How To Remove Wallpaper From Unprimed Drywall : 2 DIY Methods

How To Remove Wallpaper From Unprimed Drywall

Wallpaper is a popular type of interior decoration because it can be used on the wall to cover up smaller holes and dings common in them. It offers the advantage of being easily removed and replaced when its design becomes outdated. It can be applied directly to a wallpaper backing.

There are two methods on how to remove wallpaper from unprimed drywall. This article will cover these methods for removing wallpaper if you are trying to save the drywall.

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Method 1: for Wallpaper Removal from Unprimed Sheetrock

Wallpaper Removal from Unprimed Sheetrock

Use a Cutting Tool

Use a cutting tool to cut the paper. Make small cuts in a vertical line on the wall paper and move up the wall until you reach the top. A serrated knife is good for this task. By cutting this way, you will avoid curling up the paper as much as when you pull it off.

Use Wallpaper Stripper

Dilute the wallpaper stripper with water in a mixing container. Stir well.  A fabric softener sheet can also be placed in the washing machine with the wallpaper before it is washed. This helps to keep the paper from becoming hard or brittle.

Lay a plastic sheet or newspaper over the floor. Read all instructions on the packaging of your wallpaper stripper before you start to use it. Follow the instructions in detail to avoid slips and accidents, especially if you are using hot wallpaper strippers!

Apply the wallpaper stripping solution evenly to the old paper using a paint roller or paintbrush until it is completely covered. Let stand for 10-20 minutes, depending on how old and absorbent the paper is (read all of your instructions before working). Make sure that you do not let any solution seep onto the drywall.

Start Peeling

It is important to avoid tearing and ripping the paper when peeling wall paper from the wall. In order to do this, start from the center of the paper and gently pull it away at a 45-degree angle from the surface. Repeating this process along the entire length of each strip should help in minimizing tearing.

The water will gradually penetrate through the paper as you pull it away from the wall until the point where it will become completely wet. So be careful not to touch it before it becomes wet with water because if any adhesive is left on your hands, it will stick to them and make removing more difficult.

Clean the Bare Wall

Once you have removed the entire paper from the wall, it is probably a good idea to clean the entire surface to make sure that any adhesive is removed.

This can be done with soap and water but if there are specific problems spots such as stubborn stains or places where bits of wallpaper came up with the paper, we recommend using a professional solvent such as vinegar and soapy water to remove them.

Dry the Wall

The last step is to dry the surface of your wall. This can be done with a rag and some clean water. Of course, you should also use a cloth to rub-down the wall so it is not too wet but bone dry at the same time.

Method 2: on Removing Wallpaper from Unprimed Sheetrock

Removing Wallpaper from Unprimed Sheetrock

Step (1): Prepping the Wall

If you are using a wall primer on your walls, first apply it to the entire surface and then wet the paper before applying wallpaper. This will help create a smooth surface for painting or applying new wallpaper later on.

Before removing, make sure that you test a small section of your wall with water applied to ensure that the product is compatible with your wall surfaces in case of damage or discoloration from increased humidity.

Step (2): Recognizing a Non-Adhesive Backed Wallpaper

Non-adhesive backed wallpapers are rare these days, but if you want to remove this type of old paper, simply soak it until water has completely penetrated the paper. Then use an ordinary putty knife and scrape it off carefully.

Step (3): Lay the Paper On a Wet Piece Of Plastic

Lay the wallpaper face down on a soft surface such as a damp cloth or wet towel to absorb any excess water. This step prevents any water from seeping through the back of the paper once you have begun working with it and also helps keep your work area dry.

Although wallpaper is relatively smooth and flat, it will curl somewhat when exposed to moisture, so lay it out carefully.

However, if there are loose bits of backing, skip this step in order to avoid damaging them; rather, remove them while they are still attached to the roll with no extra manipulation.

Step (4): Apply Wallpaper Paste to the Drywall

When the paste is applied to a wall, it helps the paper stick in place better. When applying the paste, make sure that you apply an even coat on both sides of the paper. After stapling down one side of the roll, open it up and complete the application on the other side as well if not done earlier.

Note: Most old wallpaper will be thin and brittle and may break or tear easily, so care is imperative. Do not pull too hard when removing or smoothing out bubbles. Be especially careful when peeling off any loose edges because they can become curled up quickly once exposed to moisture from your fingers.

Step (5): Clean the Wall Thoroughly

It is extremely important to clean the wall thoroughly after removing old wallpaper. If there are any leftover bits of paper or residue from paste, they can continue to cause problems if not removed completely. You can apply with soap and water, but if there are specific places where the paste isn’t removed easily, we recommend using a professional solvent such as vinegar and soapy water to remove them.

Step (6): Allow the Wall to Dry Completely

Give it at least 24 hours and then inspect. If there are any spots in which wallpaper glue didn’t adhere, you may have to reapply a thin coat of paste, let it dry overnight, and try again until everything is smooth without any bubbles.


Can You Put Wallpaper on Unfinished Drywall?

Yes, you can. To completely finish a room with wallpaper, you only need to put primer on the drywall. Unfortunately, it is not that easy as putting primer and then wallpaper over it.

Can You Use a Steamer to Remove Wallpaper from Drywall?

Yes, this is another way to remove wallpaper from the drywall, and it works well, but quite honestly, we would not recommend steamers for most home improvement projects. The main reason is that you risk damaging the soft cloth or wallpaper.

Wallpaper Glue can’t hold when you try to remove a steamer from the drywall surface, especially on old wallpapers that easily break.

What is a Common Wallpaper Glue Used in Drywall?

Common wallpaper glue that is also known as wheat paste, is used for wallpaper. We recommend that you always check the product’s label before you use it because the wheat paste is not the same as white glue and some other glue. In addition, the label should clearly state the product specifications and safety warnings.


Wallpaper is an adhesive-backed form of wall decoration and is paste-resistant. Wallpaper can be used on plaster or drywall surfaces to cover up smaller holes and dings common in them. So, we’ve covered what you need to know about removing wallpaper from drywall. We hope this article has been helpful and informative for your needs!

How To Remove Wallpaper From Unprimed Drywall : 2 DIY Methods
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