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How to Remove Dried Wallpaper Adhesive by Sanding

Decorating a room with wallpaper is an easy way to brighten it or add interest to walls. Over the course of time, wallpaper loosens or becomes damaged and must be removed. Depending on the wall preparation and type of adhesive prior to hanging wallpaper, removing the adhesive is challenging and time consuming. Finding a thick buildup of yellow-brown, dried adhesive behind wallpaper is not uncommon. Removing the adhesive is a necessary step before refinishing the walls.

Sand walls smooth before refinishing.
  1. Fill a bucket with hot water and dip a rag in it. Wring out excess water and wipe the walls to soften adhesive prior to sanding. Rinse the rag often to avoid reactivating and spreading the soft adhesive.
  2. Scrape the walls with a metal scraper to remove as much soft adhesive as possible.
  3. Fit a sanding block with medium-grit sandpaper and sand the remaining adhesive.
  4. Move the sanding block from place to place along the wall until the walls are free of obvious old adhesive.
  5. Equip the sanding block with fine-grit sandpaper and sand over all wall surfaces to achieve a smoother finish and remove thin, less noticeable adhesive.

Things You Will Need

  • Bucket
  • Rag
  • Metal scraper
  • Sanding block
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Tips

  • Wear a dust mask and safety goggles when sanding walls.
  • Wipe walls with a tack cloth to remove excess sanding dust before refinishing.
  • Wrapping sandpaper around a sanding block makes sanding more comfortable. It provides a flat bottom surface that allows for a smooth, even finish to a sanding surface.
  • Change the sandpaper often because the grit will clog with adhesive.

Warning

  • Do not use a power sander because it can remove the protective paper layer on drywall.

About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images