How to Remove Woodchip Wallpaper

A lot is made of removing woodchip wallpaper but for the most part, it’s going to be a lot easier than you’d think – minus the hard graft! With that in mind, I’ve put together a little guide sharing the methods I use to remove woodchip wallpaper.

How to Remove Woodchip Wallpaper

Every decorator has their own way of doing almost everything and the process of removing woodchip wallpaper is no different. Therefore, I’ve put together 3 different methods and encourage you to choose the method that you think suits you best.

Method One: Score and Soak

Perhaps the most popular method is to score the paper and soak it until it becomes loose enough to peel off easily. Whilst this is my preferred method, I always try to remove the paper dry first as sometimes the woodchip wallpaper hasn’t adhered properly to the surface and thus can easily be peeled off. This is often the case if the woodchip wallpaper is to be removed from the ceiling. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Using a flexible filler knife, score along the edges of the woodchip wallpaper. I find that flexible filler knives don’t dig into the wall as much as a dedicated scraper knife and thus preserves the surface for future decorating.
  2. Now you’ve created an opening, slide the flexible filler underneath the wallpaper to create space between the surface and the paper.
  3. If the paper is loose enough, you can try peeling off the entire roll at this point. If not, you will likely need to soak it.
  4. Perforate sections of the wallpaper with your scraper, then, using a cheap sprayer, spray the section with hot water and allow it to soak into the paper. You can use a sponge to apply the water if you want to avoid water flying everywhere. Some decorators like to use soapy water or water mixed with fabric softener during this step.
  5. Scrape away the soaked wallpaper. It should come off pretty easily at this point.
  6. Continue steps 4 and 5 until the entirety of the wallpaper has been removed.

Method Two: Using a Wallpaper Stripper

Another method to remove woodchip wallpaper is to use a dedicated wallpaper stripper such as Zinsser DIF in conjunction with the Paper Tiger Triple Head scoring tool. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Use the Tiger Triple Head scoring tool to score the wallpaper. This is a relatively quick process, all you need to do is run along the wallpaper horizontally or vertically and the scoring tool will effortlessly perforate it.
  2. Mix Zinsser DIF with warm water and start applying to the wallpaper using either a sponge, roller or sprayer. I prefer to use a roller with a masonry sleeve as it seems to help penetrate the wallpaper better than the other methods but feel free to use whatever you have available.
  3. Allow the Zinsser DIF solution some time to work its magic on the old wallpaper paste.
  4. Use a flexible filling knife and start the laborious and messy task that is scraping the loose wallpaper from the wall.

Method Three: Use a Steamer

I’ll be honest, using a steamer on woodchip wallpaper is probably my least favourite method as it’s very hit or miss. Nevertheless, if you have a wallpaper steamer handy and want to use this method, these are the steps you need to take to give yourself the best chance of removing the wallpaper:

    1. Protect floors and furnishings with dust cloths.
    2. Wear a dust mask and gloves.
    3. Fill the wallpaper steamer with hot water and when ready, slowly and steadily apply the steam across the surface.
    4. Test as you go to see if the woodchip wallpaper has been steam-softened sufficiently. If hasn’t softened, simply apply more steam to the surface.
    5. Use a long-handled metal scraper with a firm but even pressure to remove the material from the substrate.

As mentioned above, this is not my favourite technique, mainly because steamers tend to be too weak to soften the old wallpaper paste which means the job takes a long time and requires a lot of patience (something I don’t typically have!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Removing Woodchip Wallpaper Dangerous?

Whilst you won’t face the same dangers removing woodchip paper as you would if you remove Artex (think asbestos) but you will need to be careful, especially when it comes to using sharp objects such as Stanley knives and filling knives.

How Much Does it Cost to Have Woodchip Paper Removed?

If you’re not comfortable attempting to remove woodchip paper yourself or you simply don’t have the time or patience, hiring a labourer/decorator for a day is an ideal alternative.

The price you can expect to pay will be impacted by:

  • How much woodchip paper you need removed
  • The location you’re in

Typically, it shouldn’t take longer than a day to remove the woodchip paper from your home so you’ll likely be paying a day rate. Day rates range quite significantly depending on where you’re located. For example, if you’re in an affluent area of London or Edinburgh, you can expect to pay upwards of £250.

On the other hand, if you’re based in places such as Manchester, Glasgow or Cornwall, you can expect to pay between £150 – £200.

What Should You Do After Removing Woodchip Wallpaper?

After removing woodchip wallpaper, it’s very likely that you’ll need to do a fair bit of preparation before wallpapering or painting on the substrate.

Ensuring all old wallpaper paste has been removed is perhaps the most critical step in the redecoration phase as it will heavily impact the success, or failure, of your future project. Left behind wallpaper paste will likely cause issues such as flaking or peeling paint.

Furthermore, you’ll need to make good any surface imperfections with filler before re-decorating.

We have a complete guide available here: How to Paint a Wall After Removing Wallpaper