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Dealing with the wall after wallpaper removal

Dealing with the wall after wallpaper removal


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Old 12-29-12, 08:58 AM
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Dealing with the wall after wallpaper removal

It appears the builder of our mid 80's house decided to wallpaper the bathrooms right over the sheetrock without any primer and as you can imagine this made for a major pain to remove the wallpaper. Now that it is done and we have beat the heck out of the walls, we are wondering what's the best next step. It looks like we could try and skim coat the walls or remove the drywall and install new or install a thin drywall say 1/4" over top of the existing walls. Is installing a thin drywall over that existing that was beat up from wallpaper removal considered an acceptable practice? We are going to sub this out and certainly it will make it easier for the drywaller to not have to remove the old before installing the new. But I know, easier isn't necessarily better so that's why I'm asking the question.

Thanks for your replies!
 
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Old 12-29-12, 09:23 AM
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Overlaying with 1/4" works fine if you are doing major rehab, otherwise it presents problems with all trim, fixtures, electrical boxes, tile etc. My vote goes to the skim coat, it would be the most painless solution IMO.
 
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Old 12-29-12, 09:33 AM
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My guy skim coated the walls. Mine were pretty bad, but it depends on who you get.

My guy is one of the best spacklers I know....

Looking for the pics
 
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Old 12-29-12, 09:34 AM
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The trim will all be new. Electrical boxes I would think would be ok...at worst I may have to get longer screws for plate covers? Flooring will be a new install after the walls are done. My thought about skimming is it could be a lot of work and then still not look that good. I figure the 1/4" new drywall gives us a nice place to start and the walls should look pretty good after primer and paint.
 
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Old 12-29-12, 09:49 AM
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Any door or window jambs will have to be extended with 1/4" (more like 5/16") strips, hinges and lock strike moved out, window stool (sill) cut on the wall side of the wings by 1/4" or replaced. Unless you're going to replace these things entirely. Is there existing tile that will remain? How will you deal with that?
 
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Old 12-29-12, 10:18 AM
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Thank you toolmon for this feedback. We weren't going to replace the window/doors and casings but you are absolutely right about these things needing to be accounted for. I don't mind re casing but don't want to get into jamb extensions. So maybe the 1/4" drywall over top isn't the best solution here. BTW, the existing flooring is linoleum which we are planning on taking up and replacing with hardibacker and ceramic tile.
 
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Old 12-29-12, 08:47 PM
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Electrical boxes I would think would be ok...at worst I may have to get longer screws for plate covers?
Um, not exactly. Have you ever tried putting a cover plate on a switch or receptacle that was recessed 1/4" into the wall? It doesn't work. The device has to sit flush on the face of the wall.

For that reason, if you decide to go with the 1/4" drywall, you will need to pull all of the devices out of the wall and fit the drywall to the edge of the boxes behind them. After you've finished and painted the drywall, you will need to install an extension ring on each box, since the enclosure can be no more than 1/8" back from the finished face. You may be able to remount the devices with their original screws, since you've only added 1/4", or you may need to buy some 1" pan head 6-32 machine screws to hold them in. Then you can install the cover plates.

Go with the skim coat; it's way easier. Use a good quality joint compound and cut it to be just a little bit thinner than you would use for mudding joints and nail dimples. Get the wall wet, to avoid having the coat fail because the moisture was sucked out of the back before it cured. Apply it with the widest knife you can handle - at least 12". For the final coat, wait until the compound has set, but not dried, and smooth it down with a large wet natural sponge.

Do this right and you won't have much sanding to do at all - maybe even none. Possibly the best thing of all is that, if you don't like the way a section turned out, you can sand it down, wet it, and skim it again!
 
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Old 12-30-12, 02:20 PM
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Thanks Nashkat1 for the reply. I think we are going to have the drywall replaced. It may sound to you like extreme measures but I think the skimming will require some good experience and skill to get it to look decent which I don't have. Pretty much the whole bathroom would need this skim coat. Rather than rely on our contractor to also have that skill needed to make it look nearly as good as a wall that didn't have the wallpaper ripped off of it, we'll have the drywall replaced and know going forward, we'll have nice walls to paint afterwards. Ask me if I ever want to see wallpaper again in any residence that I own in the future and answer me why a builder would have wallpaper put up directly over unprimed drywall?
 
