More Work on Yesterday’s Delaminating Wall

Re yesterday’s post … after I got the wall stabilized, I skim-floated the surface to smooth it. That dried overnight, and today I sanded it smooth, vacuumed up the dust and then wiped residual dust off the wall with a damp sponge, and then primed with good old Gardz. I feel pretty confident that that wall is secure enough to withstand the tension of drying wallpaper. But, just to be sure, I applied a liner. A liner is a special paper that goes on the wall under the decorative wallpaper. In this case, the purpose is to distribute tension so that no stress is placed directly on the wall. So it’s important that the seams of the liner and the decorative wallpaper do not line up or fall on top of each other. This way any tension is dispersed and distributed, and any inner surface that wants to delaminate will be held in place by the layers of paper over it. In this photo, the section to the left has the new white liner, and I am moving toward the right to finish this wall.
t’s important that the liner be flat and that the seams lie down tightly, so no bumps or ridges show under the new wallpaper. I was really pleased with how these seams just melted away.
There are all kinds of liner papers out there. This one is a stiff, somewhat thin non-woven option made in Germany.
Using a liner does add to the cost of the installation, for both material and labor to hang it.

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7 Responses to “More Work on Yesterday’s Delaminating Wall”

  1. Julie Pacini Says:

    I am so glad I found this post of yours! I have been pulling my hair out trying to figure out what is wrong with my walls. I am not a professional – just a homeowner. I hung non woven wallpaper in my dining room 3 years ago. It was a disaster, all the seams split and the walls came apart when I pulled the wallpaper off. I had no one to guide me – I bought Kilz and “sealed” the walls, rolled 3 layers of primer on my walls and then hung new wallpaper. Now that I know what the issue is I am so concerned that I didn’t use Gardz. (The first time I hung the wallpaper I did not use any primer at all – I think that was the problem mixed with very old unstable walls) I am very concerned my new wallpaper will break open at the seams again! Let me know if you have any guidance!

    • thewallpaperlady Says:

      Hi Julie. I’m glad my blog was helpful to you! Yes, this delaminating issue is a big worry of mine, especially when I have clients in older homes, particularly 1920’s – 1930’s. If you have unstable surfaces inside the wall, it’s really difficult to “fix” as the damage has already been done, as they say. And the more we do on top of the old, the more layers we’re adding, and the more potential for further failure.
      KILZ Original (oil-based) is an excellent product. But, as you guessed, it’s really more of a stain-blocker, and not meant as something to stabilize a crumbly wall. Gardz, with its thin, penetrating abilities, might have helped better. Note that other companies make similar products, including Sherwin-Williams’s own brand – but they’re not as good.
      Anyway, at this point, with so many layers on your wall, and it probably will be quite difficult to scrape all that off and treat it. It may be best to put up a whole new surface. Like some of that thin, 1/4″ drywall that you put up right over the existing wall. The other option would be to get the wall as stable as possible, and then use a bridging liner made of non-woven / paste-the-wall material, run horizontally, like I did. With that running horizontally and the new wallpaper hanging vertically on top of it, stress on the seams is distributed and hopefully won’t allow the wall to pull apart. Of course, you have to hope the liner holds tight until you get the wallpaper up the next day. A non-woven wallpaper is extra strong, and will help resist tearing.
      There is another product called FlexiWall that is like thin drywall but in rolls, that you might explore, too.
      Or how about putting up beaded-board paneling? Thin enough to go right over your wall.
      Let me know how it goes!

    • Julie Pacini Says:

      Thanks so much! Since the new wallpaper just went up about 2 weeks ago I am just waiting and watching. Praying it doesn’t delaminate (now that I found what the problem was after putting up the new wallpaper!). 3 years ago I did not prime the walls. I am hoping since I primed this time it will help with the tension / torque of the unstable walls. (If it does pop back open I am glad I have your answers here for reference) Also when I was wallpapering I noticed if I left residual glue on the wall that had three coats of wallpaper primer on it – it would crumble and crackle the wallpaper primer! I know now this can happen with regular paint on the walls – but is it normal to happen with wallpaper primed walls? (My walls in the dining room are circa 1920s)
      I love your blog – I wish I had found it sooner!

  2. thewallpaperlady Says:

    I think that paint crackling effect happens with any latex product put over glue – that was a popular faux finishing technique about 30 years ago. (I have a few blog posts about that flaking, too, if the search engine will take you to them.) Although I have had success putting Roman 977 wallpaper primer over paste residue (some reaction with the paste, but it did not flake off the wall).
    And, yes, wallpaper primer is formulated to resist that tension from paper drying and shrinking … but it can only withstand so much, esp. if the wall is unstable underneath. BTW, “calcimate” in paint is kinda gritty and sandy and chalky, and that’s likely the main culprit here (and in my blog post), and it was in use in the ’20’s & ’30’s.
    It’s just not possible to wash all that paste residue off. So, a stain blocker would seal it off, and then follow that with a wallpaper primer. (wallpaper paste won’t stick to oil-base, and probably not to shellac, either) Geeze – a lot of steps! Plus adding more layers to your wall.
    Let’s hope your paper is up for good now. Fingers crossed!
    I’m tickled that there are folks like you out there reading my blog!

  3. Julie Pacini Says:

    Well some bad news already! I noticed one of my seams already (3 weeks after I put the wallpaper up) is pulled from the wall. The seam is spaced apart but not broken open (yet). But if I use my finger and touch it the paper bounces off the wall and it’s thick, looks like it pulled the primer with it. I am not sure whether to wait and watch, or if and how I should repair it. If you had any thoughts on this! Thanks so much!! (I saved your post as well about using Kwick seal plus if that is an option right now).

  4. thewallpaperlady Says:

    Arrgh! How disappointing!
    I don’t think it was me who said anything about Kwick Seal … I don’t even know what that is … had to Google it. I don’t see how using a caulk product would help … I mean, I’ve done it, when I was less knowledgeable about the cause of these failures. But I have no follow up info as to if it held up. Seems to me that if the sub-surfaces are unstable, anything you put on it, paint, paper, or caulk, will pull away.
    You might be at the point of adding a whole new surface, such as the 1/4″ drywall I mentioned the other day. Hanging a bridging liner, and then the next day hanging your paper may work, too, because they work together to hold each other together … although the wall could still come apart at the ceiling and baseboard.
    I also saw on Etsy or someplace once, a gal in a rental apartment made a wooden frame of some sort and attached it to the wall, or network of thin boards, and then stapled her wallpaper to that. You could also use fabric.
    So sorry that one decorative attempt has turned into a huge hassle.

  5. thewallpaperlady Says:

    A bit more:

    Danger Signs of an Unstable Wall Surface

    Re Yesterday’s Post – Tricks to Stave off Wall Delamination

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