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.