Jump to content
Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo!

Painting over walllpaper glue

Recommended Posts

So, I have this old house with plaster walls and hideous wallpaper. I figure even a tyro like me can manage some paint.

The paper comes off easily, in whole pieces. It looks like vinyl. But there's no paper backing that I can see. Instead, what's left on the wall is a white, brushed on (bristle strokes visible and raised) coating on TOP of another wallpaper underneath. There are two sets of paper knife score marks through the white stuff, one of which lines up with the seams of the paper just taken down, another with the seams of the paper under the white coating. The stuff doesn't seem to soften or dissolve with sponged on water. Scraping, with much effort (the bottom paper seems stuck on really well) gets me to the plaster, with brown paper over its surface (backing for the second paper?).

I'm unsure how to move on. It will be a bear trying to get the second paper off, especially with what I think is brushed on adhesive on top of it. I've been advised by some paint people (in paint stores, who are naturally trying to help, but also trying to sell their product), that it might be best to leave the bottom paper on, sand down the glue, do spot repairs w/ mud, then prime and paint. I was warned not to use a water based primer over what's left of the glue and the paper underneath. Oil and alcohol based primers were recommended.

Any paint/wall paper people out there care to offer an opinion?


Kevin, the unhandy tyro painter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know you don't want to hear this but I would try to get the paper off. You can get stuff that helps with the glue at someplace like ACE. I honestly think you will be hugely disappointed if you try to mud/paint over the glue and paper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm no expert at all in this arena... All I can say is that we had our kitchen repainted recently, and the guys that did it took down the top layer of wallpaper, leaving the paper backing. They then floated the walls w/ two coats of mud (one premix, and one that they mixed - apparently, they stick differently, or something?), sanded, primed, and painted. I don't know if doing something similar would help in your case at all - if there's a premix mud that would stick to the surface you've already got, that might be easier than trying to just do spot repairs, etc? Don't know...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The advice you are getting is the best option of two.

The second option involves getting really ugly with removing the paper, this then involves causing holes and gouges in your base layer of plaster, which then would have to be filled and floated which is what you are being advised to do in the first place.

Good luck, Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The under coat sounds like a "Sizeing" = it is used like a paint to let the old wall paper come off easy and when you put up new paper it lets the New paper "slide" just a bit so that the joints can be matched up before the new glue gets too firm to let it move and line up match marks.

no the new paint will not stick so good.

If it is a sizeing the stuff you are calling Glue will not dezolv in water All the wallpaper glue I know of breaks down in water.

So Use a good scrub spong and TSP and clean the walls / let it dry and paint a test area with Kiltz. let it dry over night and thin try to wash , scrud , scratch it off. I bet it will stick just fine. a Water base Kiltz #2 can be cleaned up with soap and water on your brushes.

Edited by AlamoShooter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Kevin,

Plaster... YUK. You don't even want to think about what that will look like if you did take all the paper off. This was kinda my "kuleana" before I retired from it, so here goes. Alamo Shooter nailed it (as usual). One very important thing to remember. Any water or water based product that does penetrate the sizing will melt the glue and cause paper to wrinkle (release). That alone would make it worth it to me to seal the entire surface with an oil based sealer/primer (such as Kilz, Cover Stain, etc.) Solvent based materials are harder to work with and you'll need proper ventilation, but once the sealer is applied you can prep and paint the walls with any water based product without worry.

Here is how I would proceed.

Get walls as smooth as possible without disturbing what's under sizing.

Seal/Prime surface with oil based sealer.

Make smooth as necessary with drywall compound and sand.

Prime and paint with water based products.

Good luck and feel free to PM me with any questions. BTW, when you gonna come shoot with us again?


Edited by DonT
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the good advice - we'll work on it, and report back.

Don, I'll actually be in Hawaii next week, but this time out on the Big Island (the wife wants to try a different venue). Hopefully the following year I'll be able to shoot with you folks again.

Hi to the gang!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...