Removing OLD Original Paper or Paint Over?
Remove the wallpaper for the best job. Use a "Paper tiger" to gently perforate the wallpaper, then soak the wallpaper with a DIF solution. The instructions are all on the DIF and Paper Tiger packages.
Usually, when you pull wallpaper off without soaking it, you only pull a top layer of the paper off, not all of the paper.
Be careful to not scrape the cardboard surface of the drywall when you remove the paper. Soak it, soak, it, soak it, and re-soak it. It should eventually peel off, not need to be scraped off at all. Then sponge the residual glue off with DIF, as well.
On the note of damaging drywall Alise, you really don't have a choice there because if the surface wasn't primed & sized, the game is pretty much over. You need to remove all paper & adhesive, and in doing that, the best advice that you can be given is to take your time when removing large chunks. You'll be less likely to do more damage if you take your time.
Ultimately though Elise, the bare truth is that you will be having to repair some drywall if the wall wasn't prep-ed correctly. Usually all that is involved is that you'll "skim-coat" or fill in the voids in drywall with lightweight joint compound. You'll find the instructions right on the container, but simply stated, you do the skim-coat and let it dry. Then sand to a smooth consistent surface, clear the dust and prime. Then you're ready for paint.
wall paper over wall paper or paint over wall paper
Paint over wall paper
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