Repairing a Wall & Removing Wallpaper

Yesterday, I told you how we removed our Disco Queen mirrored wall. Today, I’m going to take you through the steps we took to repair the wall (check out how it’s covered in construction adhesive! and strips of wallpaper! Removed, thanks to the folks at HomeRight and their SteamMachine):
Mirrored wall gone, silicone blobs left on wall -- needs repair! Here's how we did it

There were over 75 blobs of 30 year-old construction adhesive covering our living room wall, as well as a few strips of ancient wallpaper on the edges. There were also some gouges in the drywall.

I was pregnant, so the task fell to my husband to do most of the repair work on the wall. Thanks, sweetie! I got to stand by, offer moral support, take photos for posterity, and put together the HomeRight SteamMachine so we could steam the wallpaper away. Oh, and I did remove the wallpaper with the steamer myself (my husband just posed for the pictures!)

1. Removing the Adhesive From the Wall

First, my husband had to pry all the adhesive blobs from the wall, which took an hour or two. Not much fun. He used a flat metal putty knife/scraper to do most of the dirty work.

2. Steaming the Wallpaper Away

Homeright SteamMachine

While my husband worked on the adhesive, I put the HomeRight SteamMachine together. It took about 15 minutes to assemble, but it was pretty straightforward, and the instructions for assembly were easy-to-understand.

The machine is a small canister on wheels – with a main chamber (where you put water, and it builds up steam), and a hose that comes out of it. You can put various attachments on the hose:

Steam Machine components

  • wallpaper steam plate
  • floor steam mop with cleaning cloth
  • brass brush
  • nylon brush
  • jet nozzle
  • squeegee

You can use the machine for all kinds of home-cleaning chores: to soften wallpaper for easy removal, or clean and sanitize tough-to-clean areas like showers, ovens, stovetops, sinks, and barbeque grills. We used the wallpaper steam plate to remove our strips of wallpaper (but I’m super excited about the home-cleaning possibilities).

Wallpaper to remove

Here’s the swanky grasscloth wallpaper strip we had to remove.

Removing wallpaper

These pics are after I removed the paper. My husband gave it another pass with the steamer to remove all the old wallpaper adhesive.

Removing Wallpaper

The steamer was really easy to use, didn’t take long to heat up, and made removing wallpaper a cinch. We have several other spaces in our home with unfortunate wallpaper choices, and we are almost excited to tackle them, thanks to this tool.

I am looking forward to trying the steamer in other areas of our home as well, specifically to clean icky areas in our showers (I never knew how to get those crevices clean before!), and sanitizing our boys’ bathroom (we have three little boys, and I am at a loss for how to keep that room fresh and clean!). I’ll report back when I try it!

But back to the wall:

3. Repairing the Wall

After removing dozens of adhesive blobs, the wall was a hot mess. My husband spackled over the spots where the adhesive blobs were:

How to fix a wall

This photo is before any spackle was applied!

After an hour or two of spackle power, the blobs were covered. We allowed the spackle to dry according to the package directions, and then sanded the spots to remove excess spackle.

The wall had texturing, so we had to try to mask all those spots where we’d applied spackle. My husband applied orange peel texture (the kind that comes in a can) over the spots, trying to feather it out so it blended with the 70s-era wall texture (NOT the same as today’s orange peel texture).

Finally, my husband was satisfied that the spots sort of blended in (he is pretty detail-oriented, so it took a few hours!), and we primed the wall.

Gray accent wall

My husband painted the wall gray (with a little convincing on my part. I think he was thinking it would just be white. Glad I won that one — I love our gray wall!), and it is such a huge improvement over the Disco Mirror Wall!

Here’s a closeup of a few of the spackled-textured spots:

Spackled, textured, then painted

You can kind of see the spots if you look for them, but if you aren’t looking for them, they’re not noticeable!

Now, what should I hang on this wall?

Note: The HomeRight SteamMachine was provided as a review model for this article, and affiliate links are used.