Removing Stucco from Drywall

I have a 1971 row house that is about 1000 sq feet. Some one at some time applied drywall mud to the walls and ceilings by dipping a brush into the drywall mud and then blotting it on the wall/ceiling. This was put on the entire ceiling and all interior walls. It creates waves and ridges and has a kind of middle ages look. I hate it! If you brush up against it, you can scrape your skin. It has had several coats of paint put over it through out the years.
Any idea how I can remove it short of tearing out all the drywall and replacing it? I am seriously considering spraying the walls and ceiling down with a garden hose and see if it will soften it up and allow me to scrape it off.
Any help or advice is appreciated
Pat
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get someone in to skim coat it.
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Way to thick for that. The ridges and peaks are up to 1/2 inch from the wall.
Pat
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on 9/5/2007 4:03 PM komobu said the following:

At the risk of bringing up the old SNL skit with "Pat" (no one could figure out if Pat was a male or female), get your spouse out of the house and cover everything and power sand it down.
Bill --
In Hamptonburgh, NY To email, remove the double zeroes after @
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The stuff was on all the walls and ceiling of every house I've ever lived in. When we wanted to paper the bath and kitchen, we used an electric sander to start with. After you knock off the paint, then the water spary will soften it up for scraping.
You are right to assume that it is a big job, but you can do it - one sq foot at a time.
.
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I think the paint would prevent the water from softening the obnoxious, tacky coating. And, since that much water would be uncontrollable, you would need to somehow arrange for your spouse to be immune from prosecution after he/she murdered you. :-)
I have to agree with FosSucks, as far as surrendering to doing the job slowly until you're inventing obscenities that have never been heard before. Look at it this way: If friends come over and see what is obviously a horrific project in progress, it's a badge of courage. Something to be proud of. The alternative is a quick fix, which will always look like a quick fix. Do it right, so it looks mint. Assume it will take a month or six. You'll love it when it's done.
Can you begin with the least-used room, using it for experimental purposes? I would begin by investing in various widths of putty knives to use for chipping off the coating. Never mind that you're not supposed to hammer on these tools, like chisels. For this job, they're the best thing. Hammering will shatter the coating. Shattering is better than scraping. Use a rubber or wooden mallet, and choke up on the handle for more control. With any luck, you might be able to start a spot where you can chip underneath the obnoxious textured coating and separate it from the drywall. You will most likely create many areas with very shallow damage (scrapes), but these are easy to deal with.
Invest in a halogen work light with a stand you can adjust to various heights. They give off really ugly light, but they reveal every tiny detail and imperfection in your work. That's exactly what you want after the texture has been removed. Get a big bucket of drywall mud and a really wide knife/spatula/whatever they're called for spreading the stuff. Look at the walls from every possible angle with that halogen light as you skim coat the wall.
There's a type of sandpaper that looks like fine window screen. The holes allow the dust to fall through the sanding medium so it doesn't clog like regular sandpaper. The dust tends to fall to the floor right below where you're sanding, so it's easier to clean up.
Got it so far?
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komobu wrote:

Water isn't going to soften the paint, now is it? Paint remover would, then water...not an easy way to go.
Use a broad knife or large scraper to knock off as much as possible and get it smoother then skim coat it with compound.
--

dadiOH
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How about a masonary chisel? Plastic handle with a wide blade to knock down the big stuff. Then a skim coat. . Water makes a huge mess unless you do a very small area at a time. Plus, if the backing is really sheetrock, the water soaks into the paper face.
Good luck.

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Sounds like a nightmare project IMO. Skim coating could make a fairly decent surface, but the buildup will make all the trim look weird for exzmple. Before you go full bore into trying to deal with the mess, take the time to remove a 4 x 8 section of the travesty and install a sheet of new drywall to see how easy it is for you. If that goes well, do another one and so on to develop your techniques. You may find that there is far less mess and hassle than you anticipated. Alternatively, some folks might just take out a home equity loan and hire the job done. That makes sense if you don't feel up to drywalling ceilimgs. Whatever, remember that the original texturing involved perhaps 20 gallons or more of mud mix and that will be all over your house as you work if in fact you can get it softened at all. If you decide to give softening and scraping a try, see if you can rent a wallpaper steamer. The higher temperature should work much faster than a garden hose. Good luck.
Joe
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