If old paper requires stripping, this should be removed before any other work is carried out. Many old vinyl papers are easily stripped by simply peeling them off, having lifted a corner with the aid of a stripping knife. Some people say you can leave the backing paper behind as a lining – but DON’T.This rarely works, and when it doesn’t it actually puts you back a couple of steps, wasting your time and effort.
When working with water or steam, be sure to turn off the power to the electrical items in the room to guard against electric shock. Be careful not to allow water to access electrical items.
Easy to strip papers
To strip ordinary wallpapers, soak the surface with warm soapy water or a paper stripping liquid.
This can be applied using a decorator’s sponge (which holds a lot more than a cheap one) or a brush.
Leave the paper to soak for a good ten minutes or so before scraping a little to see how much it has loosened.
Difficult to strip papers
If it is still hard work, give it a second soak.
Only soak as much as can be removed before it has dried out, otherwise you’re back to square one.
If you can afford the cost of hiring a steam stripper, you can reckon on halving the time it takes to get the paper off, and reducing the number of blisters on your hands.
How to score the surface of wallpaper
Stubborn papers, and those coated with layers of paint, will need to be scored first to allow the steam or soapy water to get through to the adhesive. A simple block of wood with nails set in it protruding by a few mm makes a fast job of scoring the surface.
You can buy wallpaper perforators, which have a series of spikes on rollers. These are rolled across the surface producing thousands of tiny holes. When you hire a steamer, which I would strongly recommend for stubborn papers, you can also hire a perforator for a few pounds more. This will be of industrial quality and make light work of the process.