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Paint Over Plastered Wallpaper

A multi-layered problem

guys on stairs
Q:

The previous owner of my house installed textured plaster over wallpaper in the kitchen and bathrooms. The water from the texture has caused the paper to bubble and crack. At this point, it appears that it would be impossible to remove the wallpaper. My idea is to cut out the really bad sections, level that with mud, then seal the surface and retexture it. What do you think?

– Mark, Wailuku, Hawaii

A:

Steve Thomas replies: My guess is that the wallpaper has adhered to the drywall. You could try sanding the texture down with a small random orbit sander with vacuum pick-up and skim coat the sanded surface twice with joint compound. Then sand again, caulk between casing and walls, and apply a coat of primer before painting. If you want a perfectly smooth surface, you'll have to pull off the drywall back to the studs and start over – a daunting prospect, but worth it if you're looking for perfection.

 
 

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