Welcome to Wallpaper Steamer .Org
Welcome to the number one resource for wallpaper steamers. This site covers all aspects of wallpaper strippers from buying, operation and maintenance.
Wallpaper steamers .org is continually updated as new wallpaper steamers are brought to market, we are not connected to any manufactures so all the product reviews you see on this site are honest and unbiased.
What is a Wallpaper Steamer?
A Wallpaper steamer is a fantastic labour saving device, anyone who has tried to remove wallpaper with just a wet sponge and a scraper will know what a long and frustrating process is can be.
Modern manufacturing techniques mean wallpaper steamers can be purchased at very reasonable prices, established companies like Bosch, Balk and Decker and Earlex all have several consumer models available.
Wallpaper steamers are essentially a cross between a steam iron that you’d use on your clothes and a traditional kettle or boiler.
A hose is attached to the to the boiler section of the wallpaper steamer, at the end of the hose is a hotplate with holes in it.
The boiler section heats water which creates steam, this steam is funneled along the tube and escapes through the holes in the hotplate while at the same time heating it.
Using a steamer is also an environmentally friendly alternative to using chemical wall strippers, these produce noxious fumes and contain corrosive chemicals that can be harmful to the skin and eyes.
Wallpaper steamers are suitable for use on most types of wall, although some caution should be exercised when using the on gypsum board (drywall, plasterboard) as this type of material is susceptible to water damage.
Wallpaper Steamer Uses
If you have ever tried to remove a stamp from an envelope you’ll know that the adhesive make it hard to get off, however, add some steam and the stamp comes off cleanly.
The principle is the same when it comes to wallpaper, scraping on it’s own can take hours, even the arduous process of dampening the wallpaper with a wet sponge makes little difference. Use a wallpaper steamer and watch as the steam coming from the hotplate.
Wallpaper steamers are especially useful at removing wallpaper that has been on the wall for a long time, older adhesives were stronger and are much harder to get off.
Wall paper that has a layer of paint on top of it can also be hard to remove with just a scraper alone, the paint effectively seals the paper to the wall.
If you want to remove more than one layer of wallpaper, or lining paper that is designed to stay on the wall more permanently than wallpaper.
Wallpaper steamers are suitable for all the examples above. However, wallpaper steamers are not confined to just removing wallpaper. They are effective a removing any type of adhesive and work especially well on bathroom tiles. Many units can be fitted with additional attachments that allow the steamer to become a cleaner. Steam is very effective at cleaning tiled floors and cooking appliances like oven, stove tops and barbecues.
Features to Consider when Shopping for a Wallpaper Steamer
The wallpaper steamer you choose will depend on the task that you need it for, here some of their features.
Power Rating – Steamers come in several power ratings usually ranging from 1000 to 3000 watts. Units with a higher power rating will heat the water and create steam quicker than those with a lesser power rating. Lower rated devices are prone to running out of steam, causing you to have to wait until the unit heats up again.
A 3000 watt wallpaper steamer will provide on demand steam, heating the water in the reservoir almost instantly.
Run Time – To preserve the heating elements present in the boiler part of the steamer, each unit has a set run time, after which the steamer will shutdown to allow the heating elements to cool before the unit can be used again. The run time of wallpaper steamers varies from model to model, the more expensive units, higher powered units tend to have a longer run time.
Most units have a run time of at least one hour, run time will be important to people who want to accomplish a lot of work with their wallpaper steamer in a short time.
Most units have a run time of at least one hour, a longer run time is usually more important to professional home improvement workers rather than those who do the occasional light decorating.
Capacity – The water capacity of a wallpaper steamer will determine how long you will be able to operate the unit for before having to stop and refill. The average capacity of most wallpaper steamers is 1 gallon (4 liters), this amount of water should allow you to use the device for at least 30 minutes before needing to refill. Cheaper units usually have a smaller capacity, it can be time consuming and annoying to stop and refill every few minutes.
Hose and Power Cable Length – How large is the space that you are going to be working in? Many open plan apartments and lofts have high ceilings. As the actual boiler part of the wallpaper steamer needs to stay solid and level on a flat surface, the hose with attached hotplate will need to reach as high as you need to go. If your ceiling is 20 feet high, you’ll need to make sure the unit you buy has a hose of at least that length. Those who plan to use the unit for commercial purposes should get the longest possible hose they can.
