We have a house that was built in the early 70's. Part of it was wallpaper and part was painted. We got all the wallpaper offf, except in the kitchen. That is our current project.
We got the top layer of the paper, the vinyl stuff, off and are in the process of removing the paper backing and glue underneath. However we ran into a big stumbling block now that we didn't have in the other rooms. We are using a steamer for this part and under the paper backing there is some kind of weird stuff I've never seen before. It's flaky, almost like sand too, and won't come off with the steamer. It seems to be paint under that but I think it is crappy paint so the walls look weird. Also in a few spots it looks like there might be concrete backerboard, like for tile instead of regular drywall.
Can anyone lend some advice on how to get it ready to accept normal paint? I've read that I could use Zinser BIN to seal it but I think it will still leave a weird look to the wall.
Do you have drywall or plaster walls? Sounds like it may be plaster that is water damaged and the skim coat is failing. The reason I say that is the "backer board" areas may be where the skim coat is completely gone and you are seeing the base plaster coat which is coarse looking; almost like concrete. if you don't know if you have drywall or plaster, pop off a electric face plate and take a peek. Wood slats or wire mesh are sure signs of plaster. Later on folks used drywall looking backer and put skim coats over top, so don't let that throw you off.
Then, assuming plaster and the underlying lath is stable and not rotted etc, fill deep areas with setting joint compound and then skim coat with multi-purpose drying joint compound.