Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a patch of wallpaper in the middle of a wall I am trying to paint. Its only about 18 inches tall and 6 inches wide.

It doesn't seem to want to come off, I tried using a razor blade to take it off, but its on there too good.

I believe it to be very old, and it probably wasn't put on right (it was there when I moved in) I do not want to damage the wall... What would happen if I just painted right over it?

share|improve this question

You can rent a steamer to remove the wall paper. You might also try wetting it with a spray bottle and letting it soak. It will be tough to not damage the drywall paper so be prepared to spackle it.

share|improve this answer
How long would you let it soak? – JD Isaacks Apr 22 '11 at 3:26
10-15 mins then test. – uSlackr Apr 22 '11 at 3:28
Add a bit of fabric softener - the liquid kind, not the sheets - to the water. Make sure the water is hot. – chris Apr 22 '11 at 14:16

The finish you get will depend on surface of the wallpaper.

If it's a smooth paper then you should be OK just to paint over it. You will notice where the paper is though as it will have a slightly different texture to the rest of the wall.

If it's a textured paper then you'd have to use filler to smooth it out first.

However, most wall papers have (at least) two layers. There's a backing layer and the surface layer (and possibly one in between depending on the quality of the paper). Even if you can't get the backing layer off the wall you should be able to get the top layer off. Soak it (as uSlackr suggests) - scoring it first with a sharp knife or scoring tool will help the water soak through - and then use a scraper to take as many layers off as possible. It's very easy to dig the scraper into the wall so you have to take care - don't rush.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, I think I will try scoring and soaking and see how far that gets me, then if that doesn't work, I think I will try texturing and painting over it. I'll post back with my results. – JD Isaacks Apr 22 '11 at 14:45

Try just taking a sponge of warm water and rubbing it over the patch and then scrapping it off. I would try this before the steamer, or if you have a heat gun this may help.

share|improve this answer

Presuming that the wall is textured, I recommend texturing over the wallpaper and blending it with the existing texture.

share|improve this answer
You mean like spreading spackle over it? – JD Isaacks Apr 22 '11 at 3:25
@John: I think Shane's talking about a texture spray like Homax. This will only work if your wall is a 'bumpy' texture which easily hides imperfections, which probably isn't the case, since it was previously wallpapered. – Doresoom Apr 22 '11 at 14:28
@Doresoom, thanks. I didn't know stuff like that existed. – JD Isaacks Apr 22 '11 at 14:43
That's exactly what I was talking about. Sorry I wasn't clear. :) – Shane Apr 24 '11 at 1:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.