How to Remove Wallpaper and Repair Damaged Drywall

Updated on April 4, 2019
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I love using my years of experience operating a small construction company to help guide people in completing their own DIY home projects.

This tutorial will guide you through the wallpaper removal process and help you repair any damages to your drywall that you might sustain along the way.
This tutorial will guide you through the wallpaper removal process and help you repair any damages to your drywall that you might sustain along the way.

Removing wallpaper and its borders is a tedious process. There are several techniques for removing wallpaper, none of which are fun. And if your walls were not properly sized before the wallpaper was installed, this removal process can become even more difficult. Oftentimes, you will find several layers of wallpaper installed on drywall, which in turn makes it exceedingly difficult (sometimes impossible) to remove these layers without damaging the drywall in some way.

But with the help of this guide, you should at least be able to thoroughly remove all of the layers of wallpaper and repair any damage sustained to your drywall.

How to Pull Off Wallpaper Cleanly

Begin by pulling a corner of the wallpaper to see if it pulls off easily. Sometimes the top layer of the wallpaper will pull off cleanly, leaving a paper backing behind.

If this is the case, spray the paper left behind with a spritzer. I have found that adding ammonia or a Windex-type solution helps to dissolve the glue on the wallpaper.

Let the paper sit damp for a minute or two, then take a putty knife and scrape the wallpaper off.

Loosen the Glue Backing

If the wallpaper will not pull off easily, use a scorer tool. This handy instrument has small wheels that poke tiny holes in the wallpaper as you run the wheel across it in a circular fashion. These small holes will allow water or steam to penetrate the wallpaper and loosen the glue backing.

After scoring the wallpaper, spray it with water or use a steamer to loosen the glue. Pull off any loosened pieces of wallpaper, and keep applying moisture until you are able to remove all traces of wallpaper.

This picture shows various kinds of damage to drywall, including the common fuzzy, brown variety that often occurs due to sloppy wallpaper removal.
This picture shows various kinds of damage to drywall, including the common fuzzy, brown variety that often occurs due to sloppy wallpaper removal. | Source

How to Repair Damages to Drywall

Inevitably, you are bound to gouge the drywall or pull the white paper from the drywall itself, as shown in the picture above. Don't fret. The drywall can be repaired very simply.

When the drywall's paper covering has been damaged, the underlying result will be brown, fuzzy fibers. These fibers need to be sealed. Without sealing the fibers, the drywall will bubble up when drywall compound is applied.

Seal the Fibers

Simply paint a clear varnish on any brown, fuzzy parts of the drywall. Alternatively, you could use a surface sealer product like Gardz by Zinsser.

Once the varnish or sealer has dried, use a sanding block to lightly sand the area and remove loose bits. A sanding block can be found in the paint or drywall department of your local hardware store.

Apply Drywall Compound

Once the brown, fuzzy parts have been sealed, you are ready to apply drywall compound. Smooth the drywall compound into any damaged areas using a putty knife. Allow the areas to dry.

After the areas have dried, sand them again with your sanding block. When you think you've completed your sanding, run your hand over the area. If the area is not smooth enough, apply more compound, allow to dry, and sand again.

Wash and Prime the Wall

Once all of the above steps have been completed, it would be a good idea to wash the glue from the wall. After the cleaning is done, you can prime, or paint, the wall with Gardz before applying your new finish.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    • AllSuretyBonds profile image


      9 years ago

      Great Hub. Great idea. I have used a scorer tool once and it works great!

    • Ellen_C profile image


      9 years ago

      Good idea I might consider giving this a try!!!


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