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Remove wallpaper the easy way

If your wallpaper needs a refresh you will need to remove it before you redecorate. This can be a laborious and time-consuming job but with the right tools it can be much quicker and easier than you think. The following guide explains the process step by step with handy tips along the way.

1PREPARING THE ROOM

Stripping wallpaper can be messy so covering everything before you start will make clearing up a lot quicker. Ideally clear the room of furniture as this will make it easier to move around. If this is not possible, move all the furniture into the centre of the room and cover with dust sheets for protection. Don’t forget to protect your fl oors too. Choosing dust sheets with a plastic backing will protect against any damage from water spills. For your safety it’s important to cover lights, switches and sockets to prevent any damage. Use masking tape or a combined masking tape and plastic sheet to make the job even quicker.

2PREPARING THE WALLS AND CEILING

Remove everything from the walls such as hooks or nails etc. If the wallpaper has a vinyl fi nish or has been painted, fi rst score the wallpaper with a craft knife or old kitchen fork taking care not to damage the wall and plaster underneath. By perforating the paper the steam penetrates the wallpaper more quickly. If you have a lot of rooms to strip a wallpaper scoring tool is a good idea. This will make the job of perforating the paper a lot quicker. If you only have the ceiling or a wall to strip cut along the edge using a knife and metal edge between the two surfaces. Papers are often overlapped and this will prevent you accidently removing paper you wanted to keep.

3WALLPAPER STEAMER SETUP

Firstly, read your instruction manual and pay particular attention to the safety information. Follow the instructions manual closely to set up the unit.

Use an old piece of wood or a metal tray to place the wallpaper steamer on to prevent damaging the surface underneath it. This will also keep the steamer fl at and stop it from tilting which could damage the heater element.

4FILL THE STEAMER WITH WATER FROM THE TAP

Warm tap water can be used to reduce boiling time. Using a jug can make this easier to pour. Plug in the steamer and wait for the water to boil. Once steam is coming from the steam plate it’s ready to use. 

5START FROM THE TOP OF THE WALL

Working your way down the wall, hold the steam plate on the wallpaper for a maximum of 30 seconds at a time. For high walls or to reach the ceiling use a standard or platform ladder but take care to ensure the unit is kept flat and stable. The steam penetrates through the wallpaper to the old adhesive underneath moistening it to loosen the paper from the wall. After steaming an area test the area to see how easily the paper is to remove. Use a scraper to get underneath the paper. If the paper is not coming away easily hold the steam plate on the surface again. Be careful not to leave it too long it as this may cause damage to the surface underneath.

6TAKE CARE WHEN WORKING AROUND SOCKETS OR SWITCHES

A small steam plate is helpful where there is limited room. Remove as large a piece of wallpaper as you can. This will speed up the process and reduce the amount of cleaning up you have to do.

7REMOVING PAPER FROM THE CEILING

When working overhead, beware of hot dripping water from the steam plate. It’s important to wear long sleeves, gloves and glasses and position yourself to one side of the steam plate, not directly under it. 

8TIDY UP AS YOU GO

If the paper is left to dry it can stick to itself and the dust sheet which makes it more difficult to remove. Periodically check the water level. Do not allow it to run dry as this will cause the automatic cut off switch to activate and temporarily cut the power to the machine. This will interrupt your work and can damage the unit.

9DESCALING

After every 6 uses of your wallpaper steamer always descale the unit to ensure you keep your unit operating eff ectively. Please refer to the instruction manual for more details.


List of materials

ItemDescription
1Dust sheets for floors and furniture
2Masking tape ideally combined with a plastic sheet for light switches and sockets
3Craft knife, fork or perforation tool and possibly a metal ruler
4Jug for water
5Gloves and goggles
6WAGNER steam wallpaper stripper
7Spatula
8Refuse bags

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