Big Surprise – and MESS – Under the Old Wallpaper Today

Digital ImageWhen I removed the old wallpaper, it took part of the wall with it. The previous installer skim-floated the walls with joint compound (similar to plaster) to smooth them, which is fine. But he neglected to prime the surface. So when I wet the old paper to soften the paste, the joint compound also got wet, and then reactivated, and pulled away from the wall in little chunks. This also happened when pulling the paper dry.

A primer would have prevented this. It always gets me when an installer won’t spend the extra hour and $10 to put a coat of primer on the wall. This is a nice home in a well-to-do neighborhood, so you would think the homeowners hired skilled professional. Oh well, sometimes even the “pros” cut corners.

My remedy was to scrape off any loose chunks, and then refloat the walls, creating a thin new layer on top of the old. Once that was dry, I sanded it smooth, and followed that with a primer. All this took a whole lot more time, but it created a smooth, stable surface for the new paper.

Everything will dry overnight, and I’ll hang the new wallpaper tomorrow.

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