There hasn't been a project yet that we have been afraid to tackle, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, plaster, all that... Yet, I can understand some people's hesitation at some things. Electrical can seem a bit scary, yes. But other projects are darn right easy, if not a bit tedious. Steaming wallpaper is one of those. I know people who'd rather paint or wallpaper over the top of existing wallpaper than to remove the old. They say, "It is too difficult and time-consuming."
Time-consuming, maybe. Difficult? No way. Not if you have plaster. Now, if you have drywall and you need to remove wallpaper, well... you have my sympathy. That job sucks. You will need to use a Paper Tiger (a little rotary tool that pokes walls in the paper), a chemical remover (or vinegar in a spray bottle) and a ton of elbow grease. Do not use a steamer. Drywall does not like water.
But if you have plaster, you are in luck... removal is pretty easy.
First, you will need to assemble a couple supplies. You will need a wallpaper scraper. I have one made by Zinsser that you will see in the photos below, and I like it. But there are others so do experiment and find one you like.
You will need a wallpaper steamer. I bought a Wagner Power Steamer 705. It was reasonably priced, and felt it made sense to buy rather than rent when I have wallpaper in so many rooms of the house.
Finally, you will need a bunch of towels to put along the floor since the water will run down and you don't want it pooling on your floor or base boards.
Now that you've rounded up your tools, you are all set.
Lay out your towels. Put water in your machine and get ready to have fun. Well, not really. But I do like to put on some wallpapering music. Tonight it was Alice Cooper's Greatest Hits. I don't know if Alice is a home improvement guy, but I am sure he could mess it up with a steamer if he wanted to. But I digress...
My wall was papered half way up and then they put a thick foam border along the middle like a chair rail and along the top like crown. Bonus! Pull off the face paper so that you can start steaming off the border. If you don't have border, skip down a few steps.
All those little wallpaper scrappies on your floor... hurry and sweep those up before they dry or someone steps on them. When they dry, they will stick down to your floor and are a total pain to scrape back up.
Oh, you might notice I am wearing a sweater here. 1) It freaking snowed today - where is Spring? and 2) steamers will drip/leak very hot water. Don't wear short sleeves - long sleeves offer some protection. Even through your clothes the water is very hot and will let you know if it hits you!