Might as well be in the sauna!

Gulp, my first post in a few days!  Been incredibly crazing doing….. well DIY!  It’s a full time job, not forgetting my ‘real’ full time job – literally morning, noon and night… 

…yesterday at 5am I was measuring the bathroom, at lunch time I was discussing a new boiler and by night I was buying a new post box for my front door….

Polished off by a sneaky glass of bubbles, just to relax my brain, of course!

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Reverting to today’s lovely topic…. no, not a vase full of flowers but a wallpaper steamer with a vibrant, blossoming bloom.  Well ladies, I struggled to make wallpaper steaming look sexy…. hope you like my floral attempt!

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Removing wallpaper with a steamer (rather than a scraper alone) is incredibly easy and makes light work of scraping, but the amount of steam produced and pores I’m sure it opened on my face…. I might has well have been in the sauna!

Why remove wallpaper?

Either because your wallpaper is urrrrgh, horrific, old-school, tired, wood chip or just plain old knackered….. or you might want to see what is behind the wallpaper as the start of renovation.   My purpose being all of those!

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I actually wasted an awful lot of time removing wallpaper from the walls and ceiling of one room then to realise that the plaster was so soft it needed replacing so all the plaster as well as the wallpaper needed to be removed anyway – that said another wall didn’t need replacing and so it was just to remove the wood chip.  Oh, and having clear ceilings means you can figure out if you’d like them skimmed over or another type of decoration.

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What do you need to remove wallpaper?

There are 2 options, the first almost kills you, the second I highly recommend:

  1. You – Eye goggles, face mask, old clothes, thick-soled shoes.  The work was fiddly so I didn’t wear gloves.
  2. Scraper – £2.39 a pop.  You can just buy one of these and with alot of elbow grease, patience and time slowly but surely make your way around an entire room.  However the problem is that if the wallpaper is stubborn then you might damage the plaster or render below, or weaken it, that is not ideal.  So a scraper on its own is fine for a small section of wall but if you have a large area, then I recommend you buying a scraper and a wallpaper steamer.
  3. Wallpaper steamer – £22.99.  Definitely worth investing if you have large sections of walls/ceiling, even if it makes your house a sauna!  The steam softens the glue and the paper so means you are much less likely to damage the render below with the scraper.  Use with a scraper above.
  4. Rubble sacks for the removed, shredded wallpaper

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What are the steps for wallpaper steaming?

  1. Steamer curly black hose – Attach one end to the blue steamer,retangular head and the other end to the opening on the front of the steamer unit itself
  2. Care – Steam will come out of the blue steamer head so lie it on its back and put in a place whereby when steam escapes it will not scald you or damage items below
  3. Fill steamer with hot water – Remove the top, circular black cap to show the water opening below and fill the unit with two kettle fulls of hot, boiled water.  Care – on the side of the steamer is etched minimum and maximum levels for adding water – To save continually refilling, I suggest you fill to near to the maximum level.  Replace the black cap over the water opening
  4. Plug in the steamer – This turns the steamer on and it heats the hot water until it evaporates into steam.  Warning – It will make a noise, like a loud kettle boiling – and will continue to make this noise during all steaming.  It perturbed me initially until I got used to it.  Attach the electrical point plug on the far end of the steamer unit

Steamer ready, now time to remove wallpaper!

Attach steamer head:

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Remove black cap:

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Pour in hot water​ then replace black cap:

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Plug in steamer unit:

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Care – You are dealing with steam, that is boiled water.  So be careful not to scald yourself and remember that hot water drips can fall onto you and burn you. 

If at any point you want to stop the steamer, just pull out the electric lead from the back and it will stop immediately.

