Want to get rid of woodchip on your walls? It's not easy, but it's doable - here's how.
Woodchip wallpaper was really popular in the 1970s and it's basically a cheap paper with small chips of wood within it. It gives the effect of a textured wall finish and was the ideal choice for hiding imperfect or cracked walls.
If you're unlucky enough to have moved into a house wallpapered with woodchip, it's probably already been painted over a number of times, so removing it is going to be quite a job.
There's no quick way to get rid of woodchip wallpaper - but there are ways to make its removal quicker.
First of all you need to penetrate the layers of paint that are likely to have coated the wallpaper over the years so that the water you apply can get behind the paper - and therefore be easier to pull off. The best way to do that is to use a scoring tool that pierces the wallpaper - there are lots on offer at DIY stores in the wallpapering section.
Next, you need to use a steam wallpaper stripper and scraper. You could use a sponge and a bucket of hot water instead, but it will make the job much, much slower, and messier. Follow the manufacturer or hirer's instructions, but, ideally, allow the steam to penetrate the wallpaper for a few seconds before you try to get the scraper behind it. If you're lucky, the wallpaper will lift off in strips; if you're unlucky, it will come off in bits. Start at a join in the wallpaper between drops, then work upwards towards the ceiling.
Removing woodchip makes a horrible mess. The combination of the water, old wallpaper paste, wood chips and wallpaper makes a sticky, slippery mess that will attach itself to your clothes, shoes, ladder and floor. Our advice? Ensure you cover your flooring properly before you begin, take all necessary safety precautions when you're up the ladder and use an residual current device (RCD) where the steam stripper plugs in.
Be aware that the wood chips themselves probably won't all come off as you strip the paper. Inevitably many get left behind, so be prepared to go back over the walls time and again to remove every single one before you fill the walls and wallpaper again.
There are products that claim to provide a perfect disguise for woodchipped walls - such as Polycell's SmoothOver, which is rollered onto the woodchip wallpaper, then skimmed flat using a SmoothOver tool. However, if you're renovating the whole house from scratch and want the job done properly, we suggest you remove the wallpaper, repair the walls and get a perfect finish. Just want a quick job done? Try a disguise like this - worse comes to worse, you can always tackle it properly another time...
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