Does Wallpaper Damage Walls (And How to Prevent That from Happening)

Wallpapers can instantly transform any space into something classy and unique. The real problem appears when you get bored with the new display and wish to switch back to your old, simple interior. This may leave you wondering if wallpaper can cause damage to your walls, and if so, how to keep that from happening. We have done the research on this and are happy to share the results with you.

Removing existing wallpaper can cause damage to your walls if it is not done correctly. You need to strip it off with the right chemicals or tools. It is also possible that your existing wallpaper could damage your wall while it is stuck to it due to high humidity or moisture that is trapped behind the paper. 

You can take some preventive measures to save yourself from the extra expenditure of repairing your walls. Keep reading for more information on potential causes of damage, and how to prevent them.

Common Causes of Wall Damage from Wallpapers

Water Leakage

Walls are the most common victims of water leakage. Plumbing issues, damaged roof, toilet backups, and even faulty appliances can be the reason for the leakage. If there’s liquid dripping down from your ceiling to your walls, then wallpaper damage is very likely to occur.

The wallpaper can get irremovable stains, start peeling away from the wall and even get small torn patches. It is not always possible to completely repair the source of the leakage. However, you can reduce the likelihood of wallpaper damage caused by water leakage by dealing with it in an efficient manner.

Humid Environment

Although wallpapers are a perfectly good choice for decorating bathroom walls, proper precautions are necessary. If you don’t establish an exhaust system such as a fan or open windows, then it’s most likely for your wallpaper to damage your walls. Moisture can get locked in behind the paper, encouraging the growth of mold and fungi and thus your walls can be ruined for good.

Termites

Everyone knows if termites are left untreated, they can result in extreme damage to walls. Non-woven wallpapers are made of wood, and if you see tiny holes in yours then it is possible that termites have taken over. It is necessary to eradicate them by hiring a professional through a pest control company to avoid damaging your walls further.

Removing Old Wallpaper

If you are worried that removing your existing wallpaper will damage your walls then you are in the right place. While almost everyone loves some change from time to time, removing your wallpaper is not always the best option. Be sure that it is necessary, and if so, follow the appropriate steps for removal.

Here are some circumstances when it is a must for you to scrape off your existing paper. Remove your old paper if:

  • You wish to install new wallpaper and already have more than one layer of wallpaper installed on your wall.
  • You want to cover your wall with vinyl, plastic, or foil overlay.
  • You’d like to replace existing non-vinyl wallpaper with a vinyl one.
  • You wish to install a grass cloth, burlap or a cork paper.
  • It has warped or wrinkled.
  • It is tearing apart or is peeling away from the wall.
  • Termites have taken over.
  • Mold has formed behind it due to moisture
  • Water leakage has damaged it.

Ways to Remove an Old Wallpaper

Once you’ve established that wallpaper removal is absolutely mandatory for you, here are some steps to remove your wallpaper without extending much damage to your walls:

  • If you’ve recently installed new wallpaper, check with the manufacturer if it is easily strippable. If it is, you can simply get hold of a little seam from the edge of the paper and pull the paper carefully away. If some stubborn patches refuse to come out, use a razor knife to scrape off the remains. Make sure you carry out the process slowly to avoid damaging the walls.
  • If your wallpaper is not strippable, then start by purchasing a liquid stripper. Usually, all you need to do is mix the liquid with hot water and apply it to your walls. But it is recommended to follow the instructions provided on the label of the product. Work your way from the top to the bottom in small sections so that the mixture doesn’t dry out while you’re working with it.
  • If your wallpaper is really old, then it may not soak in any liquids efficiently. Make multiple line cuts in the paper to allow water to seep in. Once you’ve made the cuts, apply the liquid stripper and wait for about half an hour before scraping away.
  • You can also hire a professional to perform steam stripping for removal of old wallpaper. The process softens the adhesive between the wallpaper and the wall, making it easier to scrape it away.

WP Chomps Best Wallpaper Stripper is a perfect example of what you can use on your wallpaper to help break down adhesive in the glue so the old paper can be easily removed.

Repair Damaged Wallpapers

If your wallpaper is damaged and there are torn patches, it can ruin the look of your wall. Here are a few simple steps to repair your damaged wallpaper:

  1. Start with cutting an oversized piece from your leftover wallpaper. Now place it over the torn patch and make sure it matches the pattern in all dimensions.
  2. Do not stick the cutout directly on the existing paper with any type of adhesive.
  3. Use a fresh blade to scrape off the wallpaper from the area that will fall beneath the new cutout.
  4. Fill in any deep cuts with any joint compound to smoothen the surface.
  5. Now paint the area with the same paint that other parts of the wall are coated with.
  6. Once the wall is ready, install the wallpaper cutout as usual.

Now that you’ve learned some ways to prevent wall damage by wallpapers, decorate your interior the way you like!

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