Can You Wallpaper Over Woodchip? (Explained)

Woodchip wallpaper was quite popular in the 1970s and 80s. Even though that was decades ago, some homes still have woodchip on the walls.

If you have moved to a new house or are renting and stumbled across woodchip, you may be interested in covering it with wallpaper.

Installing wallpaper on your walls is an easy way to beautify the interiors and cover defects. However, the woodchip isn’t a typical surface for the wallpaper to adhere to.

Therefore, you may have doubts about whether the wallpaper will stick. Today we will be discussing whether it’s possible to wallpaper over woodchip and, if so, what’s the best way to go about it.

A close up of woodchip wallpaper painted with a cream emulsion for use as a texture or background

Is It Advisable to Wallpaper Over Woodchip?

When you ask experts in this industry, they will tell you that it’s not advisable to wallpaper over woodchip. The problem with papering woodchip is that there will be visible lumps on the surface.

If you dislike the look of chipped wallpaper, the best approach is to remove the wallpaper and apply a skim coat. From there, you can use your preferred wallpaper or paint over the walls.

However, when you paper over a woodchip, the chips will form a lump on the new wallpaper and look hideous.

Aren’t There Wallpapers Made to Cover Woodchip?

But before you lose hope about using wallpaper to cover woodchip, you need to know that certain manufacturers make wallpapers meant to cover woodchip.

We aren’t talking about regular wallpaper but a specially designed wallpaper that will absorb the textured surface of the woodchip and create a uniform finish on top. An example of such wallpaper is the Wall Doctor.

This type of wallpaper was invented because woodchip is fairly difficult to remove. It’s, therefore, a quick fix for those who want to get rid of the woodchip wallpapers on their walls. This wallpaper features a woodchip back cover and comes with adhesive to help you attach the two.

Wall Doctor isn’t the only manufacturer selling wallpapers that cover woodchip. There are several other brands out there. All you have to do is look.

When you get these wallpapers designed to cover woodchip, it’s always good to perform a patch test on a small area to determine the effectiveness.

Also, unlike ordinary wallpapers available in different styles and patterns, most wallpapers made to cover woodchip are available in plain colors that some of you might find dull. There aren’t many choices or options.

Can I Use Thick Wallpaper?

Thick wallpaper can also seem like an excellent option that can be used to cover woodchip. However, you should approach this method with caution.

A thin wallpaper will easily show the woodchips beneath. But a thicker wallpaper will cover these chips, and if you use a strong adhesive, it should stick firmly.

The biggest problem with thick wallpaper is the weight. As mentioned earlier, woodchip wallpaper was used in the 70s and 80s. That means it’s common mostly in old homes.

In such a house, the plaster has been around for years and is not very strong. When you add the weight of a thick wallpaper, the plaster beneath can fall off alongside the woodchip.

As useful as thick wallpaper is at hiding woodchip, you must understand the risk of using heavy wallpaper on old plaster.

Why Would You Be Interested in Wallpapering Over Woodchip?

There are two main reasons a homeowner would consider wallpapering over woodchip. The first reason is that they don’t like the woodchip design.

We all have different tastes. Some like woodchip and others don’t. If you are researching how to wallpaper over woodchip, you probably don’t like the woodchip.

The other reason you would be interested in wallpapering over woodchip is that the latter is difficult to remove. If you have tried removing the woodchip on your walls, you can testify how difficult and time-consuming it is.

With wallpaper, you don’t have to engage in the removal of the woodchip. You layer new wallpaper over the woodchip, and you are done. Unfortunately, most standard wallpapers cannot hide the protruded areas of a woodchip.

Will Plaster Fall Off When You Remove Woodchip?

If you remove the woodchip on an old house, the plaster will fall right off. In homes where the woodchip wallpaper has been on the walls for years, the woodchip becomes part of the structure that holds the plaster in place. It’s why some of the plaster will come off when you remove the woodchip.

We understand that replastering is time-consuming and will cost money. But if the plaster in your walls is so weak to the point that they can fall off when you remove wallpaper, it’s time you renovated your home.

Also, you are avoiding the inevitable. A time will come when the plaster will fall off when you lean or place heavy objects against the walls.

What is the Best Method of Dealing with Woodchip?

Covering woodchip with new wallpaper is only a temporary solution. If you dislike the woodchip in your home, the best method is to remove it altogether.

Covering with wallpaper is a quick and cost-effective method of concealing the woodchip if it’s a rental. But if it is your home, it’s better to remove the woodchip and replaster the walls to get a stronger and more durable finish. You can confidently install wallpaper on a freshly plastered wall without worrying about it falling off.

If you are interested in taking the recommended route, here is a quick guide on removing woodchip wallpaper. You should know it’s a hectic process, and getting someone to help would be better.

• Step 1: Gather the needed materials. You will need a wallpaper scoring tool and a removal gel. You can get both of these tools from a reputable brand such as Zinsser’s. The last tool that is required is a wallpaper scraper.

• Step 2: Use your scoring tool to speed up the removal process. Most people will use a knife or scissors, but that would take forever. Also, there is the risk of damaging the wall beneath.

• Step 3: Apply the wallpaper removal gel. This will help with the removal of the wallpaper. Now, you may be considering using water.

But when you introduce moisture to wood chips and wallpaper paste, the result can be messy. Special wallpaper removal gels contain enzymes that efficiently break down the wallpaper paste.

You just have to spray some on the woodchip wallpaper and wait a few minutes. When you finally come back to remove it, the wallpaper will slide off pretty quickly.

• Step 4: If the woodchip wallpaper has been on the wall for a long, some remnants will be left behind. And that’s where the purpose of a scraper comes in. the scraper will completely strip off any leftover woodchips.

It would be best if you were very gentle when using the scraper to avoid damaging the plaster. However, if you have decided to replaster the walls. You can be as rough as you want. Just ensure you place a bag beneath the walls, so you don’t mess up the room.

Is Applying Wallpaper Over Woodchip Cost-Effective?

Laying wallpaper over woodchip is the most affordable option compared to the alternatives. But it’s the least effective unless you get the special wallpapers designed to be used on woodchip.

With this option, the only cost you will incur is buying the wallpaper, and you can install it by yourself to cut down costs.

On the other hand, removing the woodchip first and replastering the walls will require more labor and materials. That would lead to an increase in cost.

Since the alternatives cost more, we recommend wallpapering over woodchip for rentals. But if you are renovating your home and don’t want the woodchip finish, get rid of it and replaster the walls to strengthen the structure.

Painting vs Wallpapering Woodchip

Another remedy for a woodchip wall is painting over it. As a homeowner interested in concealing the woodchips, you may be stuck comparing painting and applying wallpaper.

We have already mentioned the benefits and drawbacks of wallpapering over woodchip, let us dig slightly deeper into painting.

Woodchip can be painted over. But you need to confirm two things; how old the walls are and how many times the woodchip has been painted. Starting with the latter, it may no longer be absorbent if the woodchip has been painted several times.

Therefore, new paint will have nothing to adhere to. In case the walls are pretty old, there may be adhesion issues. Also, the plaster could fall off.

The other thing is that paint can’t hide the lumps on the woodchip. To do so, you must spray extremely thick coats.

That can be a problem with woodchip wallpapers that were installed years ago. Also, a thick paint job requires precision and skill. Something that most DIYourselfers lack.

Painting and wallpapering woodchip can’t be compared to removing the old woodchip and replastering the walls.

These two are shortcuts. If you are serious about renovating your home, it’s best to remove the plaster and woodchip instead of covering them with paint or wallpaper.

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