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How to Remove Woodchip Wallpaper from Walls & Ceilings Easily

We’ve all heard those woodchip removal horror stories from fellow DIYers. Where woodchip covered in several layers of paint took 2 days to remove or the walls ended up a gouged, damaged mess that needed re-skimming afterwards. If we’re unlucky enough, we might also have had the experience of trying to get rid of the dreaded woodchip ourselves and gone through many of the same trials.

Well fortunately you can now forget those horror stories. In this guide on how to remove woodchip wallpaper from your walls and ceilings you will learn how to complete the job quickly, easily and with the minimum of fuss (and mess).

First off let’s talk about the old or traditional way of removing woodchip wallpaper (in fact any kind of wallpaper). Many decorators say that you must score the wallpaper first with a Stanley knife or scissors. Well they are partly right!

1 - Score the Wallpaper

Scoring the Woodchip before trying to remove it is a very good move, but instead of using a knife or scissors you will find that a specialist wallpaper scoring tool such as Zinsser’s Paper Tiger does a much better job. This is because the PaperTiger will score evenly and consistently (which is very hard to do using a knife freehand) and won’t damage the walls underneath.

2 – Lifting the Woodchip from the Wall

At this stage most people will advise you to either use warm water and a sponge or a steamer to try and lift the woodchip from the wall. I warn you now - both of these methods are incredibly messy. The combination of the water, old wallpaper paste, wood chips and wallpaper makes a nasty, sticky mess. Of these two options using a steamer is far quicker (though it will probably still take you many hours), but there is another option that is much more efficient and far less messy than either of these.

Use a wallpaper removing liquid.

Wallpaper removal gels and liquids like Zinsser’s DIF Gel use special patented enzymes to completely breakdown the wallpaper paste and consequently, do all the hard work for you. All that you need to do is roller or spray on the solution and wait for 15 minutes to allow it to work. Reapply and wait for another 15 minutes (yes go and make yourself a nice cup of tea and read the paper for a while). You’ll then find that that horrible woodchip wallpaper that you’d been having nightmares about simply glides off.
There’s very little, if any, sticky mess because the old wallpaper paste is no longer sticky (the enzymes in DIF Gel breakdown the stickiness of the adhesive). And that’s really how simple it is.

3 – Use a Non-Metal Wallpaper Scraper

If you want to ensure that you don’t end up gouging your walls, ceilings or plasterboard with your scraper (and ruining all your hard? work) , then we advise using Zinsser’s specially developed Paper Scraper that doesn’t have metal blades and prevents you from inadvertently damaging your walls as you remove the wallpaper.

4 - The Cover Up Option

While the best thing to do with woodchip is usually to get rid of it all together, there is another option and that involves cleverly covering it up so that no-one would ever know a roll of woodchip had ever graced your walls. No, we’re not going anywhere near the territory of those plaster-like smoothover products, which frankly make more of a mess of your walls than when you started.

Instead you could consider using an extra thick lining paper such as Wallrock Thermal Liner (3.2 mm thick) or Graphite Insulating Lining Paper (4mm thick) – both of which have the added advantage of being thermally insulating. They are hung just like wallpaper, and because of their thickness can cover most woodchip wallpapers with ease, leaving you with lovely smooth walls.

Remove or Cover Up?

Whichever option you decide to go for, you’ll find that our methods are much easier than the traditional techniques for removing or covering up woodchip wallpaper. They’ll be quicker, less messy and probably save you money in the long run as well.