Fake brick backsplash and wall board repair


The original owners of our 30+ year old home put in a hidious fake brick backsplash in the kitchen. I would have simply painted it white and held on until we completely redid the kitchen, but we had an above the oven microwave put in and they had to take a couple of chunks out of it in order to get it to fit. 1st off, how do I get this crap off the wall without doing too much damage to the wallboard underneath, and 2nd, how do I repair the wallboard after I finally blast this stuff off? I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to take a hammer and chisel to the mess, but I don't want to do too much damage to the wallboard.
Also, I've got 3 layers of UGLY WALLPAPER to get off. I've gotten the 1st layer down to the backing paper, but I've found 2 layers under that. It was badly put up (they didn't do the corners right at all) and I don't know if a steamer and/or paper tiger are going to even put a dent into it.
HELP!
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JD wrote:

First you need to get over the notion that old wallboard is worth the hassle of saving. Get out your SawzAll and wrecking bar and get it into a Dumpster. Clean off the studs, put a straightedge to them, and shim/plane or otherwise get them level. Then put on new wallboard, or cement board if you want to tile. Taping and mudding wallboard is not rocket science, just read any DIY treatise on the techniques and learn them as you go. It helps to have a MagnaSand and shop vac for dust control when you sand down the joints. Use low angle lighting to judge areas to be sanded, and the results will amaze you. Pennies to peanuts it will actually be much faster than all the struggle you now contemplate, and maybe even cheaper. Go for it!
Joe
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Gutting and replacing the wallboard completely basically means removing the cabinets, countertop, and just-installed microwave. No good way to replace just the backsplash area and leave all that intact- you would never get a clean joint under the uppers and at the backsplash line. I think he was just looking for an interim repair, until his time/money/interest level were up to gutting the kitchen.
BTW, drywall mudding ain't as easy as people who do it every day make it look. I grew up in residential construction, I have the DIY books, I've watched it done hundreds of times. The last two mud jobs I did in this place (small patches) STILL look like crap. It ain't rocket science, but it does take practice, and better eyesight than I have left. If I keep this place long enough to redo the previous owners half-ass kitchen and bathroom DIY disasters, I'll definitely be hiring the rock and mudding out.
aem sends...
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