The stairway in my mother's house has been unpainted for a while. I recently asked if she wanted help with it, and now I'm out of my depth.

There's a layer of old wallpaper that she and my brother started removing a while ago. It took forever and left a rough brown residue (first picture.)

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Another area appears to have been plastered over at some point (second picture.)

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There are areas where this wallpaper seems like it would be very difficult to get off, and other areas where it's crumbling off.

After some research online it seems as though scraping and sanding are definitely in order, but after that some sources suggesting using lining paper to cover minor bumps. Other sources have said that this isn't what lining paper is for. My questions are:

  • Am I on the right track? Is there a standard way to handle this?
  • What is lining paper and will it work to cover minor imperfections before painting?
  • No pictures attached, if you can't attach them put them up at imgur.com and put the links to them here, someone will attach them for you. Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 4:09
  • @JimmyFix-it see the very first word in Blue...
    – Ken
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 5:03
  • Did you ever get this resolved? If so, please give a check-mark to the answer that helped you the most, or write up your own answer explaining what you did to get it fixed and give yourself a check mark. That will help others with this kind of problem know that this has a resolution and is a good place to look for their answer.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 11:06
  • Sadly not yet. I'll update once we do.
    – Ian
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 3:20

2 Answers 2


I feel your pain. In some rooms I had 2 layers of wall paper and the upper layer had been painted - SWEET.. yeah!

I have had your issues tried the sanding methods.. I tried joint compound to fix the imperfections, and used flat paint - that kind of works - but lots of work and not perfect.

For how much wall are you talking about I would pull the old drywall and replace with new - Faster, Cheaper, Better.

Assuming you are in the USA The drywall will set you back $10 a piece, and the joint compound about $8. Joint tape about $6 . Given it is a stair way there probably is not much dry wall ..

After my experience here is my opinion: I would Remove and Replace (R Square for short) the dry wall with new as I think it is faster, cheaper and will turn out better and you should be able to use any sheen paint you like.


To answer the question about the liner..

Basically a tape product - personally I wouldn't use it.

You can however sand and then use a thick primer to cover up small imperfections. Just don't expect thick primer to go on like paint - it doesn't, it is work - but for stairwell maybe you take the plunge - worth a shot anyway but will cost you some green for that primer.

To help you understand the process a bit more I attach a video for a drywall surface repair. As a preface to the video so you can understand the purpose and reasoning behind how it is done. In the video the reason for the thick primer is to keep the fibers down and have a surface suitable for the joint compound. It works but can be tedious depending on how much area has to be fixed. The sanded areas of your wall - well you get the idea from this video that it works similar except you are not adding joint compound over those areas.

This video will give you an idea of some fixes Dry Wall Paper Repair Process using thick Primer

  • Thanks for the answer! Unfortunately replacing the drywall probably isn't going to happen any time soon. Do you have any thoughts on the lining paper?
    – Ian
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 18:32
  • @Ian I posted an edit - so that you can get more details - I think the edited info is really what you are looking for.. as an answer .. I am not going to say it is not work - because it is. I have attempted to use the thick primer method and it is like adding rubber coating to the wall..
    – Ken
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 19:12

If you dont want to replace drywall, o suggest using a texture and just put the texture over the entire wall You can make designs on it, while wet and that should cover any imperfections.

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