Eliminate Old Wallpaper By Steaming

Eliminate Old Wallpaper By Steaming

iStock_000018018629XSmallIt seems that with wallpaper, there are two options: it’s either gorgeous or a complete eyesore. Any way you slice it, wallpaper can be one of the trickiest things to remove. This is especially true if you’re talking about paper that has been up since the Nixon administration! While there are a number of methods for removing wallpaper, perhaps the easiest way to tackle this project is to steam it off the wall.

It really is a two-person project, as you need to steam and strip the paper simultaneously. If you’ve done this before, you may be able to tackle the project solo, but generally speaking, it’s easier with two people.

So, how does it work? The steam from the boiling water helps to soften the glue between the wallpaper and your wall, making it easier for you to peel away. Be advised though: if you’re dealing with vinyl-coated wallpaper, you will still need to use a scoring tool to punch holes in the paper. Otherwise, the steam won’t be able to penetrate and reach the glue.

The best thing to do is to rent a steamer from a tool-equipment rental company, unless you’re in the business of removing blooms and geometric shapes from walls. Make sure you take time to read the manufacturer’s instructions, as they can vary from machine to machine. Here’s a high-level overview of what to do:

    • Remove medicine cabinets, towel bars and light fixtures from the wall.
    • Make sure the power is off on the steamer, and pour warm water into the reservoir.
    • Turn on the machine and wait for the water to boil.
    • With goggles and gloves on, place the stripper’s steam pad firmly on the wallpaper for about 30 seconds to make sure the steam is penetrating the glue. Move the pad and you should see loose paper. Remove the paper with a scraper.
    • Steam a section at a time and pull and scrape off the wallpaper as you go.
    • Switch to a smaller attachment to get into tight spaces.
    • Give the walls a day to dry then come back and fill holes and smooth rough areas.