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First step to stripping wallpaper – get out a hammer!

Listed under Blog, preparation Posted Aug 28 2010

Before you even start, it pays to get an idea of what to expect when the paper is removed.

(Often, things get covered up for a reason, so a little homework could save you a lot of disappointment / aggravation!)

Go around gently tapping the walls with a hammer. This is a good test to see if the plaster underneath is solid. If it makes a dull thud, good, if it sounds hollow, it has “blown”.

How to deal with blown plaster »

Technically, you would want a plasterer to come in, hack off the defective plaster back to a solid edge, and re-plaster.

In the vast majority of cases, however, it is left to the decorator to get over it! As long as you don’t abuse the “blown” areas when scraping off the wallpaper, isolated patches should be stable enough to scrape clean, fill and paper over.

In some cases, especially when someone has been too vigorous with a steam stripper, you might see a map of Africa, in relief. Aesthetically not pleasing, but would it cause the wall to fall down? Probably not. On older properties it is called “character”.

The discovery of “Blown” plaster is often used as an opportunity for one of those sharp intake of breath moments from the cowboy builder.

Awww, it could be bad, the whole wall probably needs to be replastered!


It isn’t ideal that isolated sections of plaster on walls have let go of the backing blocks or brickwork, but in most cases, isolated failures are of no consequence. Unlike blown sections on lath and plaster ceilings!

Be very careful when tackling bowed and blown ceilings, the weight of wet lining paper CAN BRING A CEILING DOWN. I know, it happened to me, and I am not alone!

This is part of a series on How to tackle re- wallpapering jobs

    How to prepare walls before wallpapering
    How to strip wallpaper with a smile<

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One comment to “First step to stripping wallpaper – get out a hammer!”

  1. acmasterpainter

    [watch out!] First step to stripping wallpaper – get out a hammer! – via #twitoaster https://traditionalpainter.com/first-step

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