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How to Fix Peeling Wallpaper

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As a DIY blogger I often get asked questions that feel out of my league. But since research is my jam I’ve taken the time to find out the best ways to fix peeling wallpaper.


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Isn’t painting easier than wallpapering?

In my personal opinion, painting is so much easier than wallpapering. There are painting techniques that will allow you to add texture or design to the walls rather than wallpaper.

Using wallpaper requires two people whereas painting can easily be done by one. But unless you’re an artist there’s no way to offer the wide diversity of patterns that wallpaper can.

What type of walls do you have?

Prep work comes first.

How to remove traditional wallpaper.

How to remove peelable wallpaper.

What to do with peeling wallpaper in the bathroom

The biggest problem in bathrooms is moisture and proper ventilation.  If you don’t have an exhaust fan of some sort, I would highly recommend one.  That helps the wallpaper issue, which I’ll expand on in a bit. 

Should I invest in wallpaper glue or can I just stick it back with Elmer’s?  Same question with linoleum that is peeling up from the edges allowing water to seep to the floorboards underneath.  Do I need to yank it up farther and check out the damage or can I just glue it down (and with what should I do this?).  Also it’s pretty curled.- suggestions on getting it to lay flat once I apply adhesive?

What to do about Peeling Wallpaper from Marty's Musings

At floor level, you still have a water issue.  Here, it is imperative that you locate the source of any possible leaks.  Without seeing your specific space it is hard to diagnose, but there are three potential problem sources; the sink, the toilet, and the tub/shower.  Any one of these can create a problem with the linoleum. 

I actually have a similar issue to deal with in one of our baths.  The shower kit I installed years ago is now allowing water to escape outside the tub, down the wall, and under the vinyl flooring.  In my case, I’m looking at removing the shower doors, the kit, the tile behind the kit, all the tile in the bathroom, re-sheet rocking with green-board, replacing the rotted flooring and cabinet, and…well, you get the idea.  Yuck.  Bottom line is if you just fix the floor without determining the cause, you’re just applying a band-aid.

Let’s talk about mold as well. You might want to go to a home improvement store and buy a mold test kit ($10). Mold can be a real problem and even cause serious health issues.  If you’re not comfortable doing that, or are very serious about mold issues, consult a mold abatement specialist in your area.  Again, you must resolve any leak issues first.

Back to the wallpaper.  Once you solve the moisture issue, fixing the wallpaper with glue or Elmer’s is an easy call…get the wallpaper adhesive. 

As a painter, I’ve seen all kinds of things used to re-seam wallpaper; super glue, Elmer’s, Gorilla glue, Liquid Nails, caulk, and even double-sided tape.  All of this is a real problem if you’re the one removing the paper.  Sheet rock damage and subsequent repair is automatic.  If you don’t think you’ll be the one removing the paper, ever, grab the Elmer’s…but you didn’t hear me say that!

Best of luck, and remember, “water always wins.”


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  1. Thank you! The flooring is peeling up from frequently overflowing toilets and a bather or two who are big on splashing, but not so much on sopping up the lake afterward. Suggestions on getting the edge of the flooring to stay flat when I re-adhere the linoleum? I tried it, and it curled up and dried that way! I tried putting heavy stuff on top of it, and ended up with the weighted items stuck to the floor!

    Also, there’s water damage to the base of the cabinet. It’s not really noticeable, and I can’t afford to replace the cabinet. I was thinking of priming and painting some baseboards and sticking them to the based of the cabinet to hide the damage (and prevent more). If I use a latex primer and caulk the baseboard edge where it attaches to the floor, will that be enough to prevent future damage, and do you think it would look bad? I was thinking of painting the baseboards dark brown so they kind of match the oak laminate of the cabinet instead of the cream color of the baseboards around the walls.

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