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I was trying to remove a picture frame which was adhered to the wall with some double-sided foam tape.

Unfortunately, the foam tape was so sticky and ripped some of the paint off the wall (see pictures below).

I would like to know how should I fix this? Should I just repaint the small area where the paint is off or do I have to paint the entire wall? Would that be noticeable if I just repaint the small area? The original paint on the wall is about 1.5 years old.

Also, would like to know some suggestions on how to remove double-sided foam tape easily without ripping off the paint?

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3 Answers 3

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Double sided tape has a drawback. Well, it has two drawbacks.

  • It falls off when you least want it to do so.
  • It sticks like crazy when you want to remove it.

Having said that, you probably tore off more than just a layer of paint. I'll bet you actually tore off the surface layer of paper on the drywall.

Can you repair this by just painting over the spot? Well, it depends. Will anyone ever look at it? Sorry, but it will be painfully obvious what you did. So this depends on how critical the observer is. If I was your landlord and I saw a poorly done patch when you were moving out, I'd mutter a few obscenities under my breath, then quietly mention to you about how you just forfeited your security deposit.

The problem is that paint won't match that well. The color difference will be obvious. Plus, due to the hole in the surface, there will be small shadows that will be quite obvious, so you will need to fill in the surface so it is smooth, BEFORE painting. Anyway, if you tried to paint in just that small area with a brush, one would easily see the texture differences from painting with a brush compared to what was an original roller applied paint surface.

All of this means you really will need to spackle over the hole, feathering it out over the surface of the wall at least a few inches in each direction, and then sand smooth. Once you have done this far enough out, repainting the entire wall will make sense anyway.

Lessons to be learned:

  • Either don't use double sided tape,
  • or, be much more careful removing it if you do. This usually means to use a solvent that will break down the adhesive, but not the surface of your wall. They sell stuff to do this, usually called something like Goo-Gone. Another solvent that often works is rubbing alcohol. It evaporates quickly, and does not attack paint, although it will harm some surfaces like shellac. Always test any solvent on a small, inconspicuous spot before using it. And watch out for fumes, so use good ventilation.
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Having gone through this myself (previous home owner had glued mirrored tiles on a wall), the biggest challenge will be getting the drywall paper on the edges to not bubble up when it gets moist from spackle, glue, or anything else you use. –  BMitch Feb 26 '12 at 12:18
    
BMitch - Excellent point. Especially so since latex (water based) paint is common. Merely spackling over the hold may still leave problems. So make sure the paper is securely adhered to the board behind it. If necessary, a primer coat may help to prevent absorption of water into the paper surface. This will help the spackle bond to it anyway. –  user558 Feb 26 '12 at 13:17
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To repair a wall were you have accidentally removed some of the drywall's outer layer. Don't paint or spackle directly onto this underpaper or it will bubble (underpaper is usually a little fuzzy and looks like beige construction paper). To begin - scrape the loose paint along the edges until the remaining paint is completely adhered to the wall. Then you have to paint the underpaper that has been exposed (go beyond the edge about an inch) with an oil based paint or primer. After it dries you can spackle and it won't bubble up. Then you can paint.

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It looks like your wall is white, so this may not apply to you, but I've had great luck taking chips of wall (large flakes, pieces of trim) to paint stores and having them do a computerized color-match. I've done this at least four times, and have been happy (surprised!) with the results each time. Generally it's the finish (flat/egg-shell/semi-gloss/glossy) that has been slightly off, but not so bad that it jumps out as an obvious touch-up.

As for getting off adhesives, I've use citrus based adhesive removers with success (sorry, don't remember the brand names off the top of my head) with good results, as long as the wall paint has good integrity.

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