Wallpaper is a usually outdated wall pattern that is attached to the drywall with wallpaper glue. The older the wallpaper is, the more difficult it can be to remove. If you are worried about saving the wallpaper after removing it from the wall, you are probably out of luck. Wallpaper removal is a messy job but it can usually be done at home without the aid of a professional. Twenty-year-old wallpaper will be more difficult to remove than recently applied paper. If you are are not the do-it-yourself type, you can call a professional and have your wallpaper removed and your walls repainted in a day or less.
About Removing Wallpaper
Doing it Yourself
Remove all switch plates and outlet covers from your wall. Place drop cloths on the floor so you can easily pick up the wallpaper scrapings when you're finished. Very gently score the top of the wallpaper using a utility knife. Do not cut through to the drywall. Mix warm water and vinegar in a spray bottle and saturate the walls with it. Let the wallpaper sit with the warm solution on it for 30 minutes. With a metal spatula tool, start to work at the seams of the wallpaper. Use more warm water and vinegar to drench stubborn areas. Use tri sodium phosphate on the walls to remove the rest of the excess glue.
Getting a Professional
Most professional painters will also strip wallpaper. Ask your friends and neighbors if they would recommend a painter in your area. Stripping wallpaper is a fairly simple job for a professional and will probably take no more than a day to completely strip and repaint your walls. Some painters and contractors will ask to do a test strip on your wall to see how difficult the paper is to remove before charging you. Otherwise, be honest with the painter and tell them that the wallpaper is 20 years old and may be difficult to remove.