Using oil based primer or Zinsser GARDZ

Old 10-15-10, 06:45 AM
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Using oil based primer or Zinsser GARDZ


Our home has old wall paper that my wife and I have partially removed. No problem getting the first layer off, but the backing is near impossible. We have tried
- a spray of fabric softener and water
- two different wall paper liquids from the hardware store directly from the bottle
- the above mixed with hot water
- a rented steamer
- star shape tool scrapes it off after apply liquids to wall
- Applied hot liquids with a sponge

My step daughter's boy friend removed wallpaper in his home and said ours was next to impossible compared to his.

And the only way the backing is to take part of the drywall underneath when we scrape. No amount of moisture, regardless how much time it is left on will remove it.

I will have to use drywall compound and patch up some 1/2 inch holes

After spending 20 minutes per square foot, we called two painting contractors. One who gave an inflated price, the other who said he would have to give a trial before doing an estimate. The latter one said he is finding home in the area where the backing was applied directly to drywall with no paint in between when the homes were built resulting in having backing which is impossible to remove. He said he in these cases he paints three times with primer over the backing before painting the wall.

Never heard back from the contractor and looked this up on the internet and found it has to be oil based primer. I also read zinsser Gardz does the same thing but without the bad paint fumes. If I can find the Gardz at a hardware store , I am leaning to that due to the fumes of oil based paint.

So the questions
  1. So anyone with any experience with Gardz or oil based primer to fix this prob
  2. How do I apply gardz, is it a paste, or liquid like a paint.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Old 10-15-10, 09:08 AM
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I've used an oil base primer numerous times to seal the wall after removing stubborn wallpaper. It works well. I have painted for builders back in the 70s that wallpapered the kitchen and baths with no primer, right over the bare drywall their call, not mine.

What I would do is remove what I could of the paper and adhesive, lightly sand the wall with 120 grit sandpaper, then oil prime. Once the primer is dry, sand again and then skim a thin coat of joint compound over the wall, sand again, touch up j/c as needed. Then prime the walls with a latex primer. That should get the walls in good shape for paint

Gardz is a latex primer that is formulated to go over damaged walls and wallpaper adhesive. It is the only latex primer that would be suitable for this type of job. It goes on like any other paint/primer.
Old 10-15-10, 09:47 AM
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If I have drywall where the paper has been removed, I use Gardz over the gypsum before the joint compound

Then, just a regular primer over the joint compound before I paint

Yeah, wallpaper applied directly to bare drywall is nasty thing to try to remove
Old 11-18-10, 07:47 PM
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Update as to the outcome (ok a month after the fact almost)

Searching online and going to some big box stores here in Canada, could not find Zinsser GARDZ. The painter who came in and took a look but did not call back with a few days with a quote called 5 days later and favourable quote. As I could not find the Gardz and some of the wallpaper was over stairs, my wife and I thought it was safer to have a professional do this.

They tried removing the backing determined it was impossible so they painted with primer. Used Zinsser oil based odorless primer. No foul smell.

The wall paper backing had a mesh like appearance which went away after the primer was applied. At my employer, they painted over wallpaper backing by the looks of it and it has the mesh like appearance that the raw backing had at my home.

Anyway, they painted and the end result looks good. One problem is that it "bubbled" a few minutes after painting. Some of the bubbles went away during the evening, but the ones that didn't - they scraped away and applied drywall compound.

We are pretty happy with appearance and regret scraping the wallpaper backing to the extent of peeling of the first layer of the drywall. If you have stubborn wallpaper backing, paint over with gardz, or oilbased primer.
Old 11-18-10, 10:12 PM
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In skimming through this thread so far I gleaned that it involves a struggle to get wallpaper off a wall. And, a lot of time when that happens, the drywall paper can get badly damaged. I know it's common to paint over damaged drywall with Guardz, but Guardz won't restore the strength of the drywall. But, it's not too late to repair drywall even with the gypsum exposed.


The reason drywall is surprisingly strong and rigid when you consider what it's made of is entirely due to the fact that paper is very strong in tension. Try pulling apart a $10,000 bill, and you'll see what I mean. By having paper on each side of a gypsum core, drywall becomes rigid because in order for it to bend, then the paper on one side or the other has to stretch to accomodate the new shape.

So, when the paper on drywall is removed, simply painting it over with a primer might make it "look" better, but it's not going to restore it's strength.

What you still can do now is buy a big roll of fiberglass mesh drywall joint tape and tape strips of it side-by-side over the damaged side of the drywall. Do horizontal rows first. It's easy to put up because the stuff has a weak adhesive on it that helps it stick. Then, dilute some white wood glue with water and paint it over the layer of fiberglass mesh tape. Now, do an encore performance with vertical strips of mesh, and paint over that with diluted glue. As the glue dries, it'll bond the strips of fiberglass mesh to the gypsum core.

Now, for the drywall to bend, then either the paper on the undamaged side or the fiberglass mesh has to stretch, and fiberglass mesh drywall tape is stronger than paper in tension.

Then, just skim coat over the fiberglass mesh with two coats of regular joint compound, and then with just one coat of finish compound and sand smooth. Regular joint compound dries harder than finishing compound, and therefore your sanding tool will sand the soft stuff off easy, but not the harder stuff, ensuring you don't damage the fiberglass mesh tape when sanding.

Then prime and paint.

You can still go this route now, even if you have a layer of primer and paint on your wall. The diluted glue will bond the fiberglass mesh to the paint, and the fiberglass will still have to stretch before the wall bends. And, of course, the wall has to bend before anything breaks.

Last edited by Nestor; 11-18-10 at 10:31 PM.
Old 11-28-10, 05:47 AM
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For this painting project, there was three rooms. The foyer, the upstairs hallway, and the "Guest bathroom". The Foyer and and upstairs hallway had the same impossible wallpaper. Where we tried to remove the "Backing" or second layer of wallpaper, we either removed layers, but not all cases, the paper before the gypsum core. For some 5 by 4 sections, we got the Gypsum exposed, but that's at 5 percent of the space.

This striping to the gypsum occurred where I used the steamer and fortunately we only tried in a few places. But even with soap/water or other solutions, we were taking of a layer of drywall paper though at varying levels

Drywall compound was used to filled in the holes, whether it was a bad scrap of the drywall paper or a hole that got to the gypsum core

In most cases we/or the profession painters did not even try to remove the backing/second layer of wall paper. I am impressed how well the primer looks on the backing, but agree perhaps a fiberglass mesh should have been used where the wall looks like a bomb blast. Trouble is, some of this bomb blast appearance was at stairway, where it is winding/circler

I have another room before with bad wall paper removal and was considering making it a project of filling with wallpaper compound, this fiberglass may take less effort.

Also, next year we may be removing wall paper in a bathroom with a shower and I am considering fiberglass as I read there is not the problem with mold.

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