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Help - badly removed wallpaper that was painted over - what next?

I'm really hoping someone has a good suggestion for what I can do about this DIY nightmare. :confused:

Wanted to paint the walls in my living room. Started prep for walls and realized previous owner (or the bank who owned the house before we bought it) painted over wallpaper that was not properly removed. The walls have a rough texture that just feels like wallpaper fiber (after you take the paper part off). The whole wall, top to bottom, is rough. And you can see small splotches when you look at an angle that, I believe, is wallpaper paste.

What are my choices? I googled this and some people say do a skim coat over the walls (which will be a nightmare with the dust) or sand the walls down - which I'm not sure will take care of the paste issue, but it might. Again, lots of dust. We really don't want to put new wallboard up.

Ideas? Thanks!

Re: Help - badly removed wallpaper that was painted over - what next?

At this point your choices are very limited.

You don't want dust and you don't want to remove the existing drywall.

So what's left? how about installing 1/4" drywall over what's there now, screw it to the studs, tape it, mud it, wet sand it, prime it and paint it?

Of course you'll have to deal with minor adjustments around doors and windows, but really, that's your only option.

Re: Help - badly removed wallpaper that was painted over - what next?

There ain't no silver bullet. You will have to create some dust one way or the other. :(

Were I in your situation, I would first go over the walls with sandpaper in an effort to knock down some of the texture and any high spots. I would then prime the walls with an oil based primer. You don't want moisture from the drywall topping compound or future latex/acrylic paints from lifting the old wallpaper underneath. Next place a thin layer of drywall topping compound over the entire surface. After sanding, again prime the walls, this time with water based PVA or acrylic primer. Finally, paint the room.

Try to isolate the room with plastic taped over the door openings. Shut down the furnace or A/C while sanding. Put masking tape over the air vents. A small window fan pulling air outward would help dust from spreading to the rest of the house.

Re: Help - badly removed wallpaper that was painted over - what next?

Why not try a modern plaster skim coat? No sanding involved and it cures harder than skim coating with joint compound. Sc**** & Prime the walls before to make sure there isn't any loose paper and top coat with the modern plaster.

Here a post about the process to give you the details: Plaster Repair

Re: Help - badly removed wallpaper that was painted over - what next?

I will withhold judgement on the above post and the attached link until our resident plasterer comments. However, I would have reservations about putting plaster mixed with drywall compound over unsealed wallpaper. I don't consider a coat of latex paint a sealer against prolonged contact with water containing plaster/drywall. The paste that is holding that wallpaper on the wall is water soluble.If it lets go, you have a nightmare on your hands.

Re: Help - badly removed wallpaper that was painted over - what next?

I should clarify that the primer should be an oil- based before the modern plaster. Although, I thought the issue was how to improve the condition of the wall AFTER the wallpaper has been removed.

SSCDYIER, is all the paper down or are you trying to figure out a solution to avoid removing the rest of the paper?

Re: Help - badly removed wallpaper that was painted over - what next?

For a repair requiring no sanding you can use a veneer plaster.
I use and have used Peel-Stop as the surface conditioner.
Than I use Master of Plaster plaster system.
Everything is completed while products are in a wet stage NO DUST.This product is very DIY friendly.
Other products that can be used are.
San Marco
Also there are many others on the market.
Some also come in Acrylic Finishes.
I stick with the LIME products.

Re: Help - badly removed wallpaper that was painted over - what next?

Re Scott, I'm pretty sure the top coat of the paper is down. The house isn't that old (1987), but it's quite possible they didn't prime the walls before the wallpaper went up. Whoever took it down, didn't do a very good job of it.

I have sanded a small area and it seems smoother. My biggest concern is reactivating any leftover wallpaper paste, if there is paste left on there. I am willing to sand, but I don't think new wallboard will be the way to go for us. This room opens to a hall and kitchen, and there will be two corners that will have to be completely redone if we go this route. Not to mention the seams and sanding that would have to be done on the rest of the room.

There is already a paint layer on the wall and it seems to be holding up. Not sure what the quality is of the paint on the walls. The previous homeowner was big into doing things badly and cheaply.

There is no peeling or detachment from the wallboard any places. It's just rough. I'm the resident painter in our house and I have a bum shoulder, so I'm trying to minimize the amount of work I need to do to get these two and a half walls painted before Christmas (while also baking cookies, wrapping presents and decorating).

Thanks for all your suggestions!

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