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Old 06-14-2010, 07:42 AM  
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Default Removing Painted Over Wallpaper, Exposed Dry Wall, Glue Won't Come Off

Hi there,

I just moved into a house that has a few rooms with painted over wallpaper that has probably been there for twenty years or longer.

In the room we wanted to tackle first, it looks like the wallpaper had been partially removed or peeled off at some point, then the patchy/ripped off wallpaper surface was painted over to try to make it look even. We tried to peel of the wall paper manually as well as with a steamer. Either way a thin layer of fuzzy paper or glue seems to remain on some of the wall. On other spots some of the drywall covering came off revealing a cardboard like texture. The steaming seemed to get a little bit of water into these exposed areas so we stopped that. It didn't do this everywhere but enough drops to make us stop.

It looks like the walls weren't primed right for the wall paper whenever the house was built (I think in the 70s). So now we have walls with large patches of this glue (or fuzzy paper), paint (on the wall itself as well as painted over wallpaper), bare drywall (I assume it's drywall it has a kind of a thin uneven, plastery finish), and small bits of exposed drywall (feels/looks like cardboard).

The goal is to get an even surface to paint over.

From what I've read I need to put a seal on the exposed bits of drywall. But after that I'm not sure what to do. Should I try to sand the glue down to make it even with the wall? Is there something I can coat the whole wall with that I can then sand? Is there another option?

I know this is going to be a long and laborious adventure. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 07-19-2010, 05:22 PM  
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Default damaged walls

Wow, sounds like you have a bit of a mess.

Your basic instinct is right - put a complete coat of material over the whole mess. This is known as "skim coat". You can use all-purpose joint compound and and cover it all, but it usually takes two or more coats, plus some sanding at the end to get it smooth.

But ... before you do that, you need to deal with the areas where the face paper of the drywall has been damaged. If you just skim coat over it without proper preparation, you may get some bubbling of the paper under your mud, and you don't want that.

You could always test a little area with a thin layer of mud to see if it will bubble. If it does, just scrape off the mud right away and let dry before proceeding.

Rather than go into the whole process of treating this kind of situation, it is easier if you would read a webpage I have devoted to this very topic. I deal with this kind of situation all the time with my clients, so I have found out what works and what doesn't. How To Repair Damaged Drywall After Stripping Wallpaper

Regarding the rest of the wall, you can skim coat over wallpaper glue with no problem. I do it routinely. But you have to have each coat dry thoroughly before you touch it for a second time. Otherwise, it turns to "peanut butter" under your tool and makes a mess.

Try to remove any remaining wallpaper. The fuzzy stuff you might be able to skim coat over. Test and see.

There is a certain art to doing skim coat well. I have a page about that also.

Good luck.
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