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Old 12-31-12, 05:33 AM
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I don't know how you think skim coating is more work than ripping out the drywall and replacing it with new rock which then needs to be mudded and taped but do whatever you feel comfortable with.

My 2: prime any exposed gypsum with Zinsser Gardz, skim coat, sand, prime and paint.
 
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Old 12-31-12, 10:29 PM
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I think the skimming will require some good experience and skill to get it to look decent which I don't have. Pretty much the whole bathroom would need this skim coat.
When my ex and I worked out the method I described earlier, we initially used it to do the 10' walls in our living room and dining room (or front and rear parlors). That was about 1,000 ft.[SUP]2[/SUP] of wall area, less windows, doors and other openings. I don't remember how much of the ceilings we skimmed, if any.

We started with taped and mudded drywall on some walls and scratch-coat plaster on the others. It took us less than a week to do it all in the odd hours we had after work, while raising small children. The result we got was the one we wanted - no one could tell which walls were which. In fact, no one could tell, either by touch or feel, that any of the walls was not plaster!

Just to be clear, neither she nor I had ever finished a wall before in our lives. Good experience and skill never entered into it. It wasn't even on-the-job-training. It was pure trial and error, and it turned out looking great.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 01-01-13 at 11:05 AM. Reason: typo, clarity
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Old 01-05-13, 01:18 PM
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I don't know how you think skim coating is more work than ripping out the drywall and replacing it with new rock which then needs to be mudded and taped but do whatever you feel comfortable with.
It is more work when you were going to do the skimming and you were paying somebody else to redo the drywall.
 
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Old 01-05-13, 01:28 PM
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Were you guys actually repairing walls after wallpaper removal or just doing wall repairs prior to repainting? I'm glad it worked out for you. Maybe I'm not as brave as you are when it comes to tackling certain things I don't have much experience with. The update now is we hired somebody to remove the drywall, install new and prepare the walls for paint. We'll paint, replace linoleum with tile, install new toilet and vanity sink and fixtures and also tile around a new tub. Also plan to replace the existing exhaust fan with a larger one that will probably require a little reframing in the attic space. I am good with all that....just didn't want to deal with the walls and am getting help on setting the new tub.
 
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Old 01-05-13, 01:40 PM
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answer me why a builder would have wallpaper put up directly over unprimed drywall?
Because he's cheap!!

I've painted for several builders that had wallpaper hung over bare drywall I would have gladly primed those walls but I can't work for free
 
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Old 01-05-13, 01:45 PM
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Yeah, I knew that was the answer but not how I would conduct business. How much more could it really have affected the bottom line and saved future homeowner's a bunch of grief? Not looking for the answer...more of a rhetorical question.
 
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Old 01-07-13, 08:24 PM
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Were you guys actually repairing walls after wallpaper removal or just doing wall repairs prior to repainting?
The plaster on the interior walls was sound, but it was not finish plaster. The rooms had always been papered, and the walls had never been finish coated for painting. On those walls we laid the skim coat onto well-wetted brown-coat plaster from which we had removed the 4 or 5 layers of paper.

The plaster on the exterior walls and the ceiling had failed. We (I) furred out the wall studs and the ceiling joists, and we had new drywall hung on those. I helped with the hanging, and our contractor did all of the taping and standard finishing, up through a nice wide coat over every tape joint. On those surfaces, we were skimming over taped and finished drywall.

I had removed, marked and pulled (through the back) all of the nails from the interior trim on the exterior walls to start the work, and my ex, primarily, had refinished the pieces - plus the wood still in place on the interior walls, the columns between the foyer and the front parlor, and the pocket doors between the two parlors. We painted the rooms before I re-installed the trim on the exterior walls, including the refinished mantel.

There were a lot of tricky steps in getting these rooms back to what we wanted them to be. I'm just saying that the skimming wasn't one of the tricky parts. It was downright easy, especially in term of return for effort.

