iStock_000012065091XSmallRemoving old wallpaper can have a big impact in a home, whether you’re dealing with a small bathroom or a large focal wall in the dining room. It can make a home feel brand new and breathe new life into a space. But there isn’t a person around who will tell you that removing wallpaper is easy. Even for a small space, the removal process can take nearly two days to complete.

Fortunately, power steamers are a great way to remove old wallpaper more quickly and efficiently. Most tool equipment rental companies will allow you to rent them by the day or hour, and although this inexpensive project will still require a lot of elbow grease, you won’t feel it in the pocketbook.

If you’ve been putting off your wallpaper removal project for days, months or years, now is the time to tackle it! Here are some steps to keep in mind for removing old wallpaper by steaming!

  • Step 1: Prepare Your Area- Fill the steamer unit with hot water and allow it about 30 minutes to heat. Cover your floor with dropcloths, remove the faceplates from the walls you’ll be working with along with any medicine cabinets, towel bars, etc. Make sure you cover any exposed outlets with electrical tape to protect them from liquids.
  • Step 2: Perforate Your Old Wallpaper- This job calls for a wallpaper-perforating tool such as the “Paper Tiger.” It looks a lot like a paint roller, but it has small spikes that will perforate the paper and will allow the steam to penetrate the glue more readily. This is especially necessary for any vinyl-covered wallpaper. Be careful not to press too hard so you don’t damage the surface of your wall.
  • Step 3: Apply Steam- Wallpaper steamers tend to drip hot water, so you should plan to wear rubber gloves and protective eyewear. Place the steamer on the surface of the wallpaper and hold while the steam penetrates and softens the glue. The more time you dedicate to steaming, the less time you’ll have to spend scraping.
  • Step 4: Scrape With a Wallpaper Scraping Tool- Once the steam has softened the glue, begin working at a seam or the edge of a perforation to remove the paper by scraping with the wallpaper scraping tool, a plastic putty knife or a drywall knife. Apply more steam as needed and continue scraping until the wallpaper is removed.
  • Step 5: Let Your Walls Recover- Give your walls a day to dry before you come back to fill any holes and/or smooth out rough areas. At this point, you can prime your walls and repaint, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, hang new wallpaper!