DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Flooring (
-   -   Total newbie installing wall panels in bathroom (

Cat&dogs 07-25-2009 02:28 PM

Total newbie installing wall panels in bathroom
Hi! Longtime reader, first time poster. :)

I'm remodeling the bathroom in a 1920s bungalow style house, and I've pulled off the old paneling from below the chair rail. The adhesive (something akin to liquid nails) was luckily put over wallpaper, which was over a couple of layers of paint, which was over old tile board, which was over the original plaster walls.

B/c of this layering, I was able to take down the old panels without pulling any plaster off (whew!). However, I've had to remove most of the wallpaper, and several of the underlying layers of paint, and occasionally the tile board, so there's not a similar buffer for the new adhesive.

My question is this: will it be possible to install the new wall panels without setting up some future remodeler to damage the plaster? Despite my fabulous design, at some point someone will probably want to redo the bathroom again, so I'd like to do this in a thoughtful way, if possible.

Is there a particular adhesive that is super sturdy but can be fairly easily removed? Liquid nails has become the bane of my existence, and I would love to use something less...impervious to removal.

Adding a layer of wallpaper, then adhering the new panels to that, would presumably get the same effcet I experienced, but wallpaper is more work than I have time and inclination for. Would contact paper work? It's fast and easy to install, and easily enough removed. I'm imagining that the next people could just put that glue dissolver on the contact paper, and voila! the liquid nails or whatever would come right off with the contact paper. But I have no experience, and that might be totally off base.

At any rate, per the subject, I'm a total newbie to this, so I would welcome any suggestions.

Thanks so much!

Nestor_Kelebay 07-25-2009 03:17 PM

Two options come to mind:

1. Use your precious Liquid Nails. I fully expect it will be easy to remove using a heat gun and a "Nestor Scraper" (named after it's inventor, some guy named Nestor) or a tungsten carbide paint scraper.
You make a Nestor Scraper by gripping a single edge razor blade in a pair of needle nose style locking pliers. Then you hold that assembly upside down and the long jaws of the pliers hold the razor at a near perfect angle for scraping. Then you heat the old adhesive with a heat gun and scrape it off the plaster with the Nestor Scraper or a tungsten carbide paint scraper. Hold the tool in a leather gloved hand (cuz the scraper will get pretty hot). Finally, clean any residual Liquid Nails off the wall with lacquer thinner or acetone.
If the razor tends to cut into the plaster, then just dull it with some sandpaper or on a belt sander or rub it sharp side down on some concrete.
The great thing about the design of the Nestor Scraper is that it's all metal construction will stand up to the 300 deg. F temperature of a heat gun, and blades are economical and widely available everywhere in the country.
If you have some liquid nails, why not confirm that the heat gun and Nestor Scraper or paint scraper will do the job. Just put some liquid nails on something smooth, like smooth wood or whatever, give it a few days to cure, and try taking it off. The "Installation Manager" of any floor covering retailer will have access to many heat guns, and if you leave a damage deposit, he'll probably let you use one or rent you one cheap.

2. You might consider contact cement.

Contact cement was commonly used to secure the plastic laminate backsplashes to the plaster walls when people still used square edge laminate counter tops. Contact cement is easily removable from plaster. You just paint it with lacquer thinner, allow 2 or 3 seconds for the lacquer thinner to soften the contact cement and shave it off the wall with a Nestor scraper.

The only thing with contact cement is that it grabs as soon as the two surfaces come into contact. What you can do is put sheets of wax paper beside each other over the panelling you want to install. I know that water based contact cement won't stick to wax paper and have been told that the regular solvent based contact cement won't either, but I've never used regular contact cement with wax paper. Put the panel in place, bend one side back to remove the wax paper on that side, and then press that side of the panel down so the contact cement holds that side of the panel in place. Now, pull the other side of the panel back, remove the wax paper strips on that side and do an encore performance. You can buy wax paper in 18 inch wide rolls, and wider if you go to a caterer or restaurant supply store, so you won't need too many strips, and you can re-use the strips if they don't tear.

Both water based and regular contact cement can be removed with lacquer thinner.

Cat&dogs 07-26-2009 01:17 PM

Wow! Thanks for the detailed response!

The Nestor Scraper sounds like just the device I've been looking for; clever guy, that Nester... :)

I wouldn't call the Liquid Nails "precious" so much as "reviled," but I see your point. I found a similar adhesive, and I think I'm going to just go with the more common approach and hope for the best.

Thanks again!

Nestor_Kelebay 07-26-2009 08:20 PM

I just don't have a very good volcabulary.

When you said: "Liquid nails has become the bane of my existence,..."

I thought it meant you liked the stuff.

Now I discover it means the opposite. Oh well. I stood a 50 percent chance of guessing right.

Cat&dogs 08-01-2009 11:20 AM

The walls are up, and the adhesive worked great! The biggest pain was the uneven plaster walls, but once we figured out that the sections weren't going to be proper rectangles, we made more measurements, trimmed up the panels, and added more adhesive than we'd needed for the one wall that had been replaced with drywall. I'm glad that's done!

Thanks again for the advice!

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:29 AM.