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Wallpaper Stripping (Steaming)

Skill Level: Beginner


Most people hate the job of wallpaper stripping but with a little forward planning and knowing just what kind of wallpaper you are dealing with makes this process a lot easier. Apart from the satisfaction of having a good clean surface to attach the new wallpaper, I can let my mind wander all over the place whilst methodically stripping paper. Think of it as yoga!

Depending on the kind of wallpaper that needs to be removed and the wall behind it will determine the best method to use. It would be glorious if all wallpaper was dry strippable; test yours by lifting a corner and easing it back from the wall at a low angle. You just might be lucky – job done in an hour. For the rest of us unlucky ones, it will take just a little bit longer as we will have to wet the surface of the wallpaper with water and wallpaper remover solvent and scrape it off. A paper coated with vinyl or foil will not soak up liquid unless it is scratched or perforated in some way. This is to allow the fluid to seep into the adhesives layer of paper underneath the finish. Be careful not to scratch the wall too deeply in your enthusiasm. Now you can decide which way you would like to remove the wallpaper; dry stripping, water & solvent stripping or steam stripping. Hand on heart I have to admit that unless the paper to be stripped is minute I will always opt for the steam stripper, it’s so easy! However, I will describe the three different ways just in case you cannot access a steamer at the time when you have a fancy to start decorating.
Stripping wallpaper makes a mess whichever way you tackle it. To give a clean finish I usually tape a 1 metre border of plastic sheeting around the room so all the stripped paper, debris and water droplets can be just rolled up and disposed of.


Fill up & Plug in the Steamer

Following your steamer instructions; carefully fill with water to the desired level, ensure the cap is on tightly & plug into the main as to begin heating the water.

Score the Wallpaper


If you have a non porous finish on the wallpaper, score it with a scoring tool to allow better steam penetration


Begin Steaming

Start steaming at the top or bottom of the wall by holding the steaming plate in place until the wallpaper softens.

Work the Plate & Start to Scrape

Move the plate to an adjacent area to steam whilst at the same time scraping the paper away from the area you have already steamed. Right handed people should start on the right side of the wall and left handed visa versa. Unless of course you prefer to scrape with your non dominant hand (I’m sure you’ll find the best way for you to work)

More Steaming & Scraping

When one area has been scraped you will usually find that the next area is nice and soft ready to be scraped.

Tools you will need:

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