I removed a large wallpaper mural from drywall in a house we purchased. The previous owner didn't put a release compound or protective sealer on before gluing the wallpaper on. When I pulled it off, it took almost all the white compound coating on the drywall with it. Easily 90% of the drywall is exposed brown paper. I know I can't paint this until it is either sealed or I put a skim coat of joint compound on it first. My question is is it worth it to reapply joint compound to 90% of a 12 x 8 wall or should I just tear out the drywall and install new stuff?

2 Answers 2


As long as some of the drywall paper is still there, the drywall is still intact enough and it's safe to skim coat it. Either approach will work. Only you can answer the question of which one is "worth it." Among the factors:

  • Which of the jobs you can do yourself
  • Which of the jobs you enjoy more/hate less
  • The relative money costs of the two jobs, whether you do them yourself or decide to hire them out
  • The relative time costs of the two jobs
  • The amount of mess and inconvenience of the two jobs
  • Whether or not there's anything behind that drywall you wanted to expose/replace anyway


  • Thanks for answering. The house is old, built 1920, and most walls are lath and plaster. Previous owners have replaced some walls with drywall, including the one I mentioned. There are no gouges or deep cuts in the drywall, just exposed brown paper and several spots where the original coating is still in place, including the joint between the two sheets of drywall. There is no worry about what is behind the wall. I wasn't sure if skim coating a 100 sq ft area was realistic or something for a first time homeowner, novice, handyman to do. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:06
  • There is a bit of skill/practice to good skim-coating, but you can learn to do it. If it's too ugly, you just sand and redo. Alternatively, this is a small quick job for a professional mudder. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:27
  • Boy, skim coating is challenging, if not hard, and not an immediately acquired skill. If the OP is asking, he probably doesn't have the skill. Technically it is a choice, but practically, replace and do joints seems much more likely to provide a fast and satisfactory outcome.
    – bib
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 2:54
  • Blending new drywall with old is also challenging, especially if there's a pattern involved. Drywall is just a PITA no matter how you slice it. I usually hire it out.
    – iLikeDirt
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 3:55

With most of the paper gone so is the strength of the sheetrock. For that reason I would replace it. Only 3 sheets and you have a new wall to work with. plus getting a look inside the walls, any new outlets needed in the area great time to add them with the old stuff out.

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