07:55AM | 08/16/01
Member Since: 08/15/01
1 lifetime posts
We want to paint over wallpaper in our teenagers room to make a nursery for our newborn when he gets here. Our teenager had posters all over the walls and this left pinholes and pock marks. Painting over it just shows them up even more. We tried spackling but missed several places. Is there any other way to cover the holes or should we just spackle again and repaint. We only painted 1/5th of the room when we noticed what we missed.

Jay J

08:59AM | 08/16/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
HI G-Man,

Here's the problem. The wallpaper is absorbing the paint. Paint is a water-based product. With that, your paint job won't hold up in short order. It's quite possible that, over the short term, the wallpaper will soften up and stall 'flaking' off. So, what should you do???

Buy yourself some DIF (by Zinsser). Buy yourself a Paper Tiger too. READ the instructions a few times so you FULLY understand the 'process' of how DIF works. In short, remove the wallpaper, 'wash' the walls with CLEAN DIF, then prime (2x's), then apply 2 coats of top coat paint.

AFTER you remove the wallpaper, you may have to sand the 'high spots' where you applied the spackle. One trick that you can do to 'check' your work is to darken the room, then hold a flashlight, right on the wall, and shine the light PARALLEL to the wall. If there are any high or low spots, you'll see 'shadows'. Hold the light on the wall and move it w/you as you walk around the room. As you go, you, or a 2nd person, can apply the spackle. After 24 hrs. of drying time, sand smoothe with fine-grit 220 sand paper. Again, darken the room and see how good of a sanding job it is you did! Fix, or move on, to your heart's content.

Now, back to the DIF ... The most common problem homeowners have when working w/the DIF is they don't let the DIF do its job. This is why it's important to READ and understand the instructions on the container. The DIF is so cheap that you can buy MORE than you think you need, and it won't go to waste. Keep the water BOILING HOT (so buy thick rubber gloves), keep the mix clean (by dumping it out and mixing a new batch when it's 'polluted'), wait the 15 minutes it says for Soaking Time, and I 'wipe' the wall w/the mix a 3rd time JUST BEFORE I start peeling off the paper because it seems to work much better.

Lay down some plastic, followed by some old newspaper on top of the plastic. (It can get a little messy.) And if all the wallpaper doesn't come off, just peel what you can, and re-soak what's left (while waiting the 15 minutes for the mix to DO ITS JOB.) Only press the Paper Tiger enough to perforate the wallpaper. If you press TOO hard, you'll have MORE 'holes' to fill! Keep you eyes on the 'teeth' in the Tiger to keep it 'free and clear' of any paper/paint buildup. If the wallpaper was already painted, you'll DEFINITELY need to press a bit. Don't worry about too many 'passes' w/the Tiger. The more 'holes' the DIF-mix has to work with, the better!

If you have more ?'s about this, post back or e-mail me directly. In short, DON'T spackle any more; remove the paper, the PRIME/SEAL (2 coats), then top coat (2 coats.) Please buy your Primer and Paint from a Paint Retail Store (found in the Yellow Pages under PAINT - RETAIL.) The extra $$$ you spend will be well worth it. If you want, read the Post that was made BEFORE yours by '3angles' on AUgust 13th. In there, too, I talk more about Home Center paints vs. Paint Retailer paints.

Jay J -Moderator


11:55AM | 08/16/01
Gman: I'll probably hear it for this but you might try white toothpaste. Fills in the holes and paints over nicely. It's a trick to use when moving from a house. Have tried it myself a few times and it worked great. I do agree that the thorough way to do this job is to remove the wallpaper then prime and paint, but if you want to get it done in a hurry, use the toothpaste.


12:09PM | 08/16/01
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
I would strongly recommend removing the wallpaper as Jay described and then painting. In part because the paint is heavier (and a different material) than the wallpaper glue is designed to hold up, the wallpaper will eventually start to peel and take the paint with it, as it has in my bathroom because the bozos who owned before me painted over their wallpaper. It is not absolutely necessary, and you can get away without doing so, but removing the wallpaper is the better way to do it.

If you decide to not remove the wallpaper but want to fill the holes in, DO NOT USE TOOTHPASTE TO FILL HOLES IN THE WALLS!! (Yes, you are going to "hear it"). Although toothpaste leaves your walls "minty fresh," toothpaste just superficially covers up the holes and gives-way after time. It also will give way if someone hangs a picture in the same location and puts a nail right next to the old hole; the two small holes will likely become one big hole because the toothpaste can't hold. Spackle is designed to be a permanent fix for small holes, and it is even cheaper than toothpaste. ($3 a pint compared to $4 for a 1/4 pint tube).

The good news is that you do not need to re-paint the entire wall. You can carefully spackle the holes with, say, a very small screwdriver, and then touch the paint on the spackle with a thin artist's brush. That tiny dab will not be noticeable. Touch-ups only become noticeable when you brush a small area, not a small dot. If you used a normal spackle knife with excess surrounding the hole, and then painted that area, it would show, but a dot will not.

[This message has been edited by Lawrence (edited August 16, 2001).]


03:10AM | 08/17/01
Member Since: 10/19/98
223 lifetime posts
Note that PattyB said "when moving from a house". She knows better than to try the toothpaste while they are still living at that house.

PattyB - what part of the country do you live in? I want to make sure I or anyone I know ever buy a house from you.


05:06AM | 08/17/01
Member Since: 03/13/00
1675 lifetime posts
I prefer Lawrence's method of using a tiny bit of spackle, but I use a single edge razor blade. It will let you use a really TINY bit of spackle, and then smooth it with the same tool.


12:11PM | 08/31/01
Maybe I am blind but I read G-MAN'S message to be the need for a quick repair for the few holes that he missed with the spackle on an already painted area. I did not advise that he skim the entire room with Colgate, I concur that the best way to prepare the room is to remove all wallpaper - spackle any holes or blemishes or have all the surfaces skimmed and then prime and paint. You know babies do come at a prescibed time and maybe they have waited too long to get this room ready. It will not cause the house to collapse if he missed 2 or 3 spots on the painted area to fill in what I am assuming are holes left behind by push pins not 16p duplex nails.
BobF don't get your jockey shorts in a snit,
each home that I have rehabed has been above code and in response to your rude remark.....on second thought....never mind.
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