Help needed removing wallpaper

I have a high interior area above my stairs leading to the second floor and it is wallpapered...but the very top section has started sagging and pulling away from the ceiling wall. I need to do it myself if it is possible, so how in the world do you get wallpaper off of any surface? What is the proper way? I've found several ways on YouTube but I don't know which one is best. Thank you! I totally look forward to your daily posts. They make my mornings brighter and encourage me as I bought a house from an engineer but he used his skills at hiding faults in the house more than improving it. It has been a horribly daunting task just living here.Your Website gives me hope. I actually went out and purchased glass tiles and paint for my kitchen after reading so many posts on it, but I've still been too timid to start. Thanks again! Nita Harrison
  29 answers
  • Laura Bolin Nickell Laura Bolin Nickell on Feb 01, 2016
    I use a bucket of the hottest water you can stand with 3 or 4 capfulls of liquid fabric softener does the trick. Just rub the wallpaper down with a sponge, wait a minute or two to let it soak in, and peel. If it doesn't come off easy, just repeat the process. A spatula will help with rough patches. Hopes this helps! ☺️

  • I bought a fixer upper that they guy repaired it every time he drank. So you can imagine what I have been through LOL Hot water in a spray bottle. It sounds like he did not prep the walls properly so hot water may do the trick. I always start with the easiest and less messy way to do things. As Laura describes fabric softner works with hot water too and can be sprayed in a bottle too. put towels under and along trim and walls to catch spills. you soak the wall paper and in strips. it is a messy job and clean up with white vinegar to remove any residue when wallpaper is removed.

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    • Nita Harrison Nita Harrison on Feb 01, 2016
      P.S. Sorry about the 7 1/2 years! I am trying to get this house ready to sell and the thought of one moment longer than necessary and I would probably jump off a bridge. I haven't had one day off since I moved in. You were so kind with your encouragement and that helps immensely.

  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Feb 02, 2016
    Hi Nita. First, agree with the fabric softener suggestion. Second, I too know all too well about buying a fixer and the "issues" that ensue. AND the want/need to desperately get the he-- out if here. lol. As for being timid about your tile/paint, PLEASE, please give it a go! I am willing to bet that once you start, and make your first tile cut, you will have a good laugh WITH yourself and wonder what exactly were you afraid of. I promise you it is such an easy thing to do. As for your high stairs, you can buy or rent a ladder that is made just for stairs. It allows you to use different levels as its adjustable. For my stairs I choose to purchase the one that resembles scaffolding. I put a piece of 3/4 ply on top so that my feet are not straddling a rung all day. But I guarantee for whatever your issue is, there is always a solution! If you need more help or encouragement or praise, just stop back by and we are all here to support one another!

  • Nadine Sheiness Nadine Sheiness on Feb 02, 2016
    My Little Steamer and a plastic scrapper. I was amazed at how quickly and easily it came off of a huge bedroom, ceiling too!

  • Mary Lou Mary Lou on Feb 02, 2016
    Yep, very hot water and liquid fabric softener. I tried spraying it but found sponging it on worked better. Let it sit for a minute or two and scrape. Repeat as needed. Messy but not difficult. I got a sealant to brush on the walls after I was done scraping and cleaning up. It came in a gallon can and will last me forever. It's very thin & you brush it on walls. Will dry clear and keep any bits you missed from coming thru when you paint the walls.

  • Ten2286398 Ten2286398 on Feb 02, 2016
    Saw a professional use one of those garden sprayers with the wand to spray their liquid all over the wall; then they stood from below and pulled up towards the top of the ceiling. It came off in long sheets. I think wetting it and timing it (not too soggy, not too dry) makes for easier removal.

  • Patricia Patricia on Feb 02, 2016
    hot water. sponge on so paper is wet. should come off in sheets. if the paper is or has a plastic coating on it, then i peal that off first before adding hot water. Good luck.

  • Sherry Fram Sherry Fram on Feb 02, 2016
    Steam or the fabric softener is the two methods that have worked for me.

  • Bernadette Tetle Bernadette Tetle on Feb 02, 2016
    Starting a new project can be scary, just remember this, it doesn't have to be perfect. If you start something and don't like it, rip it out and try again. My first project was tiling the back splash in my newly remodeled master bath. I watched a never ending list of how to videos before I started, but they difficult part was starting. It didn't come out "professional perfect " because I'm not a professional. I can say I was satisfied with the end result and that was all that was important to me. For your wall paper issue using a garden sprayer with fabric softener should work for you. If it is already pulling away from the wall, then process should be painless . Good luck to you😊

  • Louis Lieberman Louis Lieberman on Feb 02, 2016
    there are several ways to remove wallpaper lots of hot water applied with a thick paint brush u can use a steam iron or a steamer also a heat gun works well- it also depends on the kind of paste used

  • Nita Harrison Nita Harrison on Feb 02, 2016
    Thank you so much for your reply!!! Do you know if anything else has to be done to a wall after the paper is off but before the paint goes on?? I hope you don't mind me asking another question but I do so appreciate any and all help. Louis, thanks again. Nita

  • Samantha Jackson Samantha Jackson on Feb 02, 2016
    After the paper is removed, I wash the walls with vinegar water to dissolve any leftover glue, then use a good brand of primer before painting.

  • Rhonda Miller Rhonda Miller on Feb 02, 2016
    Score paper with wall paper score tool, Hot water and liquid softener together (i used the sprayer that is used for weed killer but had not been used) Your house will smell great. I peel first layer and then spray glue layer and use plastic scraper comes right off.

