i have removed old wallpaper off of the walls but it has brown paper underneath with pencil writing on it.so its not unremoved backing.

JenAmethyst's Avatar (by Gravatar) by JenAmethyst in  Wall 

i have removed old wallpaper off of the walls but it has brown paper underneath with pencil writing on it so it couldnt be unremoved backing.This brown paper underneath rips easily and bubbles up when wet and I wanted to paint it. As I said I know it isnt part of the remaining wallpaper because it has writing on it ("Wallpaper" is written on it, as well as numbers). It also has white ON it but only at the corners of the wall and at the top and bottom edges.What is this and how do I paint over it and it look right?

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Answer by homeowners

The brown paper was probably used to make an appearance of a smooth wall surface which in reality it is not. Do you have any idea (based on the house construction and perhaps some unfinished walls still visible under counters and such) what kind of a wall covering may there be behind the paper? Simple drywall or some sort of paneling perhaps? I have a feeling the previous owner didn't feel like smoothing the wall with drywall joint compound, then sanding, then cleaning (all of which is tough work) and if you want to paint it now, you'd have to do it yourself.

Definitely rip the paper (since it easily rips and bubbles anyhow) and inspect what's underneath before painting it. Then you can make a good informed decision about whether to smooth it now or perhaps use a rough textured paint to hide the texture of the wall if it's not too awful.

Answer by

the thin light brown paper with the writing on it has a darker brown (reminds me of cardboard) behind it and then directly behind that is the white powder.  You can tell I am clueless. Sorry. I guess it sounds like I should do the drywall joint compound, sanding,...etc?  Thank you for your response

Answer by homeowners

 The darker brown paper sounds like the drywall's own paper side and the white powder behind it sounds like the drywall's gypsum plaster which turns into powder when you scratch it. See the awful picture I attached below which illustrates what the drywall looks like on the inside. The picture shows a piece of it just torn and you can see the darker brown paper in the center, and the white stuff that's glued to it is the gypsum plaster - both are the integral parts of a drywall sheet (and it has another dark brown paper layer on the back, too).

I still think you should peel off the lighter brown paper completely and inspect the drywall that will show as a result. I have a feeling that the drywall itself may be damaged in few places - the dark brown paper peeled off it or bubbled due to moisture or some other such issue, which is what made them cover it up with another layer of craft paper.

I know it sounds awful but in the end you will have a much better idea about the integrity of your walls and that by itself is worth something. Then you can decide what to do.

If it's really bad and literally has holes in it, you may need to patch up  the drywall. If it's just brown paper or rough seams or other such irregularity, you may be able to apply a thin skim coat of drywall joint compound, let it dry, sand and then paint.

Who knows, maybe the previous owner just liked the look of the craft paper and the drywall behind it is pristine and ready to be painted over? I have my doubts but that will definitely make your day if that's what you discover when you remove the lighter brown paper :)

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