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How to remove wallpaper with a steamer

One of the best things about wallpaper? It doesn’t have to be there forever (unless you want it to, of course). Whether you’re sick of the sight of your current wallpaper or just fancy a bit of a change, it’s easy to remove wallpaper and get something new up all by yourself.

Choose from the three main wallpaper removal methods depending on the type of paper you have up and just how stubbornly attached it is. You could get to work with a trusty stripping knife, or you could simply peel it off (if it’s peel-able, that is).

One of the most popular methods? Remove it with a wallpaper steamer. A wallpaper steamer works by using hot water to soften the adhesive between the wallpaper and the wall. It’s quick, it’s effective and, let’s face it, it’s kinda fun.

Intrigued? Here’s how to remove wallpaper with a steamer:

First thing's first: the prep.

Don't forget to prep

Gather your goods and get your working space ready for steaming.

But first:

  • Take all your pictures and hangings off the walls.
  • Protect your furnishings and knick-knacks by removing them from the room. If any furniture pieces are too heavy to lug around, cover them up with dust sheets and move to the centre of the room.
  • Save your flooring (and yourselves from a time-consuming clean) by covering it up with drop sheets.
  • Safety first - put on protective gloves and glasses before starting.
  • Put your wallpaper steamer on and allow it to heat up for at least 10 minutes. 

    (Tip: Rent a steamer instead of going all out and buying one. Unless you’re planning frequent wallpaper removal, that is.)

The humidity makes the peeling all the more easy (and satisfying)

Wallpaper steaming process

Ready to steam it all off? Here’s how:

Step 1

Starting from the bottom of the wall, hold the steamer’s plate against the wallpaper. Wait for a minute or until you start to see signs of dampness on the paper

Step 2

Gently start to scrape the wallpaper away from the wall using a wide scraper. Work with extra care as the plaster surface behind can be fragile and easily damaged.

Step 3

Start to move the wallpaper steamer in an upward direction, softening sections and carefully removing them with your scraper as you go.

Step 4

Work on one wallpaper strip at a time, always steaming from bottom to top. Once you’ve removed all the strips and scraps are off, dispose of them in an eco-friendly way.

(Tip: Consult your wallpaper steamer’s manual for any specific instructions, as they may vary by machine.)

What to watch out for

Be mindful to not refill your steamer with fresh water when it’s on; it's best to unplug it for a minute or two before topping up the water tank to avoid any mess.

Then if any drywall comes off along with your wallpaper, stop immediately. This could be a result of the drywall not being properly sealed with paint. Rectify the issue with glue, filler and sealer before steaming on.

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All off? You now have a blank canvas for your brand-new Lick wallpaper...

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