  • Rhonda Miller Rhonda Miller on Feb 02, 2016
    U van also pull off what is peeling and then google painting wallpaper. I had 3 layers in my kitchen I peeled 2 layers and caulked / sealed edges and use oil based paint. Worked great

  • KKAbsherwrites KKAbsherwrites on Feb 02, 2016
    I do what Rhonda does, but to remove any leftover adhesive and fabric softener, I wipe down with a sponge - car or wallpaper sponge - using white vinegar and water. The smell evaporates. Then I prime before painting.

  • Marianne Marianne on Feb 02, 2016
    I make sure the edges are sanded and then just put Kilz over it before painting. Has worked for me in the kitchen and bathroom for many years.

  • Debbie Kuhar Debbie Kuhar on Feb 03, 2016
    I delt with just border on my wall that I wanted to remove. Get a bucket, and all you need is fabric softener & sponge. Over the bucket, pour the fabric softner onto the sponge. Start to dab on walls, sections at a time. DO not use a sharp scraper. Some of the wall paper will bubble & you can peal it off with your hands

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    • Debbie Kuhar Debbie Kuhar on Feb 10, 2016
      @Nita Harrison hope it works out well for you .

  • Debbie Kuhar Debbie Kuhar on Feb 03, 2016
    Best of luck. Any fabric softener will do. I myself papered as my kitchen backsplash. I'll be working on that my self. I think you will be pretty well please. Glad that I can help

  • Rebecca Platt Rebecca Platt on Feb 04, 2016
    I've removed lots of wallpaper. It's the preparation of the wall afterwards. If you don't remove all the old adhesive, and get the walls smooth, your paint job will be awful. You may even have to sand the walls.

    • Nita Harrison Nita Harrison on Feb 04, 2016
      Thank You so much for your answer. It totally makes sense. I was just going to wash it down with dish soap and water or with steam and Fantastic or something like that. I totally appreciate your answer and expertise! Thank you again!!,

  • Pat Keadle Gougler Pat Keadle Gougler on Feb 05, 2016
    If the paper is smooth (not embossed) and down tight-no peeling, you can paint kilz over it and then paint. Saves a lot of work. If you have an edge, spackle and sand it smooth before painting.

  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Feb 05, 2016
    "The best way" is the way that works - this depends on what was put up, how may layers, if there is paint in there, and how competent was the job. The main answer is to rent some scaffolding to get up there (if a ladder isn't enough) and start trying different things. Water, prodect, scraping, steaming... whatever works, works.

  • Nita Harrison Nita Harrison on Feb 05, 2016
    Thanks for the reply but do you know if scaffolding works on stairs?

  • Nita Harrison Nita Harrison on Feb 09, 2016
    The problem itself was not resolved as my question was how to reach a very high ceiling in a stairwell that had a wallpapered ceiling. However, I'm sure that somehow this will get figured out although I haven't quite figured it out yet. The Hometalk community was very generous to reply. Thank you so much for your help!

  • Ellen Irvine Ellen Irvine on Feb 09, 2016
    When removing any non-embossed old wall paper I used two different methods that are fairly cheap and easy. One was using downy liquid softner and water (2 capfuls to 1quart of warm water) with a cloth or sponge wash the wall down let it sit for a few minutes and the wallpaper peels or scrapes off easy. The other method was 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. Spray on walls let sit for a few minutes and peel or scrape off easy. You still need to do a second wash down to get rid of any glue residue.

  • Nita Harrison Nita Harrison on Feb 11, 2016
    Thank you, Debbie.

  • 117135 117135 on Feb 13, 2016
    I use a 50/50 mixture of fabric softener and water. I score the wallpaper with the tool and spray the wallpaper with the fabric softener mix. Once the wallpaper is removed, I use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to clean the walls thoroughly to remove any left over glue. If the wallpaper is not coming off easily enough with the fabric softener mix, I use a steamer to moisten the wallpaper after2 it has been scored and sprayed with the fabric softener. I successfully removed 2 OLD and painted over with many layers of paint by doing the steamer, fabric softener method. It still took ALOT of elbow grease and hours, but it is gone and now has a fresh coat of paint. Good luck!

  • Nita Harrison Nita Harrison on Feb 23, 2016
    DeDe, thank you so much for your answer. My internet literally failed for a long while and Frontier just got it back on line. I am just about to start the wallpaper bombing so your reply was excellent. Thanks for a great tip and way to go! Nita

  • Kim Kim on Mar 08, 2016
    Unless you have two really tall and sturdy ladders, plus some wood slats to go across, you might want to leave it to professionals. You don't want to risk serious injury. I used a company here in Blairsville - one owner and he brought two guys w him to remove four layers of wallpaper in a guest bathroom. If you want his info, let me know.

  • Nita Harrison Nita Harrison on Mar 08, 2016
    Kim, thanks! I do need help because the wallpaper is on the ceiling of a very narrow stairwell so there is no way to put two ladders anywhere. I have one of those fancy fold in many directions ladders but even placing it on the stairwell or in any configuration is tricky. I've had just an awful time with Murphy contractors so I was avoiding them at all costs, i.e., five thousand dollars for a simple hot water installation; cutting a water pipe behind a wall and leaving it on a bathtub install......that kind of expensive, devastating thing. I am afraid a Murphy contractor would try and fall and sue me for a homeowners claim. It was the Blairsville Home Depot that finally got me a working hot water heater, and a Blairsville mechanic who is putting my car and truck back together after a couple of Murphy mechanics wrecked them mechanically. So, obviously, any Blairsville contactor's name you could give me would be a huge help! I am trying to redo my house to sell it so I can leave Murphy which has not been a pleasant journey here at all! Thank you so much for your generosity in replying and help. Nita H.