the most stubborn wallpaper borders are successful.

Thelma Anderson

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