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Old 07-14-2008, 11:06 AM   #1
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


Okay, so my fella has a 25 plus year old house and there are at least tw0 existing layers of wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom. One layer he had applied by a handyman several years ago to cover up ugly wallpaper and because the old wallpaper was peeling away at the seams near the shower. Now the "new" wallpaper is doing the same thing. I know there is at least one "hole" in the sheetrock that was papered over with these two layers of wallpaper and never repaired.

So, do I try to remove all the wallpaper and risk that the sheetrock was never primed/treated (I do not know what the "default" was 25 plus years ago), fix the hole (a new task for me but I am willing to try), and paint or repaper, OR do I take the "easier" way out and just try reapplying yet another layer of paper (I would still like to fix the hole...it is just not right that there is a feel-able hole under layers of paper) and hope it does not peel because of the shower steam?

Any suggestions?

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Old 07-14-2008, 01:16 PM   #2
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


Yes, you should absolutely try and remove the wall coverings
As you are unsure of how the original was applied, try with a small area first
You should be able to pull off enough wall covering to get an idea of what your next steps should be

Painting or re-papering over the existing wallcovering is not the "easier way out", and each have their own problems, immediate, future, and potential
Admittedly there are times when it's either that, or re-sheetrock*
But that is an "absolute last resort" type of thing rather than an "easier" type deal

*which if it gets to that point, re-rocking or over-rocking is probably more of a viable economic/DIY alternative than most people think...the labor is not that much different to over-rock and mud as it is to prime, skim, sand, etc...

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Old 07-14-2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


Thanks - I think

So, first step should be try to remove the wall paper starting with a small area. I am going to assume that I can be patient enough NOT to ruin the sheet rock that is hanging because my fella would not know how to process "rehang sheet rock"... he would rather move, I think

To me, from what I have read, the "worse case scenario" if we want to paint is that we remove the wallpaper (with difficulty) and we end up with bare sheet rock. We will need to get all of the wallpaper glue off the bare sheet rock and then prime/skim/sand/paint.

Best case scenario is that we would find floated walls under the wall paper and in that case, we would only need to prime and paint?

Worse case scenario if we want to re-wallpaper is that we get rid of the old wallpaper and find bare sheet rock that has to be primed and then re-wallpapered... pretty much the same if we find floated walls?

And I know each step has multiple steps and maybe even multiple ways to be accomplished. I just want to have as many possibilities planned for before we start - the idea of having the guest bathroom in disarray for very long would not go over well with the fella.

I have just moved into my fella's house and he is not a comfortable DIY-er. I think he plans for the worst and hopes for the best but that anxiety that comes with "planning for the worse" can get pretty hairy at times. The more I can plan ahead, the less anxious he will be... the happier our house will be.
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Old 07-14-2008, 04:23 PM   #4
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dumbunusedid
To me, from what I have read, the "worse case scenario" if we want to paint is that we remove the wallpaper (with difficulty) and we end up with bare sheet rock. We will need to get all of the wallpaper glue off the bare sheet rock and then prime/skim/sand/paint.
Incorrect
Worst case is that the original sheetrock was never primed or sized, and removing the wallcovering is destroying the top layer of "paper" (removing it and ripping it) of the sheetrock, exposing the "rock" underneath
Quote:
Originally Posted by dumbunusedid
Best case scenario is that we would find floated walls under the wall paper and in that case, we would only need to prime and paint?
Best case, the walls were properly primed (possibly painted) and sized
Removal is a mere time consuming annoyance rather than a room destroying nightmare
Priming, and with what, would depend on exactly what's left and what shape it's in
Quote:
Originally Posted by dumbunusedid
Worse case scenario if we want to re-wallpaper is that we get rid of the old wallpaper and find bare sheet rock that has to be primed and then re-wallpapered... pretty much the same if we find floated walls?
Repaint or re-cover, same difference...same process, same issues, same fix
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Originally Posted by dumbunusedid
And I know each step has multiple steps and maybe even multiple ways to be accomplished. I just want to have as many possibilities planned for before we start - the idea of having the guest bathroom in disarray for very long would not go over well with the fella.
Wallpaper removal is one of those things that is basically an unknown until you start...or at least do a test
Even then you start with the least aggressive, then step it up if needed
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:26 AM   #5
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


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Originally Posted by slickshift View Post
Incorrect
Worst case is that the original sheetrock was never primed or sized, and removing the wallcovering is destroying the top layer of "paper" (removing it and ripping it) of the sheetrock, exposing the "rock" underneath
Any idea of how likely it is that the walls were never primed or sized properly? I am not sure how common that was back in the 80's.
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:52 PM   #6
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


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Any idea of how likely it is that the walls were never primed or sized properly? I am not sure how common that was back in the 80's.
There is no guess I would care to make
It would be a complete shot in the dark
It depends on who built your house
Many of the Banking De-Reg Housing Boom homes where slapped together by hacks
But many were still built by quality companies
Even a hack house could have been finished by the owners
...and they could have done it right or hacked it

You won't have a handle on it till you test it
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:49 AM   #7
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


http://billarchibald.com/size.html


Originally Posted by dumbunusedid
Any idea of how likely it is that the walls were never primed or sized properly? I am not sure how common that was back in the 80's.


