I'm currently decorating a room in my first owned home, and I want to get it right. So far I've stripped the existing wallpaper using a domestic steamer, which worked like a charm.
The walls now consist of what appears to be plaster in a decent condition, a layer of white backing paint, a green top layer, then the remnants of the wallpaper paste. In most parts, the green layer is all that can be seen, however the paper removal has taken away parts of the other layers in places, leaving a very uneven surface. More worryingly, where the green has remained there is an uneven texture. Could the papering/stripping processes have caused this texture? Or, is it possible that the walls were plastered with the intention of papering, and weren't skimmed off to a smooth finish? A previous room I tackled was like this, and I only gave the walls a cursory sanding before painting and I've never been all that happy with the results.
This time I plan to paint the new room properly, so getting the walls smooth is my first priority. Here's what I think my options are, after much Googling of Usenet on the subject. All this is new to me though!
1) Remove all the existing paint, repair as ness. & reprime the plaster then put on the new paint. The existing paint is potentially lead-based, building is 100+ years old, but the plastering looks recent, and the number of layers/condition of wallpaper suggest that it's no more than 10 years old. This gives a few different methods:
a) Remove with elbow grease and a sander. I've tried this on a small section, revealing pristine plaster, however it would be a lot of work given the size of the room. The small area looks very good though.
b) Use my paper stripper to steam the paint a little then scrape it. For my earlier experience in stripping, this would work.
c) Use some sort of chemical based paint stripper
2) Clean up the paper paste and have the existing wall skimmed by a professional. I got a quote for this that's pretty expensive.
3) Same as above, but DIY. A friend says that he has done plastering once, and it wasn't that hard. I'd prefer this, as I've always been a hands-on person and it would be a useful skill to learn, and I'm always against paying someone to do something I can do myself, especially with the resources on the net about every subject!
The latter two options (skimming) also have the advantage of allowing me to make two hidden channels for speaker wire, so I could put speakers up on the wall. It's an apartment, so routing via the attic isn't an option.
The first option might also be a no-goer if it's true that the plastering was never smoothed off, as skimming would be necessary regardless. When doing something like skimming, do you need a good surface to work with, or would what I currently have be suitable?
Any advice would be appreciated!! I want to end up with a finish that can easily be repainted again and again, as I've never liked wallpaper anyway.