I have a fairly small room that previously had wallpaper on the walls (put up about 15 years ago by the previous house owner). This previous owner did something I haven't seen ever anywhere: he glued thin foam boards to the walls and put plasterboard over it - probably as a sort of thermal insulation. He then didn't apply ANYTHING to the plasterboards and simply glued the wallpaper directly onto the plasterboard.

The wallpaper is now in a rather bad shape and I want to re-wallpaper the room. I've attempted to take the old wallpaper off (using water, steam, etc) - all I succeeded in was removing the top layer of the wallpaper, but the paper backing is stuck to the paper layer of the plasterboard. Trying to take that underlayer off results in tearing the paper layer of the plasterboard off (tried it an inconspicuous corner).

I know that the right thing to do would be to apply a skim layer over the plasterboards, seal the plaster with diluted paint of PVA, then put the new wallpaper over it. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to skim these walls now (for a number of reasons). I also don't want to remove those plasterboards now, as I don't want to know the state of the walls behind them and don't want to open that Pandora's box - I need to get a room completed quickly, as my son (whose room it is) is currently occupying the living room instead.

With these constraints, can I simply paint over this underlayer of old wallpaper and then put the new wallpaper up? Any other suggestions?

  • Long ago ( 50+ years) when wall paper was more in style , it was usual to have several layers of wall paper. Especially in apartments where there could be new tenants every few years. Having attended several wall paper removal parties , I do not recall paint between layers although there were likely some paint layers. I think you can do whatever you want. Jan 29, 2022 at 16:05
  • PS : This was when coal was the primary source of heat ( Chicago) and the walls got filthy so new paper or paint was an alternative to trying to clean the walls. Jan 29, 2022 at 16:09


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