Interior Design Projects

How to Remove Woodchip Wallpaper

Having spent 4 days removing woodchip wallpaper from our entire flat, I now feel qualified to tell you my top tips for removing the horrible stuff. Before all of that, there are a few things you need to know…

  1. Woodchip wallpaper was mostly popular in the 70s and 80s, so any wallpaper you’re removing is likely to be old, with several layers of paint. After stripping ours, we saw writing indicating that it was put up in 1981. It doesn’t make a huge difference to removal, but it’s something to bear in mind in terms of how many layers you could be scraping through. Though, we had several layers of wallpaper in some places, which certainly did make a difference.
  2. Woodchip was largely used to cover up problems. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that if you have woodchip wallpaper, there’s some B.S. waiting under it that you’re going to have to deal with. It could be that the plaster is in bad shape, or that there’s no plaster at all! We encountered both of these issues, not to mention mould and other surprises. Do not take the woodchip off unless you are prepared to spend on other potential issues that are revealed. It could be no problems, but it could be some expensive ones.
  3. The level of difficulty depends on what’s under the woodchip, and there’s no easy way to know that until you start peeling. It came off plasterboard like a dream, but it clung to some plastered areas for dear life– it really depends.
  4. Think about things that are mounted on your wall and if you want to remove them. For example, we took off all of our radiators.

Okay, so you’ve read all of that and you still want to remove the woodchip? Good on you. At a minimum, I recommend buying the above supplies. We didn’t use a steamer, but I would be interested to know how the combination of the gel and the steamer may have worked on some of the really tough areas. You may also want to get a smaller scraper if you need to get into some tight areas.

How to Remove the Woodchip Wallpaper:

  1. Score the wallpaper really well with the paper tiger. You just need to roll it over the wall and let it poke holes all over.
  2. Mix the DIF Gel with water according to instructions in your garden sprayer.
  3. Spray the walls really well and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, spray the walls again.
  5. After 15 minutes, I’d recommend spraying again in the area you’re about to scrape because I found the wetter it was, the easier it was to peel, as long as you scored the wall well enough to penetrate. Start scraping.
  6. If you hit a difficult area, make sure it’s scored well enough, respray and let it sit. Let the solution do the work for you.

Some tips:

  • You may find that you scrape of the top layer of woodchip and there’s still some backing paper– that’s okay! Spray the backing paper and it will come off very easily after 10 or 15 minutes.
  • I hear you have to be aware of over saturating the walls because you risk ‘blowing out’ your plaster, whatever that means. That didn’t happen to us, but I feel I should tell you.
  • Make sure to change your scraper blade after a while, or it won’t be working hard enough for you.

It’s hard for me to give advice on how to proceed once you strip the paper, because it will depend on your walls and how aggressive a scraper you were. For us, we’re re-plastering all of our walls. Some don’t have plaster and some are just knackered, which is clearly why the woodchip went up in the first place.

Good luck!

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