Evaluating of the Wagner 705 Power Wallpaper Steamer

I used to think applying wallpaper was one of the most taxing things a marriage could face. Now I have changed my opinion and feel that removing wallpaper is equally if not more difficult. Like many other do-it-yourself fanatics I have removed my share of wallpaper using a variety of methods. Recently I tackled one of the bathrooms in our house starting with scoring the wallpaper and applying various liquid brews as well as commercial products. This lead to not only removing the wallpaper in bits and pieces but also removing part of the drywall paper covering. There had to be a better way.

The Equipment

With two more bathrooms on my remodeling list I decided to do some online research on wallpaper steamers. I knew they could be rented but wasn’t sure what to expect when I looked into buying one. I was pleasantly surprised to find a reasonably priced wallpaper steamer that had gotten good reviews from users. The wallpaper steamer I purchased is the Wagner 705 Power Wallpaper Steamer. The price is typically under $60 and can be found at a variety of online stores some of which like Amazon offer free shipping. For this you get a 1-gallon tank with a long 11-foot flexible hose. The steam is delivered to a plastic plate roughly 8 inches by 11 inches. There are convenient handles both on the reservoir and the steam plate. The 1-gallon reservoir tank has the heating element built-in and is connected to a wall outlet with a 6-foot cord. The steamer has a thermal safety fuse that shuts off power if it runs out of water. It resets in approximately ten minutes. The Wagner 705 power steamer comes with a 1-year warranty.

Insider’s Tip

In doing research online I found that HomeDepot.com offers the Wagner Spray Tech Xtra 705 Power Steamer for $49 plus shipping. This particular model has an extra smaller 3 x 6 inch steam plate in addition to the regular 8 x 11 inch one. This smaller steam head is very useful when working on hard to reach areas such as one finds in bathrooms. I did find this product was available in some Home Depot stores for $49 with no shipping but it was not always in stock in the stores. I did not find this Xtra configuration with the extra smaller steam head at any other stores.

Removing Wallpaper

If you have regular wallpaper start by filling the reservoir with water and plugging it in. In about 12-15 minutes steam will emanate from the steam plate that you have selected. Filling the power steamer with hot tap water will speed up the process. Hold this directly on the wallpaper for approximately ten seconds and try to lift a corner. If it doesn’t lift easily apply more steam. Once you determine the amount of steam needed, you can be applying steam while peeling down previously steamed areas. When removing vinyl wallpaper it will likely be necessary to score the wallpaper first using one of the many scoring tools found in stores. Once you develop a rhythm the removal process moves right along. When removing multiple layers of wallpaper you probably will have to remove it one layer at a time. I didn’t try any cases like that. Unlike sprays using wallpaper steamer only produces steam and some condensed water and not chemicals dripping all over.

Removing Residual Sizing

I found that once the wallpaper was removed I could use the steamer to help remove the residual sizing. This is important if you are going to eventually paint the wall. I applied steam and used a wet rag to wipe off the wall. I frequently rinsed out the rag to remove the sizing.

Removing Linoleum

As an added bonus my bathroom remodeling involved removing sheet linoleum flooring which was permanently attached to the plywood subfloor with adhesive. In the past I had tried to remove linoleum and ended up with a tedious job chipping it off after heating with a flat iron. I decided to try out the wallpaper steamer on this job. I easily stripped off the shiny linoleum top layer. Depending on when your linoleum was manufactured this may expose a layer of asbestos containing backing so take the appropriate precautions if that is the case. I applied the steam and found that it softened the adhesive to the point where I could scrape the bottom layer of the linoleum and adhesive with a putty knife. The steam also wet the bottom layer and kept the dust to a minimum. I was pleasantly surprised how easily and quickly the linoleum came up using the power steamer.

Other Jobs

While I haven’t investigated everything that can be done with a wallpaper steamer I suspect it can helpful when removing stains from carpets, upholstery, or clothing. I have heard of people using them for crafts and hobbies where a controlled amount of steam is useful in bending materials such as wood or plastic. There are undoubtedly other applications limited only by the imagination of the user.

Precautions

The heated reservoir and steam plates get warm to the touch, as does the steam delivery hose. If you put your hand in the path of the steam it’s conceivable you will get a burn. Do not use this when small children are around. I suggest always keeping the reservoir on the ground since it contains boiling temperature water that could escape if it fell.

I was very happy with my experience with the Wagner 705 Power Steamer. As noted above I suggest the model available from Home Depot is preferable since the price is about the same as the other stores yet it does have the extra small size steam head. Wagner also makes the 905 model that is heavier duty however I feel the Wagner Xtra 705 Power Steamer is sufficient for most home applications.

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