Removing bad wallpaper vs. covering it up?

First of all, thanks for the suggestion to check a locksmith for the special door locks that I wanted. I have locks that work the way I wanted since going that route.
I have another question.
I had ugly wallpaper in my eat-in-kitchen. I tore it down. It wasn't the normal "strip-able" wallpaper, and I only found that out when it was too late.
I don't really want to cover the resulting wall with wallpaper, although I will do that if it's absolutely necessary. I really prefer to just fix up and paint the wall.
The situation is this: There's some sort of weird wall paper backing that's still glued firmly to the drywall, in weird sheets/patterns. It didn't come off neatly, nor did it "stay behind" neatly. I've tried scoring it with a paper tiger and using Diff. This stuff won't come off. When thoroughly saturated, it reluctantly comes off more like damp paint than damp paper. It's quite possible that old wallpaper was imperfectly stripped off and then painted over, leaving the resulting mess behind. It's actually two walls. One wall is almost all drywall with just little (stubborn) fingerlength-sized flakes left behind. The other wall is almost all paper, with handprint-sized gaps down to the drywall.
A visiting houseguest whose reasonably handy saw it and suggested I might just...err...mud over the whole wall, but, I'm not sure I could do that and have it come out as smooth as real drywall. I'm also not confident I could just take down the old drywall and put up fresh boards.
What are some options that just require elbow grease and tiny financial outlays (like, less than $100)? I haven't tried steaming it yet, but, I don't know that a steamer will work where the score/Diff process failed.
Gwen
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I've had my share of awful wallpaper, last house had 3 layers (one with foil in it), then a layer of paint, then 3 more layers. Got it down with a steamer but it takes - get this - almost a minute per sq ft. 30 seconds of steaming in one place, plus scrapy-scrapy.
The other method is to wet it to soaking and keep it that wet for a few days, I've seen this done by my painter contractor, and it does come down, after a while I guess it gives up !
I hate wallpaper. you don't mention how much your place is worth, if it's a valuable/upscale place, I strongly recommend getting that paper off however it has to be done because painted-over wallpaper looks like ... painted-over wallpaper.
Good luck !
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all the outlet and switch boxes, you could always reskin the walls with 3/8 " drywall. The windows/doors will require either extending the trim, or buying or making new casing with a kerf for the extra offset. As long as you only have single-gang electric boxes, the extenders are easy to install. (I'm sure there are double-gang extenders, but the big-box doesn't carry them.) Of course, this assumes you are up to mudding and taping the new drywall.
aem sends...
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I would take a root canal or a kidney stone any day to messing with a lot of wallpaper. There's just no graceful way of doing it.
What I did find worked the best for me in removing about ten rooms of wallpaper is two things .............. a sprayer, and a good scraper.
The sprayer was one of those cheap $20 one gallon garden sprayers, and the scraper of my choice was a derelict metal kitchen spatula that had just the right edge and spring.
Secret is to let the spray sit long enough to do its work and get into the glue.
Secondary secrets are using a paper tiger to get the water into some wallpapers, and using slightly different strategies depending on the wallpaper (and glue) you are dealing with.
Like I say, there is no graceful way of doing it, and if I had a choice, I'll take the root canal or kidney stone ANY day!
Steve
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

While we're talking about removing wallpaper - I have a string wallpaper up in an entranceway. I'd like to remove it and get a grasscloth there instead. Is there any difference in removing the string wallpaper? Is it more difficult than regular wallpaper?
Banty
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I feel your pain. I also have had this problem.
Try a steamer after scoring the paper with the paper tiger (as many holes as possible). You can buy a small one for $50 made by Wagner I believe. It works but is slow. The draw back of a steamer is that it can also soften the paint such that some of the paint will come off also. You will need to spackle and sand the walls in all probability. On the plus side, a steamer usually works.
I have had mix results with Diff. Sometime it works. Other times it doesn't. The trick is is score the wallpaper as much as possible. Also give it plenty of time and multiple sprayings to work.
I would caution against painting over it since you have strip off the top surface of the paper. The backing can absorb the moisture from the paint and the result will be bubbling of the paper backing. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way.
Good luck. So far I have done 8+ rooms with one hallway to go. Wit luck, my better half will never want to wallpaper again. I don't mind hanging it but removing it is too painful.
Gwen Morse wrote:

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If it's one wall you could get creative and put up oak slaths or even metal and then sand with a circular sander to put in swirls for texture. The suggestion of re-skinning the walls with 3/8" drywall is also another great option. Wallpaper can be miserable to remove. Try a small section first to see what you're instore for.
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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The OP says it comes off when thoroughly saturated. So, I would go that route by trying a steamer, which might make it come off quite easily. Very easy to try, that's for sure.
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Gwen Morse wrote:

You can paint right over wallpaper. My wife and I have now done it in several rooms in our house.
My house is a 1923 colonial that obviously had wallpaper applied to most of its rooms in, probably, 1923. Literally every room in the house except the dining room was wallpapered when we got it. We pulled up a couple corners of it when we looked at the house the first couple times and figured it wouldn't be too difficult to get it off. Boy were we wrong. We also tried DIF and ended up just doing a whole bunch of damage to our walls after finding out it was just layer upon layer upon layer of paper and trying to get it all off. It was like going back through a time machine seeing all these different wallpapers. It took me the better part of a week to get one 2x2 square foot section of our kitchen done, and by the time I got down to bare plaster, my wall had a noticeable dip in it from my scraping and sanding, and it was no longer smooth.
Eventually we said "screw it" and decided to just paint over it. As we've gone along we've sort of perfected the process. The first room we did (that kitchen) didn't turn out all that great but it's still better than looking at either wallpaper or damaged walls. There is some bubbling of the paper, though, and some seams.
But the room I'm doing now - the living room - is turning out great. This room has a wallpaper runner along the top, which means big seams if I didn't do anything about it. The secret is to sand, sand, sand, then prime, prime, prime. Sand all over the wallpaper with thick-grit sandpaper, but especially the seams. Not just the seams, though; you've gotta smooth out all those little imperfections that the paper is hiding but that will come through when you've got a flat single color over it. Then prime with an oil-based (not water-based) primer. Then sand again - you'll see what still needs to be smoothed out after you prime. Then prime again. Rinse and repeat until you're satisfied but for me it has never taken more than two sandings and priming coats.
It is still a lot of work but it is less work than stripping wallpaper and I honestly think that you will probably end up with better looking walls at the end of the process. If you've got layers and layers of wallpaper that just won't come off, you're just going to kill your walls trying to force it.
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clipped

walls. I've never had trouble getting paper off - coarse sandpaper to score it, spray with water, wait, scrape. Messy but no big deal.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

In my kitchen remod I discovered all the layers of colors and wallpapers - the soft green and folky small-patterned wallpaper that looks like the first decor in 1960, the bright orange-yellow that must have gone with the old avocado-and-yellow linoleum under the current layer of linoleum, the darker blue that I painted over when I moved into the house twelve years ago.
I removed a wallpaper border with no problem. But, in prepping the eat-in area which has two pass-through's in the two walls adjoining it, I discovered the first wallpaper which was under that. I tried to remove it and that took some doing, until I discovered that the metal corner beads of the pass-through cutouts were *over* the wallpaper. Yikes. So, I decided that, clearly, the wallpaper was adhering just fine to the wall (else I wouldn't be sweating so much over removing it) and decided screw this and patched what I done so far and painted over it again.
Looks fine.
Short of re-sheetrocking that whole area, that was the only reasonable thing to do.
Banty
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