Removing Very Old Wallpaper Banner

Renovating a house that’s been around for ages comes with its own set of unique challenges, one of which may include removing very old wallpaperWallpaper removal can seem daunting, but with the proper tools and techniques, it can become a manageable DIY project. This blog aims to guide you on how to remove wallpaper, focusing specifically on older, stubborn wallpapers that require extra care and attention.

How Do Professionals Remove Wallpaper

Removing very old wallpaper is a great way to redo your home and give it a more up-to-date look. It can be a very messy process if you are doing it independently. Learning the costs of such a project is essential, especially if you are planning on hiring professional painters to do the job for you. In a DIY project, removing very old wallpaper is the most frustrating! This is because of all the preparation and the fact that it can get messy. Fear not, though. We will discuss how to remove wallpaper and the costs associated with such a project. 

Understand Your Wallpaper

Firstly, it’s critical to determine the type of wallpaper you’re dealing with. Due to repeated renovations, older residences might have various types ranging from vinyl, traditional, pre-pasted, or even several layers of paper. This step is crucial as it determines the removal method to be used.

Safety Precautions

When dealing with old wallpaper, it’s essential to take safety precautions seriously:

  • Always wear protective clothing, including safety glasses and gloves, to protect from potential dust or mould exposure.
  • Ensure the room is well-ventilated, and keep windows and doors open where possible.
  • Always test the wallpaper for asbestos before removal from very old properties since asbestos was widely used in wall coverings and adhesives up until the 1980s.

Materials to Use for Removing Very Old Wallpaper

Here is a list of the materials you will need to remove very old wallpaper.

  • Drop cloth
  • Putty knife
  • Razor knife
  • Bucket
  • Paint scraper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Safety goggles
  • Sandpaper or wallpaper scoring tool
  • Hot water
  • Liquid stripper concentrate
  • Steamer or pressure washer
  • Fabric softener or vinegar

Wallpaper Removal and Clean up with Home Painters Toronto

Protect Yourself

It is a natural feeling to want to start doing your work right away, but preparation is vital. The same thing goes for removing wallpaper.

Before beginning that process, you must protect your floor from unnecessary damage. Since you’ll spray water on your walls during the wallpaper removal, use a painter’s plastic tarp on the floor with the painter’s tape securing it.

In addition, covering all your electrical outlets present is of utmost importance. Leave the outlet cover and protect that area with painter’s tape.

When the wallpaper is removed, return to the outlet and remove the pieces under the outlet cover. 

Working Hard for a New Makeover

You must apply a hot water solution to make the wallpaper removal easier. Most wallpaper, except vinyl papers, are more soluble than others because they repel water.  To prepare for any situation, you should invest in some inexpensive wallpaper scoring tool. A wallpaper scoring tool will slightly enter the wallpaper’s outside layer, allowing the hot water solution to probe into the adhesive.

This will also begin loosening the wallpaper hold on the wall. Lightly run the scoring tool on the entire wall. It is vital not to exert too much pressure if the scoring tool makes a hole through the paper and into the plaster.  This will cause you to encourage even more energy in fixing the mistake rather than removing very old wallpaper, which is the primary goal.

Wallpaper Removal Prep Spraying Wallpaper With Water
Painter Removing Wallpaper

Mix the Hot Water Solution

Once you have run the wallpaper scoring tool over the entire surface, apply the hot water solution. Two types of homemade wallpaper removal situations can make this process a whole lot easier for you:

  • Solution #1: 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 hot water
  • Solution #2: 1/4 fabric softener to 3/4 hot water

Although both solutions will work for your wallpaper removal process, hot water is the key ingredient.

Regardless of what solution you choose, mix the hot water using a kettle or tap water in a household pressure sprayer. With your electrical outlets and floor protection, you can begin wetting the walls. You should wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from potentially being hit with water.

Also, have a garbage can nearby so that when the wallpaper pieces start peeling, you can place it directly in there. Small preparation stuff like that can help you save valuable time on cleanup tasks. Lastly, when all the pieces fall slowly, your painter’s trap will catch them, making your cleanup process even more accessible.

Scrape off Wallpaper

Now is the time to apply hot water solution to your intended surface with your pressure sprayer. You should wait two to three minutes for the solution to work successfully for the best results. Then, place your scraper in the corner of the wet wallpaper off in sheets. When large pieces come falling off, keep your garbage can handy. Continue working the entire surface while damp. Don’t be alarmed when some pieces of wallpaper dry up, making it difficult to take off. Just ignore it for now and focus on the wetter pieces. When most of the wet paper is removed, repeat the process so all the paper is entirely handled. You should follow this process: spray, wait, and scrape. 

Painter Scraping Old Wallpaper

Wallpaper Removal Cost

It is pretty challenging to estimate the cost of wallpaper removal because it depends heavily on the condition of your wallpaper and walls. Generally speaking, though, a simple removal can cost you $3-$5 per square foot. Most professional contractors, however, have a minimum fee for home renovation projects. At Home Painters Toronto, the minimum is $1,200

Wallpaper Removal – What’s The Process?

Redo Your Bathroom

Now that you’ve finished working on the walls in your living room or hallway, you can probably work on your bathroom. Rather kill two birds with one stone, right? Maybe you need ceiling repairs? A new paint for your bathroom? The best thing is to prepare and research! Is this work you can do alone, or will you need the help of professional painters? Whichever route you decide to take, new trends are constantly rising! The choices are endless, depending on your particular style and personality!


Removing very old wallpaper can be seen as a tedious task, but with the correct tools and patience, it’s not only doable but can lead to an incredibly satisfying result. Remember, transforming your living space is always worth the effort!

If you’re in Toronto and you’ve struggled with impossible wallpaper removal that’s beyond a quick fix, don’t worry – all is not lost! Immerse yourself in the ocean of possibilities that ‘Home Painters Toronto’ offers.

With a wealth of combined experience in wallpaper removal, wallpaper installation, and painting, we’re here to turn your renovation dreams into a reality.

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Ready to say goodbye to your old wallpaper and hello to a magnificent transformation? Reach out to the Home Painters Toronto today, and let us surpass your expectations! Call 416.494.9095 or email for a FREE quote. And don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels below!