A four-step method to strip wallpaper

Q. To prepare for fresh papering, what is the least arduous way to remove old painted-over wallpaper? Pattie R. Steele Wenham, Mass.

A. Using coarse sandpaper, such as No. 2 1/2 or even No. 4 grit floor-sanding paper, sand down the walls. This will score the old surface, giving it ''tooth,'' and will allow the wallpaper remover to penetrate to the paste under the old paper.

Use wallpaper remover from a paint or wall-covering store. Some products are liquid while others are powder. Generally they are concentrated and require mixing with water.

Allow the remover to penetrate for a specified time. Carefully follow the label directions. Some stores offer the solution already mixed in a spray container. All you have to do is pump up the container to the required pressure and spray the old sanded paper. It really does the job!

After removing the old paper, wash the walls thoroughly with a detergent-and-water mix. Carefully rinse. The walls should be ready for the new paper.Remember, while this method may be least arduous, it isn't easy, by any means.

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