wood chip wallpaper- how horrible is it to remove?

(26 Posts)
pippala Fri 12-Oct-12 01:32:08

Yeh we tendered on a complete do upper and won the tender!
We hope to complete in four weeks.
The WHOLE house is covered in painted wood chip.
We have budgetted to have the whole house replastered but in the meantime we as in I have to remove the wood chip.
I intend to hire a wallpaper steamer but can anyone give me some tips?
Is wood chip really that much of a bitch to remove?

Brugmansia Fri 12-Oct-12 07:20:20

I've not had to remove wood chip recently but our house has every room in anaglypta, which is similar in that it's textured and then painted on top.

It's mostly been fine using a steamer. I've found if you score the surface first so the steam can get through the paint it's often possible to gradually remove a whole sheet in one complete piece relatively easily. I start at the ceiling and gradually peel it down. Where it's been worse is when it's turned out there's a second different wallpaper underneath.

You may find the plaster underneath is in ok condition and doesn't need to be completely replastered.

TheAngelshavetheOod Fri 12-Oct-12 07:39:54

Depends how much paint is on top. It's a slow job and rarely get strips in one go.

whatinthewhatnow Fri 12-Oct-12 07:55:07

it's horrible! Our whole house was woodchip with other paper underneath and paint on top. It took months (we were both working and had a baby at the same time) and was hell. we had a scorer and a steamer and it all came off in little bits. There's still a tiny bit left on my landing that we missed. It winks at me when I walk past.

If you can afford it hire a decorator. We couldn't. If you mention wallpaper stripping to my husband he still blanches, and it was 4 years ago.

but, congrats on the new house. It will be worth it.

Its awful. BUT so worth it.

If you can afford to pay someone to do it choose that option.

Bluestocking Fri 12-Oct-12 08:13:43

Yes, it's an absolute weapons-grade bitch. I think people only ever put woodchip up in case of desperation. In my (extensive) experience, woodchip always covers really bad plaster with lots of blown areas. This is probably why some areas in a room that's been woodchipped often seem to have been stuck on with glue as well as normal wallpaper paste, so you might find that there are some areas which are really, really stuck on and which you have to remove in tiny fragments.
Steamer is good but I would recommend scoring and then wiping down with water and leaving it to soak in for an hour or so before you start. A little washing up liquid in the water seems to help. I used a big car washing sponge. Obviously, start at the top of the wall (I sincerely hope the ceilings haven't been woodchipped? if they have, you'll start there) and work down. It also STINKS to high heaven, especially if there have been smokers in the house.
But it will be lovely when you have finished!

PigletJohn Fri 12-Oct-12 09:48:27

If you're doing up the whole house, I would take a garden sprayer in, filled with hot water and a little WUL. Turn off the electricity.

Start spraying at the top of the walls as it will run down. Use a pro scraper with a long handle. The paint will prevent the water soaking in easily so mist it repeatedly. Your scraper will knock the tops off the pimples so water can get in. You can spray another room while it soaks in then come back and spray again. Repeat. When you scrape it off, start at the top of the wall so water can run down behind the remaining paper. Keep spraying.

A steamer will take longer, and if held over the same patch of wall, will make the plaster burst off.

You can assume that the woodchip was put on to hide horrible plaster so the walls will need at least patching or skimming. If you want to take all the plaster off, a garden spade will do it fairly quickly.

I prefer the bucket & sponge over the steamer for woodchip - with the steamer you can find yourself steaming it for longer and longer to get through the layers of paint (specially if the bastards have used gloss) and then suddenly you're gouging out chunks of softened plaster.

But definitely score as much as possible before starting - we have a thing with 3 scratchy balls which you can run all over the surface to break through the paint, which does lots of shallow scratches at the same time, safer than using the pointy corner of the scraper.

We also have an amazing irregular diamond pattern on the lounge wall where someone before us had clearly used the pointy scraper corner...

I would assume your plaster will be a mess - very few people actually like woodchip, so it's normally been put on for a reason. In our house it was obvious that the first occupant had wallpapered without sealing the plasterboard first, and then the next person had gouged it off leaving plaster more like the walls of a mud hut, before giving up and wallpapering over everywhere, a mix of proper paper and woodchip, which we have gradually removed.

MzPixielated Fri 12-Oct-12 10:13:06

looks around her woodchip wallpaper room sadly if your replacing the plaster anyhoo (and its fairly safe to say that if its woodchipped the plaster is shite) then just go to town with a big sponge and a spade, can be very therapeutic smashing walls... HTH

jade80 Fri 12-Oct-12 21:04:44

If there are walls you will definitely replaster then forget stripping it, just buy an sds chisel/drill and take the lot off at once- paper and plaster. Easier than a spade!

pippala Fri 12-Oct-12 21:44:43

OMG not looking forward to this! So how long roughly will it take me- just me to strip the walls of a three bed semi with lounge, dining room,kitchen and bedrooms to do? most rooms are average 10 x 11!

