Stripping wallpaper can be a real chore to do, fortunately there are ways to make things easier, namely wallpaper streamers. Wallpaper steamers come in various different types and Cromwell stocks a large range with major brands like Earlex.
Wallpaper steamers operate by using steam to break down the adhesive and loosen the layer of wallpaper in need of removal, making it easier to scrape or even peel off. Whilst they differ by design most wallpaper steamers consist of a water tank a hose and a steam plate. They are powered by the mains which operates the heating element, much like you would find in a household kettle. The steam then travels up the hose to the plate which is pressed against the wall and held in place until the wallpaper is saturated with steam enough to allow it to be scraped away.
Some types of wallpaper can be notoriously tricky to remove as anyone who's attempted to remove woodchip from a wall can attest to! Steamers make the job a lot easier by helping to dissolve the adhesive and weakening the structural integrity of the wallpaper, allowing the scraping tool to remove larger pieces of wallpaper and much more efficiently.
Whilst many wallpaper steamers differ in design, they all follow a similar pattern at least in terms of components. They consist of a water tank or main body along with a hose for steam delivery to the steam plate.
• Tank capacity - this will determine how much water can be converted to steam, the bigger the tank the more steam can be generated before needing to refill.
• Hose length - The length of the hose will determine the reach of the steamer. A longer hose is particularly useful for taller walls as you will have to pause less to position the tank.
• Steam plate size - The size of the steam plate determines how much surface area of the wallpaper comes into contact with steam. A larger steam plate allows for greater coverage.
• Power - the more wattage the quicker your steamer will heat the water in the tank, meaning less waiting times.
• Power cable length - A longer cable will allow for more range of movement.
• Safety - Water and electricity combined with heat can be a potent recipe for disaster. Be sure that the streamer you choose meets UK Safety Regulations and the components are secure and tight.
How long does it take for a wallpaper steamer to heat up?
This will depend on a few factors. The tank capacity, the amount of water in the tank, and the wattage of the appliance. On average it can take up to 12 minutes for the tank to heat and generate steam.
How long should you hold a wallpaper steamer to the wall for?
On average this should be roughly 30 seconds as this will allow the steam to start to penetrate the adhesive paste. Sometimes longer periods maybe required in the case of tough wallpaper like woodchip, but be sure not to damage the plaster underneath as prolonged expose could cause the plaster to crumble.