Stripping Woodchip is hell

Stripping woodchip wallpaper

Stripping woodchip is hell. Woodchip is the most depressing thing it makes everything look awful. Woodchip is a paper with small flecks of wood in it, it gives a bumpy texture which can be seen even when painted over time and time again. Our whole house, in every room, wall and ceiling was covered in woodchip. I needed a removal strategy. Each time I tackled a new room I would try a new technique and I learnt a lot,  now I think I have perfected my technique and I am a pro, I still hate the stuff though.

Old method to remove wallpaper

My friends mum was a Professional Painter/Decorator, so as a child if we wanted a bit of cash she would pay us to come strip a room, (how we enjoyed telling people that we had spent the day stripping).

The method was always this

  • score the walls with the corner of the stripping blade in a cross hatch pattern
  • put washing up liquid in a bucket and top up with warm water,
  • Put on rubber gloves and slop on soapy water with a big sponge
  • remove the paper with a stripping blade

It was wet and sticky and horrible to clear up, you had to wear rubber gloves. Since then I have developed better techniques which don’t involve rubber gloves (but if you like them feel free to wear them, each to their own)

Woodchip wallpaper removal

I will let you into my little secret, but before I do can I just say I have tried every shortcut and product on the market before coming up with this method! Also it is designed for houses which have had coat after coat of wallpaper and paint and woodchip – so if you only have one layer of tight wallpaper to remove you can probably just remove it with a steamer or the method I described above (score, soapy water, scraping blade).

Our woodchip has been put on top of layers of paper and paint and then been painted itself a few times. It is un-penetrable and impervious to steam and liquids.

First stage


  •  A blade scraper is the tool of choice they cost about £5 and I like the one from screwfix as it has foam grips but the Harris is good too.

  • Spare pack of blades for the scraper (you need to keep it sharp)
  • A steam wallpaper stripper – I have broken three and have learned that they are best used with one full load of water (this lasts about an hour and a bit which is long enough!) . When this is used up turn the machine off fill with cold water and leave it alone – go have a cup of tea.
  • Small stripping knife – I like a flexible blade that can get under the paper so cheaper the better normally!
  • Dust sheets
  • Wallpaper scorer tool – like this 

Method for stripping woodchip

  • Put dust sheets down (ha ha in this photo I got carried away and forgot) it makes clearing up so much easier
  • Use the blade scraper to remove as much of the paper as possible, in my experience it often come off in large sheets leaving if you are really lucky bare plaster or otherwise it will leave the brown paper backing. In my experience it is often a mixture of the two. The blade scraper is quite therapeutic but you do get showered in woodchip fibres

 Stripping woodchip

woodchip stripping

  • Once you have dry stripped the walls then it is time to get the wallpaper stripper on.
  • The wet stripper works quickly on the paper backing and you can scrape the walls quickly. It is messy though. The reason to not start with the steamer is that I find the paper comes off in smaller sections which takes longer and is not as satisfying, also you have to hold the steamer on the wall for longer for it to penetrate the paint which can damage the plaster.

woodchip stripping how to


Here the process is slightly different for stripping woodchip off ceilings. This is because in my experience the ceiling has one tight layer of woodchip (though our entrance hall was layers so I used the above method – yes I forgot the dust sheet but do as I say, not as I have done, I have learnt from this so you don’t need to)

stripping woodchip from ceilings

This is more like the traditional method I described above but with new technology. We now use the scoring tool which is great fun to run all over the ceiling and is quicker and more consistent way to score the wallpaper. Instead of hot soapy water it is a steam wallpaper stripper, and instead of a stripping knife it is a stripping blade.

Stripping woodchip is not fun, however, every time it is done I thank God that we will never have to do that wall ever again.

Good Luck and maybe you will find something beautiful on the wall like this which is an original Victorian stencil we discovered.

stencilling victorian

or  notes on the wall from the past like this one below David Crawford Decorators Ltd are still going

removing wallpaper

or even the original wallpaper which is usually tissue thin.

victorian wallpaper

victorian wallpaper



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    1. Happenuponsays: Happenupon

      I “like” (hate) the way the fibres seem to get in the air and you can feel yourself breathing them in whilst you work. I am currently doing my office so feel your pain.

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