How Long Does It Take to Remove Wallpaper?

Wallpaper goes in and out of fashion, but it's often used as a way to make a dramatic statement in the home or to cover up a wall that might otherwise need some serious repairs. While it does a good job at what it's supposed to do, it can be a little more tricky to deal with when you decide it's time for a change.

One common question that halts homeowners in their tracks is: how long does it take to remove wallpaper? The short answer is, it depends. The long answer? Keep reading.

How Long Does It Take to Remove Wallpaper?

There are many factors at play when it comes to wall paper removal including the age of the wallpaper, its type, and the condition of the wall surface underneath. On average, it takes about a day to strip the walls of a small bedroom, but here are a few factors that could stretch that timeline:

  • Age. Newer wallpapers installed in the last few years are typically easy to remove. Older wallpapers are often a different story. Removal is not only more difficult, but it's a messy job that requires a lot of cleanup. In many cases, removing older wallpaper damages the wall underneath, and time must be taken to repair the surface to achieve the proper finish.
  • Type. Most people think of simple sheets of wallpaper, but it comes in many forms. For example, woodchip wallpaper, made by trapping small bits of wood during the manufacturing process, is more difficult to remove and more likely to leave behind damaged walls. Wallpapers can also be made from vinyl, foil, or natural fibers and each come with their own challenges.
  • Wall Surface. Some wallpapers--especially those with texture--are designed to cover existing imperfections on the wall and may be a sign that there are wall repairs ahead. It can also be a bigger job to remove wallpaper from plaster walls when compared to drywall. Plaster walls were the norm until about 1935 so modern homes are unlikely to have them.

What Type of Wallpaper Do I Have?

One way to tell what type of wallpaper you have is to lift a corner and give it a tug. If it lifts easily, it's a good sign that the removal project won't be too bad. If the paper tears, it's likely to be a simple paper rather than a vinyl or finished product and a more straightforward removal project. If it seems to want to stay in whole sheets or if only a decorative surface layer peels off, removal is likely to be more difficult.

Another test is to see whether the wallpaper is porous or not. Porous papers will absorb water (and removal products) easily and are likely to be easier to remove. Spray a small area with hot water. If the paper absorbs the water immediately, it is porous. If the water beads and does not absorb, it's probably a vinyl, acrylic, or other finish and removal will require perforating or roughening the surface, so removal products can penetrate down to the adhesive layer.

Professional Help

The easiest way to tackle a wallpaper removal project is to get help! The experts at Five Star Painting have seen it all and have the tools and experience to remove any type of wallpaper and to repair any damage so your walls are like new again. To learn more, contact us today!

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