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I need advice on painting over the base layer of wallpaper. What steps should I take?

I need help.  I have a bathroom with 30+ year old wallpaper, on non primed drywall.  I eventually want to paint this bathroom.  I managed to remove the top layer of the wallpaper so the only part left to remove is the thin bottom layer attached to the wall.  So far, I have tried: water and vinegar, fabric softener and hot water, DIF, Piranha, Formula 409 and Dawn with hot water.  Nothing works!  I am giving up and have decided to paint over the remaining bottom layer of wall paper. 


I know this is not the best option, but to save the walls, it is my only option. During the process of trying to remove the bottom layer (which is only coming off in 1-2 inch increments) I have damaged some of the wall-nothing too deep, just shreds of drywall.   Does anyone have any tips on how I should proceed to insure the paint stays on the wall, as well as what I should do with the parts of the wall where I have already tried to take off the bottom layer?  Again, I am working with not primed drywall, so the places where I have attempted to remove, have small gouges in them. 


Any advice would be very much appreciated!

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Posted 2013-10-09T22:29:23+0000  by ale4545 ale4545





Water has not succeeded in getting your wallpaper to let go, however, you must still protect against the possibility that  water soluble paint could cause it to bubble up. To this end, you need to seal the remaining paper with an oil based primer such as the orignal Kilz or CoverStain.


Before sealing the paper, go over the entire area with a medium grade sandpaper such as 120 grit. You want to knock down any high spots. You want to feel for any loose areas and remove the looseness before priming. Also check for any lapped seams. After sanding, brush off any paper fuzz on the surface.


After the oil primer has thoroughly dried, you can patch the damage which had been caused in the futile attempt at removal. Two or three coats might be neccessary, depending on the depth of the damage. I personally prefer to patch with either drywall topping compound or easy sand "hot mud", the quick dry version of wall compound.


After the walls are nice and smooth, prime with a premium sealer such as Behr's No. 75 Sealer. This is not where you want to use a lesser PVA drywall primer. Nor is it a place for the combination paint/primer products. You want to SEAL these walls against future moisture penetration.


Finally, top coat with a quality, moisture and mildew resistant paint such as Behr's Ultra. It may require a second coat for optimum color coverage and sheen retention. Especially where steamy showers are involved, you can't seal the walls too well!


Hope this has helped.

Posted 2013-10-10T02:32:21+0000  by ordjen

Thank you for answering my question. I am going to go step by step on your advice.  In a vain attempt I tried yet again to remove more of the wallpaper backing-it will not budge!  Thank you again.

Posted 2013-10-10T03:02:44+0000  by ale4545
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