How to Remove Wallpaper Border

Simple Tips for Removing Wallpaper Borders

By Mark J. Donovan

Wallpaper borders are a great way to accent a room, but unfortunately over time they either become outdated or begin to peel away from the walls. When either of these two events occur it is time to remove the wallpaper border and either replace it or repaint the walls. Removing wallpaper border can be tedious and messy work, however with just a few simple tools and some time and patience you can remove wall paper fairly easily.

Described below are some tips on how to remove wallpaper border. Warning: Removing wallpaper border is dusty and messy work. In addition, liquid wallpaper removal solutions can have fumes that may irritate your sinuses and lungs. Consequently work in a well-ventilated area and wear eye protection, proper clothing and gloves.

Removing Wallpaper Border Tools

To remove wallpaper border you will need a spray bottle filled with warm water, a 2” to 4”scraping knife, and a rag. As an alternative to the spray bottle you can also use a sponge and a bucket of warm water.

How to Remove Wallpaper Border Step 1 in removing wallpaper border.

How to Remove Wallpaper Border

The first step in removing wallpaper border is to remove all wall hangings from the walls, as well as furniture from the room. Removing wallpaper border is a messy job.

The next step in removing wallpaper border is to remove the wallpaper border’s vinyl covering. Sometimes there are loose edges that you can pull large chunks off using just your fingers.

Other times you may first need to score the wallpaper border with your scraping knife. There are also specific tools you can buy to score the wallpaper border.

Scraping off old wallpaper border. Removed wallpaper border.


Once you have removed the vinyl covering from the wallpaper border, use your spray bottle and warm water to soak the remaining paper on the wall. There are also commercial liquid wallpaper removal solutions available that you can spray on to help remove the paper and glue.

After spraying the water or solution onto the paper, allow it to soak in a few minutes so that it fully penetrates the paper.

Once the water or wallpaper removal solution has penetrated and saturated the paper, use your scraping knife to scrap upwards to remove the paper and glue from the wall. The glue may be a little more difficult to remove. If you experience this situation, apply additional water or solution to the glue, and use a little more elbow grease to remove the glue.

After removing the wallpaper border and as much of the glue as possible, wash the walls with warm water and a rag or sponge. Make sure you rinse the rag or sponge frequently so that you can remove as much of the glue from the walls as possible.

After the walls have thoroughly dried, sand the walls with a fine grit sandpaper to remove any residual wallpaper border glue.

Installing New Wallpaper Border or Painting Walls

If you are going to replace the wallpaper border you are now at the stage where you can apply new wallpaper border.

If you intend to paint the walls instead, first prime the walls with an oil based primer so any residual glue that may still be on the wall will not bleed through the paint.

Finally, lightly sand the primer before applying finish coats of paint.

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