Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>Removal vs cover-up of cork tile on walls
3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Removal vs cover-up of cork tile on walls

Half of one wall of our soon to be nursery is covered with glued on cork tiles. We only have 2 months until baby is born and limited time for removal. The cork is glued on and the chances of the paint underneath containing lead are high. I am afraid that removing the cork will expose chemicals in the glue and lead dust from the paint because it looks like we will have to sand off the remaining glue and possibly do some skim coating. Is there a safe and relatively easy/quick way of removing cork? Or do you have a cover-up suggestion if we wait until we have more time to do it properly and the baby is older?

Tacoma John
Re: Removal vs cover-up of cork tile on walls

Two answers, windows on that wall/s? If not just cover it with 1/4 or 3/8 inch dry wall. Second, tape throw away tarps to edge of the walls. Sc ra pe everything down to as smooth as possible, then skim coat wall with taping compound. You can sand that, but not the paint. Lead Paint is not a problem as long as you keep evverything clean and contained and Do NOT sand the paint itself. It is the small airborne particals that are the biggest problem, not the chips if cleaned up and contained. Throw the tarp aways and wash everytime you are done and or going to eat. Also put a box fan in the window of the room pointing out. This keeps any dust out of the rest of the house, (negative air pressure). I believe the biggest problem with lead paint is breathing the dust while constuction is going on or kids eating the chips from window sills. If you keep it clean, there should be no prolem.

Re: Removal vs cover-up of cork tile on walls


Have you actually tested yur wall paint? Lead paint has not been manufactured since 1973 and was illegal to use after 1978. The dangers having become known, it was not widely used for interior paint before this time.

Are your walls drywall? If so, the drywall paper around the dabs of glue can be cut around and peeled off, leaving the brown pulpy paper underneath. You can seal this underlying paper with an oil or shellac based primer and then put a skim coat of drywall mud over it. If you do not seal it, it will probably wrinkle up when the moisture from the compound is applied to it.

My former house had had a type of contact relief paper put over whole walls. Rather than try to remove the mastic with solvents or abrasion, I elected to take a razor knife with a 3 inch blade and slice of the entire over layer of paper from the drywall. I sealed it , topped it with drywall compound, sanded and primed it. A bit dusty and laborious, but the result was a great looking wall.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.