As Slick says,It is just a guess,BUT ,in my experience about 70% of the time the walls were not primed properly( as in a wallcovering primer)and remember priming and sizing are 2 completly different animals. Above is a link from another hanger that explains it in some detail.
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:36 AM   #8
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


Wow... thanks guys! Although I have to say that I am not optimistic. I bet most folks who decide to wallpaper their walls for the first time do not think about how easy it will be for future folks to remove the wallpaper.

One last question... If walls were not properly primed or sized, is there anything procedurally that can be done to get the wallpaper off and still have undamaged sheetrock that can then be properly treated? Beyond just being careful?
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:08 PM   #9
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


If you've got the skills to do that, you could name your price to work for any company that does wallpaper removal, and be hailed as a hero all across The (paint and wallcovering) Land
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Old 07-17-2008, 05:18 AM   #10
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


If you've got the skills to do that, you could name your price to work for any company that does wallpaper removal, and be hailed as a hero all across The (paint and wallcovering) Land


So true. Or you could use the info here to at least have the basic knowledge to have a go at it.

http://www.safeandsimple.com/

http://www.wallpaperinstaller.com/wa...stripping.html
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Old 07-17-2008, 10:03 PM   #11
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


I have read your posts and some of the replies. I bought a home about the same age in college and ran into this problem. I remodeled the bathroom and guess what....wallpaper....two layers of it with no primer. I pulled half of the sheetrock paper off. I bought a large container of mud....I applied mud to the uneven spots and then sanded....and repeat.....and repeat.....It was a nightmare but the result was great. Now it sounds like you are in the same boat that I was in....I had never done this before. Get ready for a long trip if you start pulling it off.

On the other hand...I remodeled our kitchen which had wallpaper. Do you think I pulled it off.. Heck no.....I used an oil bases primer and then I painted it...That is the option that I suggest if your wallpaper is still sticking to the walls.

Warning: I am no professional. I just know that sometimes professionals give advice to us common folks that is not realistic.

Good luck...We need to start a prayer chain for you!!
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:14 AM   #12
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


I just know that sometimes professionals give advice to us common folks that is not realistic.


And that means?
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Old 07-18-2008, 07:30 AM   #13
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


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I just know that sometimes professionals give advice to us common folks that is not realistic.


And that means?
I do not mean to type words in his name, but I think he probably means that although it is probably "right" and "best" to go ahead a remove the wallpaper, fix the walls properly, for us common folk it it probably not realistic to expect us to do all of that and do it right (and us ever do it again ) In this case, I know that at least some of the work done before was pretty crappy (e.g., at least one good sized hole that was just wall papered over) and it does need to be done right.

We recently built a pond for six goldfish and 2 Koi. You go on analogous pond forums and no matter what plans you have, there will always be at least one person to make you feel guilty about what a crappy plan you have ("You are only making it 1500 gallons? Why not just throw the Koi out in the grass and get the killing over with!"). It does not matter if that plan came from the advice of 10 other people who made you feel guilty about your original plan. Eventually you have to decide for yourself what it realistic for your implementation.

By asking here what needs to be done to accomplish what I want properly, I have learned that it is probably a bigger job than we originally thought so I either have to be patient and plan accordingly or I need to get a professional to do it and even then, expect the job to be bigger and take longer than we had originally expected. This is definitely not a job that I can realistically expect to be accomplished in a weekend right before we have guests that will be using the bathroom

I am still not 100% sure how we will approach it. We live in Slidell and the professional resources are still tied up pretty much all the time on Katrina repairs. It is still going to be a while before we can easily hire someone for such a relatively small job so I have to factor that in. It will definitely take me a lot longer to actually do the work than a professional. I may still be able to get it done quicker than someone who knows what they are doing if it takes them forever to get started and then to complete because of competing work projects.

It is better to know what needs to be done to do it right. Sure, in another situation I may easily have decided to glue all the seams down real good and just lay another layer or paper on top but I have the time and I (with my boyfriend's help) have the patience and the desire to do this "right" this time. I do want to make sure that whatever I do, the next people who may come in here to change paper or paint will not have to worry about this being a nightmare.

Last edited by dumbunusedid; 07-18-2008 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 07-18-2008, 09:04 PM   #14
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


The post before this explained what I meant.

Back to the wallpaper...If you read my post, you will see that I had to do this one time. I haven't seen this from anyone else, but I suggest using three things that worked really well for me. A steamer, a scorer, and a bottle of Spray Dap. You can get all from Lowe's. The steamer was the most handy of all three, but I had to use the Dap to loosen some of the glue in other areas.

Just prepare yourself if that sheetrock paper starts coming off. It will take alot of time to get the walls looking right, but it can be done. Good luck to you!
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:48 AM   #15
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How many layers of wallpaper is too many?


dumbunusedid; Great post. I certainly was not trying to be critical,just helpful.It sounds as if you want to do the right thing. Good luck

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