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Old 02-13-2008, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Cornelius NC
374 posts, read 1,262,174 times
Reputation: 186

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Help! I have stripped off wallpaper countless times. My steamer usually works great. Now I bought a house with 2 layers of paint over paper. My steamer won't phase it. The little I have been able to get off has torn up the drywall badly. Wondering if something can be put over it instead of tearing it off. We thought about beadboard over it but not sure how hard that would be and how good it would be in a bathroom especially over a shower. Any ideas?
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:00 AM
 
Location: Back home to Northern CA
157 posts, read 431,849 times
Reputation: 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by trishlee View Post
Help! I have stripped off wallpaper countless times. My steamer usually works great. Now I bought a house with 2 layers of paint over paper. My steamer won't phase it. The little I have been able to get off has torn up the drywall badly. Wondering if something can be put over it instead of tearing it off. We thought about beadboard over it but not sure how hard that would be and how good it would be in a bathroom especially over a shower. Any ideas?
Wow! I've taken off 2 layers of wallpaper before in a kitchen remodel but not with paint layers over it. Seems like the only way to remove the paint would be to sand and scrape. Sounds like a lot of work! You said this is in a bathroom over a shower? Is the wallpaper under the paint bubbling up in places? If you want to just cover it you can probably find special paneling for bathrooms or wall tile? Sorry I'm not much help. Someone here will come along and be able to give you a better answer. It's amazing some of the dark little secrets that you can uncover & discover after buying a house
Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:55 AM
 
Location: St. Augustine FL
1,641 posts, read 3,450,898 times
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Wallpaper is one of those things that never should have been invented. I feel your pain. I just finished tearing mine down in the master bathroom. Ugh. It wasn't coming down without scraping, even with DIF, fabric softener and steamer. Finally discovered they had painted over wallpaper before laying another round of wallpaper. Even with the scraping, I couldn't get the darned stuff off the edges. Arghh!
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Volker, Kansas City, MO
12,062 posts, read 19,220,477 times
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Prime over it and then paint. No one will be the wiser, and you'll be happier.

If you only paint over it, it will eventually chip and peel. The primer prevents against this.
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Old 02-14-2008, 11:09 AM
 
7,707 posts, read 10,996,334 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trishlee View Post
Help! I have stripped off wallpaper countless times. My steamer usually works great. Now I bought a house with 2 layers of paint over paper. My steamer won't phase it. The little I have been able to get off has torn up the drywall badly. Wondering if something can be put over it instead of tearing it off. We thought about beadboard over it but not sure how hard that would be and how good it would be in a bathroom especially over a shower. Any ideas?

A heat gun should work.

Back in the day, I was prepping a room in an old building for painting. The paint on the archways was so thick that I decided to start fresh and began using a heat gun and scraper to remove the paint down to the wood.

It was like an archeological dig as I went through several different layers of different colors and then came upon some ancient wallpaper. Must have been from the 1920s.

I do not know what they were doing putting wallpaper on the archway, but I removed it all with the heat gun.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 32,425,087 times
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I have dealt with this issue numerous times. Painting over is not a good idea, even with primer. The multiple layers of paper are soft. It will flex, dent, etc and the paint on top of it will crack. Portions of the wallpaper will peel off eventually and take the paint with it. Painting over is a temporary solution but it will not look good long unless the room is rarely used.

Even skim coating over the paper is a bad idea. Eventually parts of the paper will let go and take the skim coat with it.

To remove it, get a device called the paper tiger. This pokes tiny holes through the paper. Go over the wall throughly but do not push so hard that you mess up the wall.

Get some DIF wallpaper remover (some people have said that Downey or any fabric softener works just as well). Mix it up with HOT water in a large garden sprayer. (cover your floors and furniture with plastic). Soak the wall throughly. Wait an hour and soak it again. Sometimes a third soak may be needed. As long as you poked enough holes, the paper will come right off, paint and all. Use a plastic scraper to minimize damage to the wall. If you need a metal scraper, be really careful. In some instances, if you can get a corner peeled up, you will find that you can dry scrape it as well, but that is a lot of work, risky (to the wall) and usually only works for portions of the paper before you need to soak it.

It really is not that hard. I would usually soak one wall on Saturday, go to breakfast, come home soak again, watch a cartoon, soak scrape clean up. Then I would enjoy the rest of saturday and do the next wall the following weekend.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Cornelius NC
374 posts, read 1,262,174 times
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I have gone over it with the paper tiger and my steamer. In the past I always found my steamer worked better than DIF. Never tried the Downey but it is worth a try. I will try that and then give DIF another try. What a mess.

Not sure what a heat gun is???
Thanks for the ideas.
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Old 02-14-2008, 02:32 PM
 
7,707 posts, read 10,996,334 times
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Quote:
Not sure what a heat gun is???
Just a tool for stipping paint with heat. You turn it on, it warms up quickly and then you hold it about an inch away from the paint. The paint starts to soften and melt almost immediatly. At that point you use a paint scraper and it comes of in big hunks.

As I described, I once used one to remove several layers of thick gloss paint and there was a layer of wallpaper underneath.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Chaos Central
1,123 posts, read 2,673,274 times
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This situation is Exhibit A for why nobody should ever paint over wallpaper.
It's just a fast and dirty coverup that will give somebody, sometime, a big fat headache. It's bad enough over a plaster wall, but over drywall....
I'd never install wallpaper on drywall to start with.

I'd hesitate to put beadboard over your paper n'paint job without consulting somebody who knows a lot about bathroom renovation. You don't want to trap moisture anywhere.

If this is a house you plan to stay in for a long time, you might be better off doing whatever it takes to remove the paint and paper completely now.

Some sites recommend a chemical paint stripper. Good luck!
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:52 PM
 
11,962 posts, read 7,751,820 times
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trish if the sq ft area of your bathroom is small, the fastest & economical way is to replace the drywall outright. You've already done some damage to the drywall, and I'm presuming there was damage they've already covered over with wallpaper. It will give you a chance to add insulation as needed and inspect what that might be on it's way out (electrical/plumbing). You didn't mention how old the structure.

Heat guns are meant for solid surfaces like wood or metal and are a fire hazard for combustibles. The fumes released from whatever someone put down are enough incentive to avoid it. I've done it, and won't again unless its outdoors and I'm familiar with the layers.
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