Hot Topics: Prepping Walls for Paint After Wallpaper Hot Topics: Prepping Walls for Paint After Wallpaper

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This DIYer is getting ready to paint some walls after removing wallpaper, but has a few questions about spackle, joint compound, and which primer is best. As always, the forum has suggestions!

Original Post: Proper wall primer after removing wallpaper

yardnut Member

I am getting to the point where I need to start thinking about paint on my walls, now that I have the wallpaper down. I am still scrubbing and making sure I have all of the sticky stuff off, and the last little remnants of paper. I still have over half a gallon of the Zinsser BIN primer that I used on my cabinets, but that is a very thin primer. I'm thinking I need something that goes on a little thicker since there are a few little divots/uneven spots here and there. It's not a lot. I mean, the wall is really in pretty good shape in most areas. I do plan on spackling the more noticeable areas. So, I am not looking for primer to cover all of that. Is there a primer that is typically used after removing wallpaper? The surface seems clean, but every time I go over it with a cloth it seems a little sticky. I honestly don't know if I will ever get every last little bit of it off.

joecaption Member

Hope your not using spackle to fix the flaws. That's only good for small nail holes. I'd be using this as a primer:
Zinsser® BONDZ® Maximum Adhesion Primer Product Page

yardnut Member

Yes, I am using it to fix small gouges and nail holes. What else should I use?

Ah, I forgot. Joint compound. Yep, I forgot all about that stuff. Had some in the garage from the last time I took down wallpaper!

Actually, now that I am working on getting the walls and trim ready, it would be great if I could prime everything with the same thing. I have the BIN and I have to use it on the trim (all the same knotty pine as my cabinets) so that would make it so much easier if I could use it on the wall, too.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Zinsser's Gardz is specifically formulated to be applied after the wallpaper is removed. It will seal any exposed gypsum, torn paper, and leftover adhesive. Before the advent of Gardz we always used an oil-based primer (any solvent-based primer will work). Latex primers/paints won't seal the adhesive well and can cause problems where the drywall paper is torn. After the primer is dry, it's usually a good idea to sand the walls before applying the finish paint.

stickshift Group Moderator

Please don't rely on the primer to fix any imperfections on the wall, as the original post made me think you were hoping it would. (It will not.) That's what the joint compound does.

yardnut Member

Yeah, I am not looking for it to fix anything other than just places where the drywall is not as smooth as the rest. Maybe paint will do that all by itself. I used the joint compound last night, and it works great. Very easy to use. Is the Gardz a product that really soaks into the wall? Just wondering if I should go with a gallon, or if I could get away with a quart. (I'm guessing a gallon.)

I'll probably need the rest of the BIN anyway for the trim. I did the trim on one door and one small section of chair rail, and just from how much that used, I'm pretty sure I will need every drop, if not more.

stickshift Group Moderator

No. You fix the wall with joint compound—that's it. Paint can actually make defects in the wall MORE apparent. Please do not rely on the paint or primer to fix anything. Make sure the wall is as perfect as you can get it before you prime and paint.

yardnut Member

One more question about primer. I have a standard interior door and two steel exterior doors (steel) that I also need to paint. I've cleaned them well and the existing paint is in good shape (smooth and a semi-gloss). I want to use the same paint on them that I used on my cabs and soffit, which is a satin (but it's a fairly nice sheen and really looks more like a semi-gloss). So, I need to prime all the doors. I used plain ol' KILZ on my bathroom doors, and that did fine. Is it OK to use that on the steel doors, or do I need yet another special primer?

stickshift Group Moderator

Unless switching from oil-based to latex, primer is not needed over existing paint. Give it a light scuff sand and then paint away.

yardnut Member

I AM using the joint compound. All good.

I got the primer at the paint store. I asked for Gardz, and they gave me a gallon of Allprime. They said it is the exact same stuff. Water-based too, so that will be an easier clean up than BIN. Got my work cut out for me this weekend!

stickshift Group Moderator

Is this the primer you got?

I don't know anything about it but the description does not make me think it's equivalent to Gardz, especially since it's made by the same company.

yardnut Member

No, it's this: It's EXACTLY the same thing—just a relabeled product for different sellers (paint stores).

AllPrime - Paint Talk - Professional Painting Contractors Forum

Lock down porous and crumbling surfaces with Rust-Oleum® Zinsser® GARDZ® Problem Surface Sealer. This low-odor, water-based formula dries to a clear, matte finish, creating a hard, paintable seal over damaged drywall, adhesive residues and other chalky surfaces.
Repairs torn paper on damaged drywall, eliminates bubbles
Seals skim coats & spackling
Protects new drywall
Seals old wallpaper adhesive
Easy to apply, high spread rate, fast drying
Water-base, low odor, dries clear


Performance Characteristics
• Penetrates and seals wallcovering adhesive, texture and skim coats, spackling and new drywall
• Locks down unstable surfaces
• Low odor
• Dries clear
• Soap and water cleanup
Recommended Uses – Apply to interior walls, ceilings and related surfaces.
ALLPRIME™ WATER-BASE PROBLEM SURFACE SEALER is recommended for sealing problem porous surfaces such as bare and damaged drywall, plaster, cement and cementitious coatings, spackling paste and joint compound, calcimine, stucco, acoustic and texture finishes, uncoated wallpaper, etc. ALLPRIME™ WATER-BASE PROBLEM SURFACE SEALER will also adhere to and seal in old wallpaper paste and adhesive residue. ALLPRIME™ WATER-BASE PROBLEM SURFACE SEALER has a milky blue color that helps to determine where it has been applied, but dries water clear. It is formulated for use directly from the container; tinting is not recommended.

stickshift Group Moderator

OK. Good link there to explain it's the same stuff in a different can.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

What I find more odd is that a Zinnser Gardz substitute is made by Zinnser, but with a different label. Cracks/joints always show more when painted white versus most anything darker.

yardnut Member

Marksr, I agree. It's wacky. It's not substitute, either—it's the exact same product. When I called the paint store and asked if they had Gardz, the response was "Yup!" Not, "No but we have the same thing in a different can." I mean, they KNOW it's the same thing, relabeled by Zinsser, for paint stores. They explained it to me, but it sure is confusing for us consumers.

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