Wallpaper Removal – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!


If you have kept up with my activities lately you know I have mostly been painting, painting, painting. Pretty much the entire house is getting a new coat of paint. This week I reached the rooms that needed a little prep work before painting could start, i.e. removing the wall paper border. The master bedroom and bathroom both have dark paint and wallpaper border that must go! Piranha

I’m excited to get the painting finished but have put of the wallpaper removal out of fear.  I have not removed wallpaper before and have heard horror stories so I decided to start with this Piranha Wallpaper Removal Kit (including video tutorial.) Basically a scoring tool to perforate the paper, a liquid paste remover concentrate that you mix yourself, and a scraping tool. I started in the bathroom since I wasn’t sure how messy the spray would be.

I scored, I soaked (15 – 20 minutes is suggested)

wall paper

I peeled but did very little scraping.DSC08907

The border came off like a dream! This will be so easy, I will be painting by tomorrow! The whole bathroom only took about 45 minutes including soak time.


No more border and ready for paint. I’m heading to the bedroom to wrap this thing up!


You know the sound of screeching tires just before you crash into a wall? Insert that sound effect here! You knew this story was too good to be true didn’t you?

Notice in the picture above the strip of what looks like white paint along the ceiling where the wallpaper border was? That is actually a primer. If you ever,ever, ever hang wallpaper I can’t emphasize the importance of this step enough. For you and for the person who may hate your wallpaper in the years to come.  There are many articles out there on primer and what kinds to use but whatever you decide on just be sure you use one.

Here’s why: Wallpaper sticks to the paint on your walls which is most likely latex paint. Latex paint will soften into a rubbery film when in contact with wet wallpaper paste during the drying process.  This softening can compromise your wallpaper installation but even worse allow paste to travel all the way into the paper facing of your sheetrock making removal a giant pain in the butt. Wallcovering primers are designed to prevent the wallpaper paste from softening the latex paint on your wall. By keeping the paste on the surface of your wall you ensure easy removal later and prevent ripped up holes in your sheetrock from the process. You also prevent damage to you children’s ears from the string of profanities that spew forth when destroy your sheetrock trying to remove said wallpaper.

Let me give you a little taste of what that looks like.


Here’s where you can apply more sound effects, screeching tires, profanities, horrified gasps. I’ll let you decide…


An hour and a half of scraping and this is all I got done. Not even one wall finished, so I decide to watch the chapter of the video tutorial called “Difficult Wallpaper.” Basically it told me I was out of luck. I would have two choices, continue on and repair my now disfigured wall or give up and apply a new wallpaper border over the old.


Guys this is 2015 and I’m pretty sure I will NOT be applying a new wallpaper border!

Guess that means I have a lot of scraping  and repair work in my future.

If any one out there has some secret miracle recipe now’s the time to share. I beg of you, preserve my sanity and little children’s ears.


  1. Kyle says:

    My magic trick is Liquid Fabric Softener like Downy mixed with warm water, spray bottle, let it soak and it’ll come off so easily……and your rooms will smell fantastic!

    • Kyle, At this point I’m willing to give anything a try. Thanks for the tip, I’ll let you know if it’s a success.

      • Kyle says:

        Better yet, really hot water……..and it’s so much better for your life than those toxic chemicals!! Trust me it works! Just be patient with it……been there……

  2. Phyllis says:

    Came across this at the end of a post in 1999: As an owner of a circa 1904 home, I would like to offer another suggestion for any future wallpaper removal. QVC (online: iQVC) sells a product called “Wall wick”. It removed approximately 15 layers of wallpaper WITHOUT damaging one inch of plaster. Similarly, I was able to remove wallpaper from unprimed drywall WITHOUT tearing the drywall paper. Also, it is cheap,cheap,cheap! And then researched to see if it’s still available and found that it is at Lowe’s, HD, etc. and this link to what may/may not be the same product: http://www.simplestrip.com/

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