Adventures in Wallpaper Removal: The Steamer Method

While hammering out the final things with the bank (PRAISE THE LORD), we have been trucking right along with removing wallpaper. I mentioned using a paint scraper and wallpaper removal spray here,  here and here. It has worked GREAT for areas with just glue and residue left, but it doesn’t even touch the layers upon layers of wallpaper on the ceiling.

Gross. I am sick of looking at the nasty wallpaper on my beloved bead board ceilings. I am pretty passionate about my bead board ceilings. Just ask Ryan. I just love them, and I am SO excited we are able to keep them! Back to scrapping wallpaper…

Like I said, the paint scraper and spray just aren’t cut out to handle multiple layers of wallpaper.

You read that right. FOUR layers of wallpaper ON THE CEILING and those were under ceiling tiles! People are crazy.

I did a little research and decided to take a stab at using a steamer (thanks Wes for the suggestion, too!). My mom was nice enough to let me borrow hers. She did ask that I keep it clean, ha! I just chuckled and said I would try my best to not destroy it 🙂

In order to actually reach the ceiling, I have to put the steamer on top of a ladder. I was really nervous at first the steamer would just topple over gushing bowling water and steam everywhere, but thankfully it held steady. The first thirty minutes it went pretty well. I would run the steamer over a 2 to 3 foot area several times (about 3 or 4), put the steamer on pause, and scrape the wallpaper with a 1″ blade. It definitely helped, but it wasn’t as magical as I had hoped for. I was really hoping the wallpaper would just fall off on its own. A lot of what I read led to me to believe it would just come right off, but I found myself still have to use a lot of force to scrape. It was progress, but not magic.

Then, the steamer started POURING out water from the sides. Picture me on a step stool yelling for Ryan while attempting to turn off and remove a VERY HOT steamer off a ladder to the floor without getting burned by bowling water. Yea. Thankfully Ryan ran in and rescued me from the demon possessed steamer. It was probably pretty funny to watch. You should have been there. We then quickly cleaned up our lovely puddle of hot water.

Not cool steamer. Not cool. I am still not sure what exactly went wrong, but I decided to give the steamer another shot, only this time, Ryan joined in on the fun.

He looks excited, huh?? It turns out that this method of removing wallpaper works a lot better with two people instead of one. Ryan would run the steamer over a two foot(ish) area until it was soaked, and I would come right behind him and scrape it off. It would just peel right off! HALLELUJAH!!

We moved out way around the entire dining room ceiling.

It was our experience that the wallpaper came of a lot easier with two people working (one steamer and one scraper), by HEAVILY soaking a small area, and just being patient. I also encourage wearing gloves because 1) wallpaper is gross and 2) steam is hot. I probably didn’t need to tell you that, but just in case, now you know.

After about four hours of scrapping wallpaper on Saturday, we removed about two-thirds of the wallpaper in the dining room. Can I get a *Woot Woot* for that?

We scrapped until my shoulders cramped. No joke.

Yuck! It is a messy job. Are you in love with my bead board ceilings yet? Ignore the fact they are Army green. They WILL be pretty, I promise! Now we just have the living room left….

Awesome. *Sigh* Hurray for progress though! We got a lot done on Saturday. Ryan even said it was worth scrapping all the wallpaper. Yea!

What did you guys do this weekend? Any work around the house or just enjoying the beautiful fall weather? I love your comments!

Thanks for reading!


5 thoughts on “Adventures in Wallpaper Removal: The Steamer Method

  1. We pulled up 41 year old rubber backed indoor out door olive green carpet from the 1969 trailer we are restoring. The black rubber was soooo old, that it desenagrated to what looked like your coal dust.

  2. Steam-away GIRL! I can’t believe how much of that wallpaper you got off. Working over your head non-stop like that really tests your body, patience, and overall sanity. Hang in there… I see the final result in my head… and it’s stunning. SO WORTH IT! Congrats on getting so much done.

    P.S. Two people is always better than one, isn’t it? More fun too!

  3. Pingback: 31 Days of Surviving a Renovation: Give Thanks | younganddomestic

  4. Pingback: FAQ: So, when are you going to be finished? | younganddomestic

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