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Removing wallpaper

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Remove furnishings and fittings before starting. If the room is carpeted and too difficult to remove, try to roll up the end where you are working to avoid splashing with water.

When working near a switch or plug socket, turn off the electricity if the switch is unscrewed to remove paper around it. Cover the floor area with a water proof material if possible, but make sure it is not going to make a slippery surface to work on as this could prove dangerous. Fill a bucket with warm water and a little detergent. Use a large sponge or cloth and soak an area of the wall. Remember that if the sponge is too wet, the floor will become unnecessarily wet.

Leave the surface to soak for a few minutes before testing with a scraper to see whether the paper has started to lift off the wall. It is often easier to start at a seam, where the water has a greater chance of penetrating the surface.

Try not to dig into the wall as this will remove plaster and spoil the surface, making more repairs necessary to the wall before redecorating. Angle the scraper and push it under the paper, loosening and removing sections.

It is necessary to continue soaking new areas and re-soaking other areas of the walls as you progress around the room. It does not help the process if the heating is switched on in the room, as the walls will tend to dry out before the surface is soaked.

If the wallpaper is already coated with emulsion, try scoring the surface with a knife to help the water penetrate under the paper surface. If the paper is very difficult to remove try using a steam stripper, which will concentrate a blast of steam onto the surface to be removed. Refer to Using a steam stripper for more details.

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