Does "strippable" wallpaper leave residue on the wall when removed?

by Rose/Miros

I rent. The landlord takes forever to respond to requests for redecoration of a semi-permanent type and I cannot stand the 50+ year old wallpaper in the bathroom any longer! When you remove "strippable" wallpaper, does the glue come off the wall too? Can the paper be reused with other glue? Reuse is not important, but I figured I'd ask when I'm typing. I got the wallpaper on sale!

There are also about a thousand small holes in the walls in every room because the previous tenant hung small shelves everywhere and ripped the anchors right out of the wall when she removed them. Again, I don't want to make any visual changes, although IMHO, spackle would look better than holes! Has someone invented a transparent patch yet?

  4 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jan 07, 2019

    The glue bonds the paper to the wall surface. The wallpaper will most likely come off in pieces that are not usable. If by some miracle it does, you can glue it back with wallpaper glue.

    There is a small residue left after removing wallpaper than can be washed away with warm, soapy water. I use Blue Dawn.

    If the holes are very small, you can fill them with white toothpaste for appearances. If it ripped anchors out I would think they aren't small holes and need to be filled with joint compound then smooth with a damp sponge.

  • Gk Gk on Jan 07, 2019

    Strippable wallpaper will leave a very thin white/cream/brown paper underlayer on the wall and there is glue underneath that. The first layer that is "strippable"--the pattern part you see--usually comes off in pieces and cannot be reused. You have to wet down the thin underlayer paper and pull or scrape it off the wall. You will then have to wash the glue off the wall. Normally the landlord is responsible for the holes in the walls and should have repaired them before you moved in.

    • Rose/Miros Rose/Miros on Jan 09, 2019

      There were 2 large holes that took him WEEKS to get fixed so the apartment would pass inspection; all the little ones were trivial in comparison. He was basically an absentee landlord. Things are actually better since he hired the property management company, but they don't know what the walls were like before I moved in. For all they know, the holes are my fault. They also won't give me permission to redecorate, so I'm stuck with 4 rooms with 50 year old wall paper and 2 rooms that are simply not to my taste.

  • Betty Albright-Bistrow Betty Albright-Bistrow on Jan 07, 2019

    Hi Rose! Yes there is always small flecks of paper and residue left after you remove the wallpaper but there are many ways to repair this!! Be prepared because it is a messy job & takes time to do it properly.

    This link is in case you decide NOT to take down the wallpaper and instead may want to try this:

    • Rose/Miros Rose/Miros on Jan 09, 2019

      I love the fabric idea for my bedroom! (More 50 year old wallpaper in there)

  • Lizbeth Lizbeth on Jan 09, 2019

    I don't think I'm reading your question the same way others are. It sounds like you are asking if you can put NEW strippable wallpaper you bought on sale over existing 50-yr-old wallpaper you don't like & safely remove it without damage to it or to the existing wallpaper when you leave this rental. If that's what you are asking, the answer is no. Sorry. The existing paper will be affected and the new wallpaper won't be reusuable.

    Ugly walls can be hidden under fabric hung from hooks. But my usual go-to hooks, Command hooks, will damage wallpaper too. Since it sounds like you might be held responsible for existing wall holes anyway, maybe use regular hooks in studs to hold lightweight fabric? I'm not sure what else to suggest if you have been denied permission to make decorating changes. (& most leases do prohibit that--the only point of negotiation is usually before the lease is signed.)