Power cable length can be an issue is you plan to carry out work in areas where power outlets are in short supply or located far from where you need to used the steamer.
The Size of the Hotplate – The larger the hotplate the bigger the surface area it can cover. Although a small hotplate works the same as a large one, you will be able to remove more wallpaper in a quicker time the larger it it.
Important Safety Features
Hot water and steam can be potentially dangerous, potentially harmful burns can result of using a unit that is not fitted with safety features. Be careful when buying used or old stock items as they may not equipped with these features.
Thermal Cutoff Switches – Should the unit run out of water and boil dry, a thermal cutoff switch will engage and turn the wallpaper steamer off. It is important to purchase a unit fitted with a thermal cutoff switch as will minimize the risk of fire should the unit boil dry.
Pressure Release Valves – A blockage in the hose can cause pressure to build up in the boiler are of the wallpaper steamer. This is because water continues to boil, but the steam created has nowhere to escape. This could cause boiler part of the unit to explode, potentially causing serous injury.
A pressure release valve will vent excess steam should a dangerous level of pressure build up.
How to Operate a Wallpaper Steamer
Safety First - The first thing to remember when operating a wallpaper steamer is safety. The water inside and steam coming from the device is extremely hot and can cause serous injury if contact with the skin is made.
Wear a thick long sleeve shirt or better yet overalls to protect the skin on your arms.
To protect you hands I highly recommend you wear a pair of thick rubber gloves, like the type people use to do dishes, gloves of this type are effective for preventing burns.
If you are using the wallpaper steamer on a ceiling or holding the device about your head, be careful of hot water that may drip from the hotplate. Avoid holding the hotplate directly above you head, extend your arms to minimize the chance of scalding water dripping into you face and eyes.
Use a stepladder or movable scaffold when removing wallpaper from high places, this will help avoid muscle strain caused by over extension of the limbs.
If you are removing wallpaper around power outlets, ensure that the outlet has been deactivated at the fusebox, steam is water vapor, water and electricity do not mix. Take the face plate off of the power outlet in order to full remove the wallpaper around it.
When steam is applied to wallpaper, the some of the chemicals in the paste evaporate, these chemicals may irritate the eyes and lungs, as a precaution I recommend you have a pair of sealed safety goggles on hand and keep the work area well ventilated.
During the time you are using the wallpaper steamer, you may occasionally need to set the hotplate down to attend to something else. Because the hotplate can reach a high temperature it is good to having heat resistant to put on when not in use. For this I find and old biscuit tin or frying pan to be very useful.
Using the Wallpaper Steamer -Before you start make sure that all parts of the wallpaper steamer are connected correctly and that the power cable is not tangled and plugged into a power outlet.
Fill the reservoir in the boiler section of the unit with water up to the maximum indicator.
Turn on the device. While you are waiting for it to reach operating temperature, prepare the wallpaper by using a razor wallpaper scraper or Stanley knife to make small cuts along the surface every few inches. These small breaks in the surface of the wallpaper will allow the steam to penetrate the paper and loosen the adhesive quicker, making removing the wallpaper easier.
Once the device has reached operating temperature, hold the hotplate against the wall for around 8 seconds. Then move the hotplate to another region of the wall while using a wallpaper scraper to remove the wallpaper from the previously steamed area.
Be carful not to hold the hotplate in once position for too long, this may damage the wall below, especially if it is plastered.
Repeat this process across the entire area where you want to remove the wallpaper.
Maintaining Your Wallpaper Steamer
If you live in a hard water area, your wallpaper steamer may be susceptible to damage from calcification. Calcification forms limescale in around areas where water is boiled.
You can prevent the build up of limescale on your device by using softened water. If you have a water softener at home you can pass water through it before use in your wallpaper steamer.
If you don’t have a water softener you can buy distilled water from most hardware shops.
When a wallpaper steamer begins to malfunction due to limescale, you may need to use a descaling solution like those available for kettles. If you do use a descaling solution, read the directions carefully and make sure you throughly rinse all remains of the solution from the device before using it again.
Practice Makes Perfect
The more you use your wallpaper steamer the more quick and efficient you’ll become with the device. I hope you have found this information useful and informative. Please check out some of the other pages for more information on wallpaper removal and products reviews of wallpaper steamers.