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Help, Please - Removing Wallpaper Border

Started 1341968486.57 in For the Home Talk | Last reply 1342147793.35 by Nightowlz

I'm having an awful time removing wallpaper border. It's supposed to be stripable, but I'd swear it's up with super glue! I've tried scoring it and using vinegar water, but it's very slow going. I've used DIF in the past so I'll try to get some of that tomorrow. I really don't want the expense of renting a steamer, if I can help it.

Any ideas?


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hgsuddle1341968690.687107 PostsRegistered 6/27/2006Mason OH

I have had luck with liquid fabric softener and warm water mixed together. Soak the wallpaper/border well. Let it sit a little while to soak and then start scraping. Good luck.

autumnfaire1341968834.8235171 PostsRegistered 8/1/2005

Get a flat edged scraper and work it under the seam rather than scoring it--should come off fairly easily.

susan kay1341969385.58993 PostsRegistered 6/28/2011

I will be removing wallpaper from my entry way, dining room and kitchen within the next few weeks so I feel your pain. Is your water very, very warm. Let the liquid "sit" for 10-20 minutes before you start removing. I'm going to be using a chamois, in addition to a squirt type bottle to put the liquid on my wallpaper to make sure that I get every inch wet. See if you can find an edge that will let you peel off a good amount of border. Then, you'll need a larger end putty-type knife to help scrape off the remnants. This is a job, isn't it!!!! Good luck.

arrianna1341971819.4675072 PostsRegistered 10/20/2010

dif worked for us.

Gigikiwi1341972238.1531552 PostsRegistered 12/13/2007

Spray with hot water, wait ten or fifteen minutes, do it again, do the samething a third time. Then pull it off.

57babe1341972778.448638 PostsRegistered 8/21/2010

If the wallpaper border was a pre-glued one, they are almost impossible to remove.

The glue used on these pre-glued wallpaper borders is much like Super Glue because many of them were designed to be used in kids rooms and the manufacturer wanted them to stick FOREVER & EVER (Amen.)

I'm betting it will not come off with conventional methods.

Try using acetone on the glue and scrape off as much as you can. Then let it dry and sand it smooth.

If you're married, ask your husband to help you -- it's a grueling job -- been there and done that.

Hope this helps. Take care. :)

Claudia1341974123.077357 PostsRegistered 8/11/2005Oklahoma City

I do not agree they are almost impossible to remove. All borders are pre-glued and I have done exactly what the other posters have said, just some warm water and let it soak and it comes off fairly easily. Using acetone sounds awful and sanding it totally unnecessary. Don't be dismayed and do try the fabric softener technique and it will come off fairly easily.


cheaptochic1341975185.8731383 PostsRegistered 2/9/2008NJ

I've been there & done that also, but alot depends on how it was put up. If not over primer & just on drywall it is much more difficult to remove. I've found scoring with that wheeled tool, then lots of spraying with vinegar & water & letting it set a bit, then scraping off. The more you saturate & work in smaller sections the better. Persistence pays off, but it is not fun.

57babe1341975204.3338638 PostsRegistered 8/21/2010
On 7/10/2012 Claudia said:

I do not agree they are almost impossible to remove. All borders are pre-glued and I have done exactly what the other posters have said, just some warm water and let it soak and it comes off fairly easily. Using acetone sounds awful and sanding it totally unnecessary. Don't be dismayed and do try the fabric softener technique and it will come off fairly easily.

I guess I should have went into more detail.

Regular wallpaper borders are pre-glued and one dips them in water or adds thier own wallpaper glue if one wishes. Regular wallpaper borders and wallpaper glue breaks down with DIF or other conventional strippers. This job is tedious and time consuming, but not impossible.

But there is one type of wallpaper border that has a glue backing that is impervious to conventional wallpaper strippers and that is what I was referring to.

The pre-glued, self-sticking borders with the pull-off backing are almost impossible to get off. This type of wallpaper border may require using acetone to break down the SUPER type GLUE used on this particular (usually kids room ) wallpaper border.

