I'm working on repainting my walls in my house. To prep for it, I removed the base trim from my walls (I'm gonna put in new ones too).

Somehow, when removing the trim, part of the wall started peeling off with it and exposing the inner part.

I'm thinking that I peeled off part of the paper to the drywall but I'm not sure. The surface is grainy and crumbles easily when I run it. Honestly, I don't even know the name of that stuff. (This house was built in 1977, plaster maybe?)

How can I fix this?

picture 1

picture 2

picture 3

  • Clicking on the photos takes you to a log in page for google, not to the photos. If you can not add them here then fix the links so log in is not required and one of us can copy and paste them for you.
    – Alaska Man
    Sep 7, 2020 at 19:58
  • I'm unable to view the photo's. If the home was build in 77', its unlikely anything other than sheetrock. Sheetrock is gypsum, so it is quite grainy if the paper layer is removed. Images would help, but my guess is you need a bag(or tub of premixed) joint compound. It's not very viscous, so it will not handle large damage, but it should allow you to skim coat mild damage, such as nail hole tear-out. Use a wide flat trowel.
    – mreff555
    Sep 7, 2020 at 22:57
  • 1
    You are about to learn a new skill! Working with joint compound/topping/drywall mud. It's messy, with much sanding, and requires practice, patience, and some special tools. I highly recommend that you watch a few tutorials on the internet of things. Sep 8, 2020 at 1:53
  • My apologies, The links didn't work earlier, but I've uploaded the pictures
    – Mr. Gray
    Sep 8, 2020 at 1:55
  • 1
    For future reference, when removing base board or other trim from a wall it's a good idea to take a sharp knife and cut the caulk first. That way you don't pull the paper off the drywall with the trim piece.
    – brhans
    Sep 8, 2020 at 2:50

3 Answers 3


I ran into a very similar scenario, where upon removing the base trim, a portion of the paint began to peel. I think the original paint was applied directly to the drywall with no primer, though I may be mistaken. What resulted was the paper layers that surround the gypsum of the drywall began to peel off with the paint. enter image description here

A / B) You can see where the layers of paper separated from the gypsum core from removing the nails holding the molding C) A section of paint that was stuck to the molding took one or more layers of the paper off exposing a brown inner layer of paper.

This actually occurred second to a different wall where I had removed the hanging cabinets (Water leaking from the bathroom above ruined the ceiling, and I removed the cabinets to investigate the extend of the damage through the wall). On removing these, there was a noticeable exposure from where the cabinets had been painted around. Removing the paint took most every layer of paper off, completely exposing the white gypsum core of the drywall. There were also sections that still had some of the brown paper on the outside of the drywall. I attempted to use a primer/sealer on this, but the result was that the paper absorbed the moisture and looked very bad. The final solution was to rip out all of the existing drywall and replace it.

It was a learning experience for me (first time home owner) in having to replace that wall, but the final result was very good.

The base molding removed on a separate wall of the same room (pictured above) appeared to have the same issue, where the paint sealed it to the cabinetry. On removing the cabinets I had to be careful about being delicate to not peel much of the drywall paper off. There were a couple areas that I was not able to avoid, and my solution was to try applying a very very thin coat of joint compound, allowing it to dry, and repeating the process as needed until the wall was evenly coated. From there I painted with a primer/sealer before applying the final coat of paint.

It was certainly not perfect, as indicated in the 2nd picture, but I know this area will be covered by cabinetry so I was willing to let it slide.

enter image description here


Your biggest concern will be keeping what top coat you have, to keep it in place. The pictures have some instruction have to work with some of the issues.enter image description here

enter image description here

Yes drywall mud will do the repairs you are looking to do. I have use it to do a whole room that was the loose material like you have under your top coat. You can use drywall mud from the start, but if you have never done it before, you would do well to paint the surfaces to tighten the sandy face. Use spray paint to do this, so the sand will not be disturbed by rolling or brushing. You should not need to paint it too heavily, just enough to get into the surface.

Once all the loose material is removed, and the spray painting is done and dry. the mudding can begin... after a bit more prep work. The wood at the bottom served as a guide for the plasterers, so they new where to finish each layer of plaster. his will have all kinds of crap on i that will need to be cleaned off. That way you can use it too. Wire brush, scraper, grinder, something to get the surface back to wood and no chunks hanging off it. This should save a lot of sanding later. Do anything you can to make the mudwork smooth as possible since that dust gets everywhere.

You will want to have the right mud tools handy DO NOT try to do it all with a 4" knife. 4" knives are good for 3" to 5 or 6" repairs and 12" knives are good for 10" and larger repairs. It looks like you have a lot of those. You may want to get a 6 or 8" knife too. Preferably use the knife that will span the whole width of the repair. Put more mud on the knife than what you think you need and do you best to apply the mud in one smooth action, lowering the handle of the knife to allow more mud to come into contact with the surface as you move along the length of the repair. Yes, more will go on than you need, but it is easy to wipe the edges, leaving the center, then come back over the center to remove more mud, applying what you pick up farther down the repair. Do try to watch come tutorials on this, is is a learned skill and takes time to get good at it. It will help to learn how to apply more pressure on one side of the knife than the other to learn how to feather in an edge. This may need to be done 2 if not 3 times to get past the shrinkage where it meets the original material

Your widest repairs, will need to be done in a few more steps. Using a 12" knife, apply the mud so it makes vertical stripes about 8" apart, let dry, then fill in the bare part with another pass. This will take some patience, but it is the best way to build up a thin layer over a large area. After you get the wall covered, you may only need to apply mud over the area where it meets the original to get rid of the shrinkage line by the drying mud.

The sanded finish may be found in a spray can, I haven't looked, I am not sure, but that needs to done after everything else is dry and sanded smooth and relatively flat.

Good luck.


It looks to be a typical plaster job with a Brown Coat base layer, which a thin layer of plaster or drywall compound is applied to.

You just want to lightly wipe the brown coat with your hand to remove the loose and ready to fall off sand grains. Then, you would just spray the area down until the brown coat turns darker before applying joint compound over an area.

The damage you have is normal and expected. It could be from being initially applied in the freezing cold or from just simple age in a room of the wrong conditions.

The wrong conditions could be, the need for insulation behind the wall. You could be dealing with decades of condensation slowly working the plaster loose from the brown coat. Again, it's very common and you could just repeat the repair every 40-years.

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