How to remove wallpaper border

Removing wallpaper border can be a daunting task if you’re not equipped with the right knowledge and tools. However, with the right approach and a little patience, you can successfully remove wallpaper borders and refresh the look of your walls. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of removing wallpaper borders and provide you with helpful tips along the way.

How to remove wallpaper border
Tomas Hustoles

Wallpaper borders are decorative elements applied along the upper edge of walls or in the middle of a wall to add visual interest and enhance the overall aesthetic of a room. Over time, you may decide to update your decor or simply remove the border for a change. The process of removing wallpaper borders involves loosening the adhesive and carefully scraping them off without damaging the underlying wall.

Understanding Wallpaper Borders


Wallpaper borders are narrow strips of decorative paper or vinyl that are often used as an accent to complement wallpaper or paint. They come in various patterns, colors, and textures, allowing homeowners to personalize their living spaces.

Types of Wallpaper Borders

There are several types of wallpaper borders available, including pre-pasted, self-adhesive, and non-pasted borders. Pre-pasted borders require wetting before application, while self-adhesive borders have a peel-off backing that sticks directly to the wall. Non-pasted borders require adhesive to be applied separately.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you begin removing wallpaper borders, gather the necessary tools and materials:

Wallpaper Removal Solutions

  • Wallpaper removal solution or mixture of warm water and dish soap
  • Vinegar or fabric softener (optional)

Scraping Tools

  • Wallpaper scraper or putty knife
  • Steamer (optional)
  • Heat gun (optional)

Protective Gear

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask or respirator

Preparing the Room

Before you start removing the wallpaper border, it’s important to prepare the room properly:

Clearing the Area

Remove furniture, wall hangings, and any other obstacles near the wallpaper border. This will ensure you have enough space to work and prevent any potential damage to your belongings.

Protecting Surfaces

Cover the floor with a drop cloth or old sheets to catch any debris or wallpaper remnants. Use painter’s tape to protect baseboards, outlets, and switches from accidental damage.

Removing Wallpaper Borders

Now let’s dive into the process of removing wallpaper borders:

Testing the Adhesion

Before you proceed, test a small section of the border to check its adhesion. Gently lift an edge or corner and see if it comes off easily. If it doesn’t, you may need to use a wallpaper removal solution or apply heat to soften the adhesive.

Soaking the Border

If the wallpaper border is not self-adhesive, you’ll need to moisten it with a wallpaper removal solution or a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Apply the solution using a sponge or spray bottle, ensuring it is evenly distributed along the entire length of the border.

Scraping the Border

Once the wallpaper border has soaked for a few minutes, use a wallpaper scraper or putty knife to gently lift the edge. Slowly scrape the border off, applying steady pressure and working in a downward motion. Be careful not to dig into the wall surface.

Dealing with Stubborn Borders

In some cases, stubborn wallpaper borders may require additional techniques:

Using a Steamer

If the border is particularly stubborn, you can use a steamer to soften the adhesive. Hold the steamer against the border for a few seconds to loosen the glue, making it easier to scrape off.

Applying Heat

Another method is to apply heat using a heat gun. Keep the heat gun a safe distance from the border and move it in a back-and-forth motion to warm the adhesive. Once the glue softens, scrape off the border using a wallpaper scraper.

Using Chemical Strippers

For extremely stubborn borders, chemical strippers can be effective. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using chemical strippers, as they can be strong and require caution. Apply the stripper to the border and let it sit for the recommended amount of time before scraping it off.

Cleaning Up

After removing the wallpaper border, clean the wall surface to remove any remaining adhesive or residue. Use a wallpaper removal solution or a mixture of warm water and dish soap to wipe down the wall. Rinse with clean water and allow the wall to dry completely before proceeding.

Repairing and Prepping the Wall

Inspect the wall for any damage caused during the removal process. Repair any holes, dents, or scratches using spackling compound or joint compound. Once the repairs are complete, sand the wall surface to ensure it is smooth and ready for the next step.

Applying New Wallpaper or Paint

Now that the wallpaper border is removed and the wall is prepped, you can proceed with applying new wallpaper or paint according to your desired design. Follow the instructions provided with the chosen wallpaper or paint to achieve the best results.


Removing wallpaper borders may require some time and effort, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be a manageable task. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can successfully remove wallpaper borders and transform the look of your walls. Remember to take necessary precautions and be patient throughout the process.


11.1 How long does it take to remove wallpaper borders?

The time required to remove wallpaper borders depends on various factors, including the type of adhesive used, the condition of the wall, and the size of the border. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day to complete the removal process.

11.2 Can I paint over wallpaper borders instead of removing them?

While it is possible to paint over wallpaper borders, it is generally recommended to remove them for the best results. Painting over wallpaper borders may lead to uneven surfaces and may not adhere well, resulting in a less professional finish.

11.3 Is it necessary to use a wallpaper removal solution?

Using a wallpaper removal solution can help soften the adhesive, making it easier to remove the border. While it is not always necessary, it can significantly simplify the process, especially for stubborn borders.

11.4 Can I remove wallpaper borders without damaging the wall?

With proper care and the right tools, it is possible to remove wallpaper borders without causing significant damage to the wall. However, some minor repairs, such as patching small holes or scratches, may be necessary after removal.

11.5 What are the alternatives to wallpaper borders?

If you prefer to avoid wallpaper borders altogether, there are several alternatives you can consider. Some options include using decorative molding or trim, painting accent walls, or incorporating wall decals or stencils to add visual interest to your space.

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