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New wall coverings can transform a room, taking it from boring to beautiful. But before you can determine the best approach to removing your old wallpaper, you need to know the type of wall covering and the type of wall surface that's underneath. The cost of removing old wallpaper depends on a number of different factors
What kind of walls do you have?
In most cases, walls are either drywall or plaster. You can usually tell what you have by the feel (plaster is harder, colder, and smoother than drywall) or by tapping on it (drywall sounds hollow, and plaster doesn't). When in doubt, remove an outlet cover to see the exposed edges.
It is important to know what type of wall you have, since drywall is more susceptible to water damage. So before determining the best way to remove wall coverings it is important to know how much moisture your walls can take. Since the cost of wallpaper removal is largely dependent on the time that it takes, the type of walls that you have are important.
What kind of wall covering do you have?
You may be lucky and have dry strippable paper. This makes removal very simple, faster and cheaper! If you can peel a small corner of your wall covering and peel it back easily, then you have dry strippable wall coverings and removal will be fast and easy. If the wall covering doesn't come off, or if only the top coating comes off, then you will need more invasive removal techniques
Wall covering removal techniques: Dry-stripping
If wallpaper is dry-strippable, you just need to loosen each strip at the corners with a putty knife and slowly peel it back at a 10- to 15-degree angle. Don't pull the wallpaper straight out or you may damage the underlying surface, especially if it's drywall. Dry strippable wallpaper will be the most affordable to have removed.
Wall covering removal techniques: Soaking and scraping it off
For non dry strippable wall coverings the surface can be soaked with warm water and wall paper solvent and then peeled off in a similar manner. If you have drywall, it is important that the wall not be soaked with water.
Wall covering removal techniques: Steaming it off
If you must remove more than one layer of wall-paper or remove wallpaper that has been painted over. And if the wallpaper was not applied to a properly sealed surface, removing it without damaging the wall can be next to impossible. For these tough jobs a wallpaper steamer is necessary.
Although you can use a steamer and wallpaper scraper with relative confidence on plaster walls, use caution on drywall, which is much more vulnerable to water damage and is more easily gouged.
Each of these types of wallpaper removal will take different lengths of time. Most professionals would charge by the hour for this type of job and should be able to quote an estimated price ahead of time based on the size of the room and the type of paper being removed.
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