Prior to painting the kitchen, I needed to determine how to remove wallpaper border. Our wallpaper steamer was packed away somewhere. Since this seemed like a relatively small job, I decided to go about it using a scraper and Zinsser DIF Gel Wallpaper Stripper. Through trial and error, I discovered a few tips that made the job easier as I went along:
How to Remove Wallpaper Border: 5 Important Tips
1. Score the wallpaper really well before applying the wallpaper stripper.
When I started out, I had only purchased the wallpaper gel. Zinsser makes a good product:
When considering how to remove wallpaper border, I didn't consider the need to score the paper. Scoring the wallpaper means scraping a sharp edge on it to break through the surface, which allows the gel to soak in better. Unfortunately, the job took a little longer because the first part of the wallpaper border that I sprayed the stripper gel on didn't have any scoring in it. Some of the border came off easily (mostly the parts along the lower edge), but most of it required quite a bit of scraping and it damaged the wall a little bit. Fortunately I had only tested my method on a small section of the kitchen. Knowing I needed a better technique, I went back to the building supply store. I purchased a round wallpaper scoring tool that made it much easier to score the entire surface, allowing more of the wallpaper stripper gel to soak in and do its job.
2. Saturate the wallpaper with the spray gell and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
I was anxious to get going and kept trying to scrape the paper every few minutes after applying the gel. Trying too soon really wasn't productive at all. It truly does take 15-20 minutes for the gel to begin to work. In figuring out how to remove wallpaper border, I learned that this job requires patience!
3. Spray more gel on stubborn spots.
Don't scrape really hard at the wall, as you'll end up damaging it like I did in a few places. Damage to the wall results in extra repairs. Instead, spray more of the gel onto the stubborn spots and wait another 15-20 minutes.
4. Don't wait very long to clean the wall afterward.
Once the Zinsser DIF Gel Wallpaper Stripper dries on the wall, it is hard to remove during the clean-up. I tried cleaning the wall mid-way through while the gel was applied, but more of it kept dripping down the wall. After experimenting, I found that the most efficient way to do the job was to scrape the wallpaper after 15-20 minutes, and then immediately wipe the entire wall down with a sponge. A sponge worked better than a rag for removing the stubborn, partially-dried gel from the wall.
5. Be sure to wipe off any remaining glue and paper.
The sponge also worked better than a rag at removing the remaining glue and paper from the wall after the scraping was completed. It's important to remove the glue and paper entirely. If any is left, it may cause future paint to crack and peel.
Since I removed the wallpaper border in sections, I was able to fine-tune my process as I went along. By the time I had completed the job, the very last section was the cleanest and easiest to remove. I thought I'd pass these tips along, so that when you are looking into how to remove wallpaper border, hopefully the job will go much quicker for you!
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