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  1. Location – Start at the top of the wall (not the bottom, as hot water drips down) or on the ceiling
  2. Steam from head – Wait a few moments for steam to come out of the head and then gently press the inside rectangle against the wallpaper on the top of the wall
  3. Wait – A few seconds for the steam to melt the glue and soften the wallpaper. Then remove steamer head.
  4. Scrape off wallpaper – Gently, so as not to damage the render below, use the scraper to remove the softened wallpaper
  5. Remnants – The wallpaper might be very tough or possibly easy to remove, so you will have to gauge accordingly.  If stubborn, put the steamer head back over the same wallpaper area again and leave for a few more seconds, until the steam works its magic again – the paper will become flimsy and easy to remove with a scraper
  6. Repeat – Repeat this process slowly moving down the wall
  7. Score – If wallpaper is stubborn, I suggest with a Stanley knife you gently score it with vertical score lines at about 15cm intervals and the wallpaper will then tend to peel off to these lines slightly more easily
  8. Warning Slowly the water in the steamer head will evaporate and need replacing.  Repeatedly check the water level and do NOT let it go past the minimum level.  That said, if this does happen accidentally the steamer automatically switches itself off (don’t ask me how I know this!).  
  9. Top Up water – When steamer water level nears minimum, unplug the electric lead from the back of the steamer, wait about 5 minutes for the pressure inside to reduce, then unscrew the top black cap, fill up with another kettle load of hot water, replace the black cap and plug the electric lead back in again.
  10. The end – When you have finished, unplug the electric lead from the back, leave the steamer for 5 minutes for the pressure to reduce, then open the top black cap, unscrew the hose pipe and pour the hot water away
  11. Rubble sacks – This creates lots of mess on the floor, and on you!  Put discarded wallpaper into rubble sacks

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Then admire your wallpaper-free wall!

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3 thoughts on “Might as well be in the sauna!

  1. What a lovely surprise I had this morning! You sound as bubbly as your favourite tipple! I’ve been busy redecorating too but my DIY days are over so I have gathered a posse of handymen to do the necessary. My last big project is installing a new kitchen in the Spring then I’ll be able to plan some holidays.
    I couldn’t contemplate staying here over Christmas and NewYear, so I’ve taken an apartment in Cologne for Kristine, Carlo, Nicholas and myself from the 23rd until the 29th then we’ll all return to Italy where I’ll stay until the 9th of January.
    I’m sure you will be celebrating Christmas in style with your present friends – have a wonderful time and I know it won’t take you long to acquire a whole new set of interesting people. If you ever write your memoirs, I’d love to have a copy! In the meantime, I’ll be reading your blog from time to time to find out “What Kate does next” 😃 🐾 Vargo is with me while Wendy is in New York. XX

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    1. Hiya, lovely to hear from you. I received your message though haven’t published, simply as wasn’t sure if was for all to read 🙂

      Am chuckling, always good to have a team of local handymen! Good luck with your kitchen, I remember its a great size and nice overlooking the garden.

      Last Monday ‘proper’ workmen started on my flat – crazy with 4 window fitters, 2 electricians, 3 plasterers not forgetting the plumber! Oh, and then water wouldn’t stop running from my tap so the water board had to come out same day emergency and dig up the pavement!

      Never made so many cups of strong tea in a week in my life – But astonishing progress, from bare rafters / joists I now have walls to paint this weekend before final ceiling lights and new boiler next week. Not quite sure kitchen will be installed for cooking roast turkey but will be close!

      Delighted you’re going to Cologne, sounds a lovely relaxing break with your family. I’m seeing my friends locally – they have a huge family so there will be about 24 of us! I insisted on contributing so am doing pigs in blankets and the prunes/apricot variety.

      Love writing this blog, it’s my creative output… until last week’s madness it was almost daily then for 2 weeks I have to keep my head down to focus on actual DIY, picking radiators tonight so will post again shortly. I have a LOT of photos I can’t wait to share in the next few days!

      Smiled about Vargo – lovely that you have such a special relationship. Am sure he loves his holiday with you.

      Whoops, an essay! Better dash… have a wonderful break and here’s to a great 2017 xx

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