How Common Was This?


I have a house built in the early 1920's. Every wall in every room was wallpapered with the paper applied over the bare plaster, multiple layers no less. No paint, no primer just plaster. It was a major pain to get all the paper off those walls, lots of scrapes and gouges left behind to patch when done. Was this a common practice back then?
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Do you think it would have been easier to remove the paper if the walls had been primed/painted?
I've removed paper from both painted drywall and painted and non- painted plaster. I've scraped and gouged every wall to some extent.
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Same here. Too many times. A few months ago I had some really welded on wallpaer boarder. Extremely thick glue or whatever it was. After doing a couple of rooms of only little pieces coming off at a time and wall chewing, I looked into renting a steamer. Then I saw at the Borg that Wagner made one for 50 bucks. I figured if it sucked I'll just return it. It made life a LOT easier. I'm thinking about all the wallpaper I'd removed in the past. Wish I had got one years ago.
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Yes this was normal. Interior walls were either paneled in wood or plastered (on lath). The practical point is that, if to be papered, a plaster wall did not need to be visibly perfect. That could be done, but would take extra costly time and skill, wasted when wallpaper was the standard interior treatment.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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Based on personal experiences, very common.
The good news is once you patch you gouges and any cracks you will have a virgin, cured installation that you can properly seal and paint with no lead based paint worries.
BTW, drywall mud is excellent for the patching and does not require the 30 day cure time before painting.
Colbyt
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Yes, of course, but all you have to do is spray the paper with water, wait 1-2 minutes, then scrape it off with no gouging. Why is this so difficult for people to do? My house is nearly 200 years old and it only takes (took) about 8 hours to scrape each room down to the bare plaster. And that was only because the previous owners (morons) allowed multiple layers of paper to build up. We stripped off all the old and put up new wallpaper in each room. And no, we didn't treat the walls. We used the strippable stuff, so the few rooms we've wanted to re-decorate since then had the wallpaper removed in about 20 minutes.
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I found, by accident, that drywall mud spread over wallpaper softens it up pretty good overnight.
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You got lucky.
The typical old house wallpaper that I see in my 90 year old houses is a layer of 25 year old vinyl wallpaper, with a coat or two of paint over it, and 2-3 layers of older wall paper underneath. I have tried DIF, the Paper Tiger, special stripping tools, and even a steamer. Still takes hours and hours, and you have to get ALL of the old paste off before paint will stick.
JK
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On Thu 25 Sep 2008 10:14:18p, Big_Jake told us...
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Personally, I prefer wallpaper, and most homes I've owned have had wallpaper in every room. However, given the situation you found yourself in, I would certainly remove everything down to the plaster, then seal and size the plaster, install lining paper, size the lining paper, then install the final paper. This would not only give me the result I prefer, but also make it infinitely easier to repaper when desired.
--
Wayne Boatwright

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Sure, they didn't care that 90 years later you'd want to re-do the place. Latex paint didn't exist either so it is good that there is no paint and then more paper.
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