Maybe I'm not as brave as you are when it comes to tackling certain things I don't have much experience with. The update now is we hired somebody to remove the drywall, install new and prepare the walls for paint. We'll paint, replace linoleum with tile, install new toilet and vanity sink and fixtures and also tile around a new tub.
One of the most important aspects of successful DIY work, IMO, is determining what parts to tackle and what parts to hire done. I've never done tile work, for example, and I wouldn't think of taking it on without a lot of advice.

It sounds like you've worked the pieces of this project out to fit your comfort level as well as your budget and your design goals. Enjoy!
 
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Old 01-07-13, 08:32 PM
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I've painted for several builders that had wallpaper hung over bare drywall I would have gladly primed those walls but I can't work for free
A good friend of mine is also the most skilled wall-covering pro I know. I call him a paper hanger to get a rise out of him. He does still hang some paper, but he mostly hangs fabric.

It is a written clause in all of his contracts that the wall (or ceiling, or whatever) to be covered will be painted with sanding sealer, and allowed to dry completely, before the time he is scheduled to start. I've gone on a few jobs with him, and I've seen him pack up and leave if the walls hadn't been prepared as specified. He charges for that wasted trip, too.
 
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Old 01-11-13, 10:45 AM
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I wish all of the paper installers were like your friend and good for him for charging for the wasted trip.
 
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Old 01-11-13, 10:49 AM
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You are absolutely right. We are willing to tackle different things but not all. I'll admit to not being the most handy guy out there but I will try to fix a lot on my own. Some things though I will easily defer to people with more experience. I think this bathroom will look pretty good when we get it all done. the pace has been pretty slow but we are starting to catch a little steam with it. Sounds like you had accomplished a lot with your project.
 
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Old 01-11-13, 10:50 AM
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You got me on it being less work to replace the drywall since you were having someone do that for you

Yeah, wallpaper removal is unpleasant but when it's been applied to bare sheetrock is an absolute nightmare.
 
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Old 01-11-13, 11:11 AM
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Last year around this time I was hired by a local contractor to remove the wallpaper in an apartment in a building roughly 150 years old. One room, the paper came off easily. Next room, horrible. Went the same throughout the entire place. Until... The entrance way.

The entrance way was covered with god knows how many layers of wallpaper, most of them horrible, but none as horrible as the original one covering the original plaster with no priming or anything. I don't even know if they had primer 150 years ago. Needless to say, I used every tool at my disposal. Single edge razor blades, mud knives, 4 inch industrial razor blades, wire brushes, orbital sanders with 50 grit pads, etc. It took me one day to scrape a 4'X8' section of a wall and I was bloody and bruised from it.

The contractor came in to check on me (place was supposedly haunted). He looked at my hands and just said to hell with it. We oil primed, skimmed the part I'd scraped and called it done and ready for painting.
 
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Old 01-11-13, 11:59 AM
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I wish all of the paper installers were like your friend
I suspect that a fair number of the ones who get it wrong are homeowners who are doing their own work and either don't know what should be done or don't see why it matters. I got my friend to paper the ceiling and the area above the picture rail in one room, just because I remembered papered ceilings that I'd enjoyed as a child. Did I prep that first? You bet I did!

good for him for charging for the wasted trip.
He does some work for homeowners but 90% or more of his billable clients are architects or interior designers, so he's just charging another professional for being unprofessional and not honoring a contract. He charges for the trip either way, though, and he doesn't sell his time cheaply.

We are willing to tackle different things but not all.
Right. I did all of the electrical work on that old house, including the data,HVAC controls and alarm systems, but I hired a licensed master, who also happened to be a former inspector for the jurisdiction, to do the service upgrade, for example. I hired a professional plumber to work with me on replacing all of the supply and drain pipes, and I got more in good design and vintage parts than I paid him for his labor, IMO. Pros also did the lifting and leveling, the roof replacement, the chimney work, and some of the exterior painting, plus the heated tile floor in the upstairs bath. We had plenty to do with just the interior, plus doors, windows, insulation, and reworking the old furnace.

As you say, we did what we were comfortable doing, and could get done in a reasonable time, and hired the rest out.
 
 

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