Before you get started

A steam stripper is the most efficient way of removing old wall coverings. However, you can just use a bucket of warm water and a sponge to soak the paper before scraping it off.

Take great care when using a steam stripper as you are effectively working with boiling water and steam. You must wear gloves and goggles, and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for use precisely.

Paint requires stripping when there are multiple layers of old paint that are both uneven and loosely adhered to the wood and/or previous paint layers below.Exterior window sills, for example, are areas that are common to strip before repainting.

Hot air guns are an alternative to chemicals for stripping paint from woodwork. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines precisely and do not combine the use of a hot air gun with chemical strippers.

Most chemical strippers are now more user-friendly than they used to be, as they are water-based. However, it is still necessary to only work in well ventilated areas, and use sufficient dust sheets to protect other surfaces. Always wear gloves and follow the manufacturer's guidelines. After chemical stripping surfaces must be washed down very carefully to neutralise the surface. The surface must then dry thoroughly before any paint can be applied.

Strip paint

1

Apply paint stripper with an old paintbrush. Thoroughly cover the paintwork that requires stripping. Follow any manufacturers' guidelines precisely.

2

Allow the paint to bubble up and loosen on the paint surface. The time will vary according to how many coats require stripping away.

3

When the paint has softened, use a scraper to scrape off the paint. Remove as much excess as you can before moving on to the next area.

4

For intricate mouldings or joints between different sections of wood, a shavehook is the ideal tool for scraping away layers.

5

A second coat, or more, will generally be required to remove all the paint. The more coats of paint, the more applications of stripper will be required.

6

The last residues can often be removed with some steel wool. Finally, wash down the clean woodwork and allow to dry.

Strip Wallpaper

1

Remove any loose paper by hand first. It is surprising how much will come away 'dry' with ease. Use a scraper along the skirting to lift up the edges.

2

Score the surface of the remaining paper with a purpose-made wallpaper scorer or the edge of a scraper, to help steam penetrate beneath the paper.

3

Fill the steam stripper with water as per the manufacturer's guidelines. Continue to follow the guidelines precisely when using the machine.

4

Once the water in the wallpaper stripper is boiling, hold the steam plate against the wallpaper surface. Check under the plate after 10-15 seconds.

5

Move the plate to the next area while scraping away the previously steamed area of paper with a scraper. Resteam any areas of paper that still stick.

6

If the paper doesn't come away easily, you can also leave the plate in place for a few seconds longer before moving to the next position.