Looking to strip wallpaper. Looks like the wallpaper was installed directly
over wallboard without priming. I think the wallboard is older as the paper
is kind of a brown/grey cardboard looking substance as opposed to the
"white" paper of todays wallboard.
Any suggestions on whether I can get the old wallpaper off without severely
damaging the underlying wallboard?
Short of tearing out a tile floor done as a mud job, this is about the
worst job out there. They should have primed and sized the wallboard
of course. I only had this once and finally I gave up and painted it.
C'est la vie !
Warm water in a spray bottle. With a little dishwashing soap. Spray
and let it soak. Repeat. Walk away from it for a long while. Spray it
Eventually it will begin to release.
Don't fret too much about damaging the paper on the 'rock. That paper
is cheap and full of acid, hence the color. When it was new, it too
was white. The acid content of the paper is what turned it brown.
You will need to float out the wall to stabilize that old, brittle,
paper. It isn't hard. Do a search to find out how.
You will get the best results by removing the paper, floating out the
wall, and then doing whatever it is you want to do to that wall.
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
Maybe you should leave it. You could use liner paper (aka wall liner)
right over the old paper instead of taking it off. There are several
grades, all paintable and able to be papered over. The heavier grades
are known as bridging paper and cover a multitude of sins. They're the
stuff that is pasted over paneling or even brick prior to painting if a
smooth wall surface is desired.
The reasons I'm suggesting this are as follows:
- removing the facing paper from drywall takes away most of the
strength of the drywall, and floating (spackling) the surface smooth
doesn't restore the strength.
- floating a smooth surface is harder for a DIYer than wallpapering.
- removing the old paper is a messy and slow job.
- it sounds like your installation is straight up papered, but many
times the paper has been painted over, and removing it disturbs the old
paint which is probably lead-based.
We did this very thing. Was a pain, but results not bad. DIF worked
well for us, with the "paper tiger" thing that scored the wallpaper.
We skimmed the walls with mud afterwards. Came out smooth. We also
used the Gardz as recommended in the thread below. See here for
details and pix:
Here's my poor man's steamer approach... use an inexpensive clothes iron;
with the iron in one hand and a wet sponge or rag in the other. Soak a
small area (18" x 18") with the sponge, then immediately go over it with the
iron. Has worked great for me.
Oh, forgot one thing. About halfway thru the job we got one of those
steamers at HD, and it worked great. I think it worked better than the
DIF (my wife did most of this work so I don't remember details). I
recommend trying the steamer.
I did a job like that last summer when I removed the paper in my
kitchen. What a nightmare. Walls were not primed and some of the
wall board was up with the wrong face out. Took a full day to get the
paper off and about a week to patch the wall board afterwards.
I've got a dining room that my wife wants the paper removed. The
paper is tight. I'm going to fill the seams, prime it and paint over
it. No way i'm going through that again.
One thing you have to watch out for is that the latex paint and spackle
add a lot of moisture to the wallpaper. There can be problems with the
seams opening up over time. That's one of the reasons that the pros
use liner paper and don't line up the seams with the original paper.
It makes a kind of wallpaper sandwich and is much more stable. The
other trick is to use Krack-Kote that is great for hiding seams and
cracks. http://www.tuffkoteco.com/krackkote.htm Quick to apply and
dry and you can paint over it almost immediately.
I'm told that you can prime with a shellac based primer such as BIN or
Kilz and that will not lift the paper. Then you can use latex as a
top coat. Will Krackkote work either on or under that type of primer.
I had a similar, perhaps worse, problem in my downstairs bathroom.
Not only did the nitwits put paper up on an unprimed and unsized
wall, but it looked like there was a skim coat of mud over the
wallboard. When I got the paper wet enough to come off the scraper
also made big divots in the skim coat. After repairing the walls
as bes I could I primed with BIN then a quality latex paint
(Benjamin Moore). After a few months the paint started cracking an
peeling. I scraped the peeling parts down and applied KILZ
(suggested by a sheetrock taper) and painted again; better, but
it's still cracking in spots. What a mess! I'd have been better
off tearing out all the sheetrock and starting over. I may have to
yet. I *HATE* paper!
Got to pipe in here.
Wallpaper is what I do for a living.
Install mostly but I've done a lot of stripping.
Most of the advice you've gotten is correct. SOAK it .
It's all predicated on what paper was installed & the adhesive used.
If it was a prepasted paper that was installed by a homeowner using a
water tray it should come off easily.
Assuming it is a paper backed material. You'll need to get the face
off first. Then soak off the paper backing.
Spray bottle, steamer. Your choice, but the key is SOAK & don't be
impaitent. If you do you'll damage the wall more than necessary..
When it's ready to come off it should fall off easily.
Conditions vary considerably. Try a 3 X 5 area.
Here's a good link.
I second this advice. I've posted a dozen times about wetting the
backing. Nothing will remove the paste until it is soaked, and
chemicals are a waste of money. If the face doesn't peel off, use a
paper tiger or coarse sandpaper, run it across the face paper until it
is scored well. Don't get down into the paper coating of the wallboard.
Spray, let it soak in. Spray again, soak some more. Start scraping
it off GENTLY. I have yet to find a wallpaper or paste that does not
come off easily, other than some junk used to fix loose corners, which
was probably Elmer's Glue. I've never used a steamer, but I figure they
would make a messy job that much more unpleasant.
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