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Old 11-20-2012, 03:25 PM   #1
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


We recently purchased a 1920 rowhome in Baltimore. All three bedrooms are covered in painted over, textured wallpaper. There is extensive bubbling on the walls, which I assume is damage to the plaster. Because of the damaged plaster, I am hesitant to remove the wallpaper.

1. Should I just paint over the wallpaper (again)?
2. What can I do about the texture of the wallpaper?

I am looking for a semi-long term solution, because who knows when I will be able to put new dry wall in all three rooms (which I think is the permanent solution).

Thanks!
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


There's alot to answer this. Despite what someone will come on here and say ( joe..) , resheetrocking is not the answer if you have the skills ( or more likely hire a guy with the skills) to repair it correctly.
Painting over the paper again will not do anything to fix the problem, as you know.
Things to know how to do-
Set up to work clean, because there is probably lead in the old paint
How to properly strip paper, and then prep walls
How to Correctly fix plaster cracks
How to skim walls to resurface
How to prime with the right materials
What finish materials to use.

You can use search function here and see much on each of these topics.

I recommend finding the right pro and doing it right, one room at a time as budget and convenience allows.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:30 PM   #3
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


Those are some good thoughts, Brushjockey. I will certainly be searching those topics.

Why is re-sheetrocking not the answer?

Also, would repairing "cracks" in the plaster be similar to repairing bubbles?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:42 PM   #4
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


Bubbles can mean many things. But in plaster it usually means crumbling surface due to cracks. if it is just bubbles in the paper, and not in the plaster itself stripping and prep ( which includes removing as much paste as you can and then priming with a sealer to stop any paste residue from rewetting) should take care of it.
Sometimes you don't know until you remove. But having done hundreds of jobs like this, i can say the list I gave you is probably pretty accurate.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:45 PM   #5
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Oh - about resheetrocking-
You would need to remove all the trim to rerock, or loose all definition of edges making it look like you slapped rock over it .
Then all the trim (assuming that you didn't ruin it in the removal) doesn't fit anymore because you just changed the dimensions of the walls.
And then the rock still needs to be taped, primed and finished, and all the trim repainted, repairing what happened.
Or you can just fix the walls as described.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:54 PM   #6
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


Cut out one or more of the bubbles to determine what is below the surface. If you are looking at plaster, remove everything down to the substrate. As Brush Jockey advises, you will have to remove all the old paste. If you are faced with extensive hairline cracking, go to a good paint store that deals in wallpaper and ask to see lining paper. They can advise on installation. (It is hung horizontally and will provide a smooth, even surface for decorating.

If the surface is miraculousy (sp?) still intact after 90 years, conventional priming and patching should do the trick.

Stay tuned: I'm sure there will be alot of comments on this.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:54 PM   #7
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


Main reasons sometimes it's a better idea to remove the old plaster and drywall.
It will open up the wall so you can add outlets.
Up grade wiring.
Find rotted studs, insect infestations.
Have access to install fire blocking.
Access to install insulation (could careless if someone told you it's been insulated, by now it's settled and your going to viods. And more the likly just big holes in the old pockets where the old window weights were where you can see day light.
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:00 PM   #8
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Which is basically a complete gut and rebuild..btw..
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:12 PM   #9
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


I bet the "bubbling" is just the paper letting loose. You might have pristine plaster under there. Remove a wall and see.

http://www.wallpaperinstaller.com/wa...stripping.html

btw, I work in Batlimore
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:20 PM   #10
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisn View Post
I bet the "bubbling" is just the paper letting loose. You might have pristine plaster under there. Remove a wall and see.

http://www.wallpaperinstaller.com/wa...stripping.html

btw, I work in Batlimore
yep dont look for problems it could very well be perfect plaster under the paper.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:21 AM   #11
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


Thank you so much everyone! Since this sounds like a lot of work, I think it will be a while, but I will update when we figure out what the issue is looking like.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:25 AM   #12
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Bubbly plaster + wallpaper + paint


You could take a pic or two and link it here. Might be able to diagnose a bit better.
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:39 PM   #13
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yes ^
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