Bluestocking Fri 12-Oct-12 21:47:31

I think you might be better off just taking all the plaster off rather than trying to get the woodchip off and preserve what is almost certainly really bad plaster. Liking the sound of jade80's SDS chisel drill!

DevaDiva Fri 12-Oct-12 21:52:48

A decorator friend recommends using a wood plane on shortest setting to take the tops off the chips prior to steamer/sponging. Good luck!

CharlotteBronteSaurus Fri 12-Oct-12 21:54:08

horrific
our stuck steadfastly and had to be prised off in about 4 different layer
especially the bastarding stuff on the ceilings

it's worth it though. we have done two rooms now , and i still stroke the smooth new walls and sigh with contentment every now and again.

Awkwardsquad Fri 12-Oct-12 21:54:20

No idea! Just thought I would join in the sharing of woodchip pain. We had woodchip over gloss paint over woodchip in our living room. Lovely.

Oh, and over-use of the steamer in my mum's flat brought the ceiling paper down. So I'd go for scoring and soaking too. We used a professional wallpaper stripping tool thingie (v sharp with a long handle), and that helped.

nellyjelly Fri 12-Oct-12 21:56:49

It is awful. All the walls in our house had it. We managed to get it off with a steamer but the plaster underneath was inevitably horrible. We still have woodchip in our hall. I just can't face taking it off so have learned to live with it.

WithManyTots Fri 12-Oct-12 22:02:59

Our house had it on every wall, upstairs and downstairs, acres of the stuff.

It took about 8 years off and on to get it all done. I tried many techniques over this time, but the best was...
Score a large cross in the center of the wall, then working from the scored edges and points steam then peel off just the top layer. Then gently steam off the bottom layer. The top layer will come off in reasonable sized chunks, but even so an 8 foot x 8 foot wall takes an evening to complete

PigletJohn Fri 12-Oct-12 22:19:52

garden sprayer!

WynkenBlynkenandNod Sat 13-Oct-12 06:58:35

We had it in the kitchen. I spent 5 hours and had only removed a small patch so lost patience and called in a decorator. Within two hours he had stripped the whole room with something similar to this.

Last year I finally got round to getting rid of it in what was about to become our bedroom and found it much easier than I thought. The blade cut through the top layer then a damp cloth with warm water softened the rest to easily scrape it off. We were lucky and got away without having to replaster.

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Sun 14-Oct-12 17:35:49

We had woodchip in our old house. I took it off one wall which was suffering from condensation. It took me ages. I left it on everywhere else.

We did this. It took DP and I about two days to do a room, using a steamer. I preferred to use a knife to score vertical lines, so it came off in big strips, rather than one of those scorer tools which tore it up into tiny pieces.

However the good news was that whoever decorated our flat obviously liked woodchip confused as the walls underneath were pretty decent, we just had to fill a few small holes and paint over the top, and now it looks lovely.

We also removed the cheap, 80's style laminate flooring, and found lovely floorboards underneath. Our flat had been rented to students for years before we bought it and I actually think it had just been decorated in the cheapest possible way, with no regard to appearance. So don't necessarily assume that woodchip wallpaper and laminate flooring were only ever put there to cover up horrors underneath.

Sanding the floors, now that was a real bitch of a job grin

clam Sun 14-Oct-12 18:18:51

Haven't read all replies so apologies of repeating anything.
Woodchip wasn't just a fashion trend. People tended to put it up to cover up a shite surface beneath. It covered a multitude of sins. So be prepared for what you might find.
The last lot I had to take off appeared to have been stuck on with superglue. Was an absolute bastard to get off and brought half the plaster with it, plus showed a dodgy wall beneath.

Good luck!

YokoUhOh Sun 14-Oct-12 18:30:51

Absolutely horrendous - we had it all over our upstairs when we moved in, with at least 3 layers of paint on top...

...as others have said, score crosses across the entire wall then apply steamer/boiling water. Leave for a while if possible, then get to work with a scraper. We had to cover the bare plaster with lining paper before re-painting as the plaster was a bit grim. Good luck!

dancinginthemoonlight Sun 14-Oct-12 18:33:10

I still have night mares about getting ours off. Three biggest help? Wine and friends who owe you a favour...

bodiddly Sun 14-Oct-12 19:46:38

I haven't read the whole thread but people have given you plenty of advice as to the best way to remove it. My word of warning would be to be very careful if you get asthma or do too much of this at one time. I did a 2 bedroom place and then had it skimmed etc and the amount of dust and loose debris in the air led to me needing inhalers for the first time. It may seem excessive but I would definitely recommend a mask!

ogredownstairs Mon 15-Oct-12 19:28:34

Er, if you can possibly afford it I would pay someone to do it. We did and it was worth every penny.

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