How to Remove Wallpaper Border

Wall paper scraper

Learning techniques on how to remove wallpaper borders can make room renovations easier. Scraping away wallpaper can sometimes be difficult without ruining the paint finish on the wall. Fortunately, there are some techniques that make it easier to remove wallpaper borders and protect the walls.

About Wallpaper Border Removal

Wallpaper borders are an easy and affordable way to add beauty to a room and create unique wallpaper designs. These types of wall embellishments have never gone out of style.

Most wallpaper borders are 21 inches wide and 20 to 30 inches long, but some designs come in narrower or wider styles. Modern wallpaper borders are often self-adhesive but people sometimes add additional wallpaper adhesives to keep borders in place for years.

Wallpaper borders are designed to be loosened when wet. If a wallpaper border is attached to a wall without any additional adhesives, it will be easier to remove after using water. However, the use of additional wallpaper adhesives requires more removal methods to completely get rid of the border without harming the wall.

Wallpaper Border Removal Techniques

Removing wallpaper borders is similar to removing regular wallpaper. A small wallpaper border can sometimes be as stubborn as a full sheet of wallpaper in terms of paper and adhesive residue. Wallpaper border removal techniques include:

  • Wetting the wallpaper border with water and then removing the border with a wallpaper scraper
  • Applying a commercial wallpaper adhesive remover and scraping or wiping the border away
  • Using a solution of white vinegar and water to loosen the wallpaper border and scraping the wallpaper
  • Steaming the wallpaper borders with a clothes steamer to loosen the adhesive and scrape away the wallpaper
  • Mixing a solution of fabric softener and water to loosen the wallpaper border and then following with scraping

Necessary Supplies for Wallpaper Border Removal

The types of supplies generally needed to remove wallpaper depend upon the method of removal. However, there are certain supplies that every wallpaper border removal method requires, such as the following:

  • Plastic wallpaper scraper (metal ones may be too harsh on the wall)
  • Sponge
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spray bottle of water for moistening the wallpaper borders
  • Covering for floor to catch drips and bits of wallpaper
  • Towel to wipe away drips

Instructions for How to Remove Wallpaper Borders

Here are instructions for five wallpaper border removal techniques.

Water Only Technique

The water only wallpaper border technique only works if the border is old and falling off, or no additional adhesive was applied to the pre-pasted border.

  1. Moisten the wallpaper border with water and let the water sink in for five minutes.
  2. Starting at the edges of the border, gently detach the wallpaper border with a scraper. Work in small sections.
  3. Soak any stubborn wallpaper sections with more water and then scrape away the border.
  4. Clean any adhesive residue with a wet sponge and then dry the wall with a towel.

Vinegar and Water Technique

A vinegar solution is an effective home remedy for removing wallpaper borders that may be gentler on the wall than a commercial wallpaper removal product. Vinegar dissolves adhesive and makes the wallpaper easier to scrape away.

  1. Mix one cup of white vinegar with a gallon of warm water.
  2. Spray the vinegar solution onto the borders. Let sit for up to five minutes.
  3. Loosen the borders with the scraper and peel away the wallpaper in sections, if possible.
  4. After removing the borders, use more of the vinegar solution to clean the walls.
  5. Rinse away vinegar with clean water. Dry the clean wall with a towel.

Wallpaper Removal Solution Technique

Commercial wallpaper removal solutions come with directions. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Here are some additional tips for using commercial wallpaper removers:

  1. Wet the border with water first before applying the commercial wallpaper remover, unless otherwise instructed by the manufacturer.
  2. After scraping, wipe away all border and adhesive residue with water. This also rinses away the remover.
  3. It may be necessary to wash the wall further with a mild detergent to completely clean the wall of residue from the wallpaper borders and wallpaper remover solution.

Fabric Softener Wallpaper Removal Technique

Fabric softener can also make it easier to remove wallpaper borders. It loosens the adhesive and makes the wallpaper slippery and pliable.

  1. Combine 1/2 cup of fabric softener with 1 cup of warm water.
  2. Apply the fabric softener mixture to the wallpaper border either in a spray bottle or with a wet sponge.
  3. After five minutes, begin at border edges and peel away the wallpaper. Use a scraper to loosen sections of wallpaper.
  4. Clean the walls with a mild detergent to remove fabric softener and wallpaper border residue. Dry the wall when clean.

Steaming Technique

A clothes steamer can make wallpaper border removal much easier because steaming can sometimes cause the wallpaper to cleanly separate from the wall. The successful use of a steamer to remove wallpaper borders requires very little scraping.

  1. Prepare steamer and then gradually steam small sections of wallpaper.
  2. As the paper loosens, use a scraper to ease the border from the wall.
  3. Steam any stubborn wallpaper border pieces again and scrape as necessary.
  4. Wipe the wall with water to clean away residue and dry the wall with a towel.

Learning different methods for how to remove wallpaper borders makes wallpaper projects seem less intimidating. With the ease of wallpaper border removal and installation, room decorating can be easy and affordable.

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