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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some advice. My house is over 100 yrs old, and all walls are plaster, or so I thought. I have been removing wallpaper in my bathroom and all walls went as expected until the last wall above the sink. I got the two layers off from the old paper and then I saw glimpses of some really old wallpaper so I kept stripping thinking someone got lazy and didn't remove the paper there. It took me hours, but I thought I was doing the right thing to get the wall down to the plaster. I even had some friends come over and help and they gave up after a few hours of very difficult stripping. Well I have now discovered that I was taking off the top layers of wallboard!! No wonder it was so difficult. I have 3/4 of the wall stripped down to the chalky layer. Now what should I do? I see no point to keep stripping the rest of the areas so I am wondering if I can get some advice on what to put on the whole area to secure the wallboard. I don't have a lot of cash to spend and I will be doing this alone so please keep it simple and cheap!! (haha probably not possible) BTW: I plan to wallpaper that wall again so it doesn't have to be "perfect", but I still want my papering to be successful. Thanks for any help... I am just sick for all the hours I spent actually wrecking that wall.
 

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There is no need to replace anything! Just plaster over any holes/unevenness you may have made.

If youre just papering you dont even need to prime it necessarily.

What you should definitely do is roll the walls with thin wallpaper paste directly before hanging your paper. That will keep your paste from soaking away into the wall.

If you want to play it safe you can prime the wall instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I might want to add here that the wall is secure and solid. The chalky layer is a little gouged in spots but I don't see any movement in the wallboard. Would that make a difference in my steps to prep for wallpaper? Also the paper is fairly thick, I really don't want to replace. I have joint compound and a Water base sealer/primer. Should I have an oil based sealer/primer?
 

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No. Just make sure you fill the holes. What kind of paper do you want to use by the way? Pure paper (which you have to apply the paste to and let steep) or a modern non-woven wallcovering (with which you can paste the wall with a roller)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay I just want to confirm: I should fill in gouges/holes with my joint compound and then roll on the water based primer/sealer and then the wall should be set for the new paper? What about the areas where it's NOT down to the chalky layer? Do I need to remove the layer so the WHOLE wall is down to the same layer? It is so labor intense, BUT I will do it if necessary. Just trying to avoid anymore un-necessary work!
Thanks JourneymanBrian in advance... much appreciated.
 

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If the people answering you so far have long term experience with this, then I might accept it. However I find it kind of hard to believe they do, since this is kind of a weird situation.

The fact is, drywall gets its strength from the paper. If you have any doubts about this, think about how drywall is cut when you hang it. Just a slight cut with a utility knife through the paper facing, and the drywall basically just falls apart from its own weight. Then you just need to cut through the paper on the other side.

So your wall is very weak right now. Personally I would replace the drywall (it's really not that hard - in fact for nasty wallpaper removals, I would sometimes do that anyway.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
jeffnc - I appreciate your response, but I have pounded and pushed on this wall and it is as solid as my plaster walls. That is why I didn't realize it was wallboard until I forced a screw driver through it to test. Is it possible that because it was probably installed in the 40s or 50s (maybe even earlier), that it could be much different than newer wallboard? The wallpaper that is stuck to it looks like something from the early to mid 20th century. So please let me know what you think could happen to the wall after I wallpaper it. I will not be papering until next weekend so I still have a window of opportunity to have someone come in and put in new wallboard, but if not necessary why spend the money??
 

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First of all, it could very well be that wallpapering essentially puts the strength layer of paper back on there. I really don't know.

Here is the best way I can describe it. Get yourself a piece of drywall, maybe 1x2 feet or so. Now score it with a utility knife just slightly - only enough to cut through the paper.

Now from the side you just cut, try to crack it open. For example, put the cut side of paper against your knee, and pull with your hands toward you on the 2 outside edges. You'll find it's fairly strong. That's because you're pushing against the strong paper on the other side. Now flip it over so that the cut is on the outside of your knee. Now that drywall will snap like a little dry twig.

Now do it again, but cut both sides of the drywall. Now just a shake of it in your hand and that drywall will fall apart.

Your wall feels strong because you're pushing against the solid paper on the other side of the wall. But I guarantee you your wall is very weak and the slightest of house shifting or studs slightly changing shape with humidity will cause movement and possible cracking.

Will your wall make it? It's possible. You might get lucky. If you replace the drywall, you will never know. If you don't replace the drywall, you might never know either - or you might. But it's not nearly as strong as you think it is by pushing on it so you're just taking some risk.
 

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drywall does not get its strength from the paper.

It gets its strength from the plaster.

The OPs situation is not that unusual. Removing paper-based wallcovering from drywall is practically undoable without removing parts of the drywall paper.
no need to worry
 

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drywall does not get its strength from the paper. It gets its strength from the plaster.
It obviously get some strength from the gypsum itself. And it is not plaster. Drywall core is compressed calcium sulfate. Plaster on walls is essentially lime plaster and relies on rather complicated chemical hardening which you can read about here. That chemistry explains why it's strong by itself - it's basically like cement, which drywall definitely is not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaster#Lime_plaster

But you are wrong in that drywall definitely gets much of its strength from the paper facing. Anyone who has installed drywall knows this and in fact relies on it because drywall snaps very easily when you score the paper facing, and is very difficult to break when the paper facing is intact.

This from the Gypsum Institute:

Gypsum board takes advantage of the strength inherent in the core and enhances this strength by the use of admixtures and high tensile strength paper facers. The face papers effectively act as composite reinforcement to the core and are an important part of the panel’s ultimate strength and performance.

https://www.gypsum.org/technical/technical-topical-papers/

The OPs situation is not that unusual. Removing paper-based wallcovering from drywall is practically undoable without removing parts of the drywall paper.
The OP's situation is unusual. Yes, bits of the paper facing often come off when removing drywall, and this situation is remedied by a coat of Gardz and some patching. But that's not what happened. The entire face coat of paper has been removed. That wall is far weaker than when she started and is at risk of cracking.
 

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for one, drywall is plaster. Calcium Sulfate is gypsum. This is why drywall is also called plasterboard.

As you quoted, it takes advantage of the "strength inherent in the core", strengthened with "admixtures".

You do not need a coat of "Gardz" or anything else...

The drywall is not at risk.
 

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Perhaps being from another country explains your confusion over terms, but reading the links I posted should have cleared that up. Plaster walls and drywall are not the same thing. All it takes is 30 seconds messing around with the 2 materials with your hands and that much should be obvious to anyone.

And the link I quoted specifically said "The face papers...are an important part of the panel’s ultimate strength and performance."

It doesn't get much more clear than that.

It seems obvious you haven't cut and hung drywall before or else you would know. Or perhaps you cut your drywall with a saw or something ridiculous like that? :)

I would like to hear of any situation you have ever experienced before where the paper facing has been completely removed from a drywall installation. This is a very rare situation. You apparently have some experience applying plaster walls and maybe this is where your confusion is coming from. Drywall core is definitely not the same as plaster. The chemicals are different, the process is different, and the end result is different. This is not a situation that you have experience with.
 

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If you don't understand the difference between a plaster wall and drywall core, then you simply haven't used them both. That's fine, and I really couldn't care less if you learn anything here or not, but you need to stop passing on bad information. The way drywall is formed and the way plaster walls are built are two different things. If paper weren't needed on drywall, they wouldn't waste money making it that way.
 
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