I'm taking down wall paper in my 1920s house. The walls are plaster/lath. At some point, the room seems to have been skim coated, primed, and then wallpapered. The wall paper has come down fairly easily: pulled down a thin layer, wetted the paper layer underneath, and then pulled down that paper layer easily. Around the radiator, however, an under-layer pulled up as well. It seems to be made out of a sturdy paper like material, with perhaps fiber-glass embedded in it? There seems to have been a skim coat put over some parts of this layer. Any ideas on what I'm looking at and how to proceed? (The vertical line in the picture is a pencil line, not a seam)

Wall in question Close up of layer in question

1 Answer 1


It is likely wall liner. It is a heavy plain paper that is applied prior to the outer wall paper. You could think of it as a thick coat of primer that will hide a multitude of problems. I have seen it applied over dark patterned paper so a lighter pattern can be applied with stripping the walls. I have also seen it used over the scratch coat or when the wall has a lot of repairs to give the wall a smoother appearance.

  • Thanks. The adhesive is loose, which allowed me to pull up the bottom part. Could I just mud over the torn edge to hide the edge? I was thinking I should put a skim coat over the exposed part on the lower right. Aug 29, 2018 at 0:21
  • You will get the best appearance if you can remove it. In many case this is just too labor intensive. You may get better results using a tool called a "wallpaper tiger" and a rented steamer. It won't help much on the spots covered with plaster. The places where paper remain can be skim coated to feather the edges. Prime the plaster areas before repapering.
    – mikes
    Aug 29, 2018 at 8:30
  • It might be easier and faster to put 1/4" drywall over the whole mess. Dec 11, 2019 at 16:10

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