Another post about wallpaper

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Ok, so I said there was nothing more to say about wallpaper stripping but it turns out there is. When I was researching the best tools for this I couldn’t find anything which conclusively said that a steamer was better than any other approach. Consequently I tried manually scoring the paper, soaking then scraping. When this proved to be too arduous I moved up to a borrowed hand-held steamer. This was better but still seemed to take too long and require too much effort – remember my house is only small but every surface is covered in wallpaper. So I concluded that it was time to graduate to a serious steamer.

I got the appropriately named Titan and the effect is incredible. The heat is way more intense than the hand held model so it only takes a minute or two of pressing to the wall and the paper melts off in large, soft sheets. Suddenly wallpaper stripping is almost a joy. There are still tricky aspects but now I can start a section of wall knowing that I’ll be able to get it done within a reasonably short time without arm wrestling with the paper and knackering the surface of the wall. It also makes short work of any stubborn lining paper and glue – frequently more trouble than the top layer of paper.

These walls and window were only an afternoon’s work, previously they would have taken double that and there would have been loads of tufts and glue leftover. The one wrinkle in this day’s work was the discovery that the window insets (what’s the correct term for those?) are lined with chipboard. Though I’d be quite happy to leave it on show, it’s extremely absorbent so gets very wet when steamer is applied. The glue also bonds more tightly with the wood fibre so is harder to remove and inevitably destroys some of the surface in the process. I’ll have to review this when dry. Might just have to paint this.

Pros and cons of heavy duty steamer

Pros

  • Large capacity of tank
  • Continuous boiling generates enormous amount of steam
  • Stubborn wallpaper and glue falls away in seconds
  • Very light hand-held plate attached by hose to boiler, saves having to lift the heating element and water while working
  • Kinder to the wall – the easier the paper comes off, the less effort required and therefore fewer nicks, scrapes and general damage will occur to the plaster surface

Cons

  • Takes around 10 mins for boiler to reach working temp
  • Boiler allows approximately an hour of steaming before it has to be turned off and refilled requiring cooling down and reheating time
  • Turns the room into a sauna
  • Very real possibility of scalding

In summary I’d say the cons are minor compared to the immense effectiveness of this kind of device. You obviously have to be careful working with hot steam but otherwise, it’s a no brainer for me. If you have lot of old, painted and layered paper to remove, go straight for a machine like this, you won’t regret it.

Finally I came across the plasterer’s signatures which date this work (and I assume the replacement windows) to what appears to be 1985 and 1990.

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