06:05PM | 10/15/08
Member Since: 04/23/06
10 lifetime posts
I have a modest colonial house that was built in 1978. We've been living with the previous owners' wallpaper and paint colors for a few years and now its time to make a change. I've started to strip the wallpaper and borders off the walls but I do have some concerns...

Do I have to worry about lead-based paint or any other similar hazards when I'm working on these walls? I'm concerned because I'm doing this work while my wife and 4 year old son are living in the house. Most paint can warnings say sanding lead based paint is hazardous and may be in homes built prior to 1978.

The wallpaper and borders are the vinyl coated type. I pull of the top layer easily, use some hot water in a spray bottle to soak the remaining paper layer that is glued to the wall and scrape that off as well. What's left is un-prepped drywall with lots of glue. I'll try to get the glue of with more soaking, maybe DIF gel, and some light sanding.

The walls w/o paper have paint that I will need to sand lightly prior to priming/painting.

Question - am I doing anything here that is releasing lead or anything else toxic into my house?

How can test my existing wall paint to determine if it has lead in it?



03:19PM | 10/16/08
Member Since: 07/28/02
1358 lifetime posts
You may not have lead based paint but to be sure you may want to check it and you can get test kits at some home improvement stores.

As far as removing the wallpaper I would use the DIF in all steps as it will speeed things up(this is after you have removed the shiny vinyl layer). Then you should prime the walls with GARDZ from Zinnser which will seal any remaining glue and it is water based.

Hope this helps out.


07:33PM | 10/16/08
Member Since: 04/23/06
10 lifetime posts
Thanks! I picked up the home lead test kit at Home Depot and tested a few spots on the walls. No lead!

The wall paper is coming off much easier than I expected. The hot waters is working well. I tried the DIF Gel on the remaining glue but it didn't help much. I let it sit for 25 mins before scraping. Maybe I need to apply more product.

What do I do prior to priming w/ GARDZ? I know I need to do some patching with joint compound, but should I consider putting a skim coat over the whole wall to cover those glue spots?


03:26AM | 10/18/08
Member Since: 07/28/02
1358 lifetime posts
I would use the regular DIF that you mix with water rather than the gel.

You need to get as much of the old glue off as possible as if it will show through your paint if it high or textured. You can prime with the GARDZ first and then do your patching as this will seal down any loose face paper on the walls and seal up the little bit of glue residue that is left. Once you have patched the walls then prime with an acylic primer and apply your finish paint of choice.


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