Will removing very old wallpaper bring down chunks of my wall?

I have moved into a very old London home that seems to have been unmaintained for long periods and all the walls are covered in a plain wall paper. I painted over it before I moved in and some of the walls have bubbled. Most of the bubbles settled down once the paint dried but there are a few bad areas that now a few months on just look awful. I would like to get the wallpaper removed and walls painted as the worst area is the hallway as you enter so it is very noticeable. I have heard horror stories about wall crumbling as the paper is removed and how it can be a massive job but not actually sure what a ‘massive job’ means. Is it a case of just adding some plaster to smooth the walls? Assuming getting a tradesperson in you have the correct machinery needed to do the job quickly with least mess so you would steam off the paper and would this still damage walls? I live in a small London flat so it’s not a big hallway. At a guess how many days would be needed?

Natasha - SW19

Asked: February 28 2018


Plaster doesnt last forever instead of trying to cover it up. Rip it back to brick re board and skim then you will have no problems in future. Roughly 3 days work @ whatever the day rate is in london plus materials

Aussie Tiling

March 08 2018

Even if your paper comes off pretty easily,and the plaster remained intact, with just cosmetic damage ,ie crack filling ,etc with polyfilla,to get a decent finish I would line the walls with a 1200 grade lining paper(£5 a roll approx) and then paint the walls,a days work to line the walls ,pro rata London J R Gornall

J R Gornall

March 08 2018

The worst ways is back to brick if it's pretty solid will beable to skim over an paint couple of days

Fields Decorating

March 08 2018

With 43 yrs experience, old houses are moneypits, you have 2 choices. 1 make good and look pretty. 2 totally restore. Either way, not cheap. For an honest opinion, call me for a site visit, honest tradesman.!!! Daniel Mc Naul. Inverness. 07762805890. Willing to travel. With expenses paid. PROPER DECORATOR.

Danny McNaul

May 07 2018

Tap the plaster with a knuckle and if it sounds hollow, the plaster may be blown and will come away with the paper...using a steam stripper will make it worse. If the paper comes away easily...I would recommend lining with 1200 grade lining paper before decoration, often comes out as good as skimming and saves money and mess (Plastering always fills entire house with dust)

Ross Property Maintenance

March 11 2018

it is likely that old plaster will crumble when stripping wallpaper, you can reduce chances of that by NOT using a steamer but just warm water instead. The worst that can happen is that you would have to get the walls remastered. Cost of plaster about 30mm deep would be about £50 per sqm, just skimming (5mm) about £20 per sqm, so it could be costly. Kris 07949220137


March 08 2018

Try warm water with washing up liquid in it first if the problem persists then,unfortunately 're plaster is the only way forward

M A Decor

March 08 2018

No one knows what is hiding behind the wallpaper. If the wallpaper is bubbling it has to be removed. No one can say for sure how much plaster will come off with the wallpaper ... So it could be a small amount of plastering or it could be a big job.


March 08 2018

There is always the possibility of the plaster coming off, you could try tapping the walls if you hear hollow spots then it will come off when stripped. I would recommend warm soapy water in a spray bottle, soak the paper then scrap off. If you use a steamer you only increase the risk of the plaster blowing.

JKM Decorating

March 08 2018

It should be about 3 days but the plaster just needs cutting out re-plasted and painted roughly. £400.00 plus travelling

MCF Building & Maintainance

March 08 2018

You can make life easy and apply wallpaper paste with a roller (1 wall at a time if doing it alone) go and make a cup of tea and when you come back it will just peel off, and avoid polyfilla and use easifill it’s a very fine filler easy to rub down 120 grade sand paper ample enough, and reline wall horizontally (1400 grade) incase you want to put paper up at a later date Hope that helps Ian


March 08 2018