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How to strip wallpaper

How to strip wallpaper
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Part of our regular "How to" series, this article tells you how to strip a room.


Steam stripper (which you can hire or buy from DIY stores)


Dust sheets

Nylon abrasive pads


Wallpaper scorer

Plaster filler

Fine sandpaper


  1. Remove as much furniture from the room as possible and lay dust sheets around the area to be stripped to protect the floor.  Take down all pictures, mirrors etc.
  2. Take out all nails and picture hooks from the walls, and take down curtain rails and blinds.
  3. Then prepare the walls.  If you are using a steam stripper, score the walls with a paper scorer to allow the water and steam to work on the paper.  Don't press too hard or the walls will be damaged.   If you are not using a steam stripper, soak the walls with warm water and leave the paper to soften for twenty minutes before stripping.
  4. With a steam stripper work from top to bottom.  Hold the stripper on the wall for a few seconds, then lift the paper with a scraper.  With a scraper, work from bottom to top; simply create a lip, put the scraper underneath and gently prise the paper from the wall, being careful not to gouge the wall.
  5. When the paper has been removed there is likely to be some residue left on the walls.  Use soapy water and a nylon abrasive pad to remove.
  6. Once the walls are dry, go around the room with your filler and fill any holes left by screws, nails and picture hooks, and any gouges made when stripping.  By the time you have gone round the room filling you should be able to start back at the beginning with your fine sandpaper to smooth the filler. 

Your room is now ready for paper or paint.

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