woodchip paper direct on plasterboard - oh dear

25 Mar 2013
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United Kingdom
My house was built circa 1974. Almost every visible wall and ceiling has woodchip wallpaper on it. Plus they`ve probably been painted a few times to boot.

Ideally I`d like to be rid of it from ceilings and walls. It is a five bedroom property, so a fair amount of rooms would need stripping.

Unfortunately they`ve papered it directly on to the plasterboard. ARGGH!

I`m aware of various techniques to get woodchip paper off of plaster eg soaking, scraping, scoring, elbow grease. However, on the few test patchs we`ve done, the paper of the plaster board is also coming away places.

So, any good advice for when you`ve not got plaster underneath, just plasterboard?
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Wallpaper scorer and steam stripper.

I think those are exactly the scorers and heat steamer that we have!! Problem is, it's soaking and scoring the paper on the plasterboard underneath too..
I don't think you have an easy way out of this am afraid. Polycell's SmoothOver springs to mind, but it doesn't get good reviews, and is very expensive. Probably cheaper to get a plasterer around and do one room up properly at a time. Sorry you moved into a house where folk had bad taste!
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Yes I agree this is probably going to be a long term expensive and messy project. I think they may have had good taste back in the 70s...possibly. They just committed themselves to it for the next 40years! You never know, maybe it will come back in fashion...

When people on this forum have talked about overboarding, does this mean jus putting plasterboard on top of the woodchip? Or does it mean removing the old plasterboard and replacing? Not sure which would be easier but the former is going to cause probs with things like door surrounds I'm guessing?
Yep over boarding is going straight on top. You could try zinsser DIF and also try a garden pump sprayer to soak the walls, but really damage is unavoidable so as said above getting it skimmed once the papers off would be best. A coat of zinnser gardz over the damaged plaster board will seal and bind it and you can then fill if you want to go down that route.

We have just moved house and had the same problem we stripped the walls to find a mess underneath we had to get a plasterer in to do the work. We used a wallpaper stripper some came off very easy and some was a nightmare! : (

Good luck and hope you get it all sorted.
How about lining the walls with a good quality lining paper, would work out cheaper than replastering the walls.
Yes I did consider the lining option. However from checking other threads on here the consensus seems to be that either a) it looks bad and b) it's liable to fall off.

I guess I could trial it in part of one of the rooms we use less though.
If you are definitely looking for a flat/smooth finish to the walls then it's a case of swings and roundabouts - whatever you do means a lot of work. I'd even consider the most drastic option of ripping the existing plasterboard down and reboarding, if the woodchip is throughout the entire house. When you weigh up the work involved in stripping and skimming, stripping and overboarding, or stripping, patching and lining, it may not be such a bad idea. :unsure:

If you wanted to consider a papered finish, you could take a look at Wall Doctor wallpaper. Some of it can be applied straight onto woodchip, and is paintable, although I don't think they have a very big range to choose from.
Another option would be to cover it with something like Wallrock Thermal Liner and then a top layer of lining paper, but that would work out as expensive as reboarding, if not more, although you would get warmer rooms. :!:

Woodchip has always covered a multitude of sins but removing it causes a multitude of woes. :cry:

Good luck! :unsure:
Have you tried removing any yet? My hallway was all woodchip on plaster and I was dreading removing it. it had been up for at least 20 years and had several coats of paint on it including a coat or two that I did when I moved in. ( It was green). Basically with a sharp scraper I could create an edge and it just peeled off. No problem. Whole sheets almost. There were bits that took a bit of persuasion. I turned the blade of the scraper around to I had the thick flat edge (so I didn't dig into the wall) and scraped the wood chippings off. I then sprayed the wall with water and left it 10 mins and it would scrape off just fine. I was lucky, real lucky. Hopefully yours will be the same. I didn't even need to re-plaster the walls. A good wash down and they painted up just fine. Good luck.

[edit] Just re-read and your on plasterboard. I'd be very tempted to just re-board if its not coming off.
Wallrock fibreliner, mentioned above might be worth trying on one wall, it is a good product for bad walls and I have heard claims that it can be applied over woodchip although I have never used it for that myself.

I would fell inclined to bite the bullet and pull the plasterboard down and get the wall boarded and skimmed if you want a top job though.


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