Wallpaper lifting in middle

Old 01-14-03, 10:36 AM
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Wallpaper lifting in middle

We have hung some painted texured wallpaper in our foyer. It was put over a painted plaster wall. We used a heavey duty "clay based?" adhesive which also seems to double as an oustanding paint stripper.

The adhesive has caused the 110 years worth of paint (which was sound before we hung the paper) to chip and peel right down to the plaster. So now we have wallpaper panels pulling away from all sorts of places.

How do you fix a panel thats pulling away in the middle if all of the edges seem to be sticking fine?

Any tips on repairing lifting edges too?

Is there a heavey duty adhesive that's not so destructive? We tested this stuff by just painting it on a patch of painted plaster wall...a week or so later all the paint came off right to the plaster, amazing!

Thanks in advance!
Old 01-14-03, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
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Wallpaper adhesive, clay or otherwise, does some really funky stuff. It can bleach even vinyl coated paper down to pure whiteness. It eats and loosens paint. It slice, it dices, it's almost as good as the old Bass-o-matic!

Help to fix your seams

The above link will only solve 10% of your problem though and is a cosmetic fix only. You have found out first hand why wallpaper preparation is the most important step.

Wallpaper puts tremendous forces on your wall. You put up wet wallpaper. The wallpaper contracts along the X and Y axis of your wall at the same time as it dries. The adhesive grips the wall and causes the failure of the paint that is underneath. You can imagine the same failure in a simple blade of grass. By itself, grass is the weakest thing there is, but over time and with the right amount of pressure, it can work itself through concrete. The same principle applies with wallpaper.

If you are looking for a fix, you have to strip all of your wallpaper. Then you have to attack any loose paint areas with sanding and scraping. You then patch loose spots and apply a primer. Not any old primer or one of the "primer/sealers" you see on the shelves of your local home improvement store, but a REAL primer/sealer that is designed to firm up weak walls. They are Scotch Paint's Draw-Tite, Zinsser's Gardz, Roman's Liquid Drywall, Seal-Krete's waterproofing sealer, and Sherwin Williams' PrepRite Drywall Conditioner.

Now your walls are ready for more wallpaper. I know this sounds like an expensive and lengthy proposition, but remember one decorating rule that isn't spoken of loudly: the single most inexpensive wall treatment is wallpaper. For it's life cycle, which is typically 20-30 years, no other treatment is cheaper, resists wear and tear, or ages with such grace. Many will disagree with this, but all you have to do it visit a wallpaper museum or two to see what I am talking about. YES, I said wallpaper museum! You don't see them for paint now do you? That is a testament to wallpaper's longevity.

American Decorative Arts Museum (DAR Museum): Located in Washington, D.C.

The Athenĉum Library and Historic Site Museum: Located in Philadelphia, PA.

Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum: Located in New York, NY.

Deutsches Tapetenmuseum Kassel: Located in Kassel, Germany. Alternate website, with better pictures is here. Website is in German, use this to translate.

The Farmers' Museum: Located in Cooperstown, NY. Home of the American Wallpaper Staining Manufactory, which produces wallpaper on a recreation of an 1837 block press.

Le Musée du Papier Peint: Located in Rixheim, France.

Russian-American Wallpaper Museum: Located in Philadelphia, PA. Private museum, by appointment only, featuring historic Russian wallpapers.

Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities: Located in Boston, MA.

Victoria and Albert Museum of
the Decorative Arts
: Located in London, England.

Whitworth Art Gallery: Located in Manchester, England.
Old 01-27-03, 05:52 PM
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same experience

I am having the same experience with our wallpaper (put up before we moved in), but on top of drywall. I noticed the seams coming up and apart in one room, and I tore a bit of the paper away since we're planning on removing this paper anyway. Not only did I tear away the paper, but along with it came at least two coats of paint, revealing beneath it the original drywall unscathed--aparrently no one thought to prime the walls before they painted--same experience in the hall bathroom. My concern is that the wallpaper is coming off with the paint only at the seams. Does anyone have tips that will save us from possibly damaging the unprimed drywall underneath when we remove the wallpaper/possibly paint?
Old 01-28-03, 01:08 PM
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I understand your problem, and there aren't any real solutions. Paint will generally lift at the seam areas because these receive more attention that any other area of the wallpaper. Most pros and many DIYers will roll the seams using various methods in order for the to stay put. Most of the time if problems should occur, this is where they happens so extra attention is paid to these areas. If paint does lift in these areas, it generally is only the first inch or tow on either side of the seam.

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