If the OP has this type of wallpaper border, she can use every type of conventional wallpaper stripper on the market and the glue will not break down.

Just giving the OP a heads up in case she has encountered one of these tacky, (pun intended) impossible to remove wallpaper borders.

In that case, she can use acetone to break down the glue, scrape off as much as she can, let it dry and then sand it smooth.

Last edited on 7/10/2012

Last edited on 7/10/2012

JeanLouise­Finch1341992306.8812960 PostsRegistered 10/3/2011

Thanks for the input.

This isn't my first time at this, I've removed wallpaper and border tons of times over the past 30 yrs. This border is the preglued, strippable type that you just wet and hang, but my understanding for "strippable" means you can pull of the top layer and the backing will remain on the wall. Then you use your wet treatement (DIF, vinegar water, hot/warm water) to saturate the backing, let it sit a couple of minutes, and scrape off with ease. Believe it or not, I've actually had a number jobs that went that smoothly. This paper is in a bathroom that's been painted probably five or six different times, so no unpainted drywall in there. My husband is currently out of the country on business so I'm kind of flying solo here. This redecorating job sort of came up all of a sudden. I'm not telling him and we'll see if he notices when he gets home this weekend. Wink Anyway, I can't find my Paper Tiger (scoring tool), but I'm headed up to the hardware store as soon as the open at 8AM and will pick up another one along with some DIF and rubber gloves (going to wash the walls with TSP before the paint goes on). I've had success with DIF before, but I also have some liquid fabric softener in the house so I might give that a whirl, too. Keep your fingers crossed that something will work. I'm glad it's just a small bathroom that I'm dealing with and not anything bigger than that! I think I'm swearing off border from now on. I still have it up in a couple other rooms, but when we redecorate those...no more border for me!

Thanks again. I'll report back later and let you know what method finally worked.

JeanLouise­Finch1342141702.79312960 PostsRegistered 10/3/2011

Whew, what a rigmarole! Diluted vinegar did nothing. Diluted fabric softener did nothing. Even though I said I didn't want to rent one, I felt my back was up against the wall so I "opened" the Home Depot store yesterday morning and bought a Wagner steamer and some DIF. When I weighed the cost of renting vs. buying, I figured it was better in the long run if I just bought the dumb thing. So I got started steaming and it worked really well at getting the top layer off, but that bottom layer, holy moly it felt like it was on with Liquid Nails! I moved on to the DIF and that got off a significant amount of the backing paper, but there were spots all along the top of the wall where it didn't come off no matter how much I scraped. Today I started sanding, hoping the spots would level off with the wall, but I still wasn't so sure the spots wouldn't be seen through the new paint. I made a bucket of TSP wall washing stuff. Would you believe, I went over those spot, left them alone while I moved to another section of wall. Then I went back to the first section and as I wiped again, I was getting little bits of paper remnants on my rag! Yes! So, I'm a solid believer if DIF. It's the tried and true method for me. I'm returning the steamer.

skylark1342143071.61767 PostsRegistered 10/1/2010

Justme, I feel your pain, sister. I removed wallpaper in my diningroom and a border in our guest room within the last couple of years and MY LORD what a looong nightmare. I used fabric softener,messy slippery yuk. Took me so long and so much hard work the very thought of wallpaper makes me cringe. Hope it gets better for you soon.

There is a natural comfort in the company of creatures.

momtodogs1342143269.6634338 PostsRegistered 9/20/2006

I used a steamer on hard to remove paper....just be sure to put a cloth on the floor, my steamer dripped quite a bit!

flickerbulb1342145297.521660 PostsRegistered 1/2/2005

I bought a small steamer to take off border. Worked like a charm! Bought it at BBB.

Nightowlz1342147793.3510550 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Buy a Paper Tiger scoring tool & some DIF from Lowe's. After you score the wallpaper spray with DIF & it will get behind the wallpaper & loosen the glue.

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