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
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.
In Hamptonburgh, NY
To email, remove the double zeroes after @
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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