What to do about stained Victorian wallpaper?

lotusmossJanuary 16, 2013

We have a 1904 Victorian with lathe and plaster walls. As is typical in these homes, many of the ceilings are wallpapered with a sturdy wallpaper (name escapes me). We have been told by multiple people in the area historic home society, as well as realtors, that the wallpaper covers up the inevitable cracks in the plaster and in no situation should be taken down because it "keeps everything together".

As you can see, there are some old water stains (no current moisture issues) on some of the wallpaper:

We've been told that this will be easily fixed with some Kilz or stainblocker. Does this sound about right?

In other rooms, the wallpaper wasn't hung as well and the seams show and are coming apart in places, and the wallpaper glue has caused yellowing in places. The inspector for our house also encouraged to leave this up and said that if it bothered us, we could consider 1/8" drywall ceilings. Any advice on this? Or in the meantime, is there a way to "glue" down the seams before covering up the yellowing with Kilz or stainblocker?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

You have been given a lot of crap advise(IMO). I have removed miles of paper in old homes and in most cases the walls and or ceilings were just fine. It was standard practice in the old days to paper everything, it's just what they did.Yes, SOMETIMES, it is covering up defects but usually nothing that cannot be dealt with. If you are going to paint over it( and big mistake IMO) use Zinnser orderless cover stain,Kilz oil just stinks too much. You need to find a new inspector ( 1/8 in drywall??) Again painting over the paper it nothing but a mistake and should never be done unless ABSOLUTELY necessary and this only happens on drywall, never plaster.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 5:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lotusmoss

Hi christophern- it's good to have a second opinion. Just weird that we're getting such strong advice to leave it there from so many people on our end (Historic Homes, real estate folks, and inspector). I'm guessing you think that it's a big mistake to paint over the wallpaper because that would make it more difficult to remove the paper should the need arise at a later date? What would you do in this situation? Simply remove the wallpaper and paint the ceilings (and hope that the plasterwork is in good condition)?

Thanks for any advice!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 11:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Hard to say from here but painting over it is never good. besides the part about future removal it just looks bad unless a lot of prep work is done first. I would remove the paper on one wall or ceiling and see whats up and go from there.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sombreuil_mongrel

Textured/patterned wallcovering like Anaglypta is intended to be painted. So obviously repainting it after shellacking the stains would be within the realm of reality, especially in light of the fact that it likely has already been painted.
Casey

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosenemesis

I think it's beautiful, and would want to preserve it. You can glue the edges back down with good wallpaper glue, shellac, and paint it. I would shellac the whole thing, because the shine can show through paint, and if the whole thing is the same sheen it will look better. That would be the cheapest and easiest thing to do. I believe spray painting is best, so that you don't get the paper soaked with paint.

If you don't like the paper, and you don't think it adds value to the home, then by all means take it off. If the ceilings are badly in need of repair, it is not horribly expensive to drywall over the plaster. I am not a fan of 1/8" drywall on ceilings, though, since it sags and dimples when it is put on a ceiling, at least in my experience. In your area there may also be people who specialize in plaster repair, and you could find out what that might cost. I'm not particularly bothered by the look of cracks in real plaster myself, so I would not mind cracks if the plaster was in good shape otherwise. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 1:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

There is no contemporary wall paper GLUE. It is paste or adhesive, glue has not been used for 75 years or so.

Where do you find 1/8 drywall???

"Anaglypta is intended to be painted."

True, but that is not what I am seeing.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosenemesis

I meant 1/4" drywall. I don't think they make 1/8" drywall. Now that we have been properly put into our places on this topic, as well as the proper use of the word GLUE in relation to wallpaper, I might add that although it might sound reasonable to put thin drywall on a ceiling because it weighs less, the truth is that anything under 5/8" is not recommended for ceilings because it is not rigid enough and it can sag in the middle and dimple where it is attached.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 12:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

true ^

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 5:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sombreuil_mongrel

Everybody knows it's "wallpaper cement" ;)
Casey

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lotusmoss

Lots of advice here! Looks like I need to get someone to look at it in person and see whether or not it is actually Anaglypta. In the living room (pictured above), the wallpaper was put up very well and so not a seam shows. In the other rooms, it is so stained and so bad at the seams that I'm very tempted to have it removed if it doesn't look like the plaster underneath is in horrible shape and make any minor repairs to the plaster needed before repainting the ceiling. We'll see though.

It's good to know that very thin drywall can cause sagging issues. Sounds like we'll try and avoid that "solution" at all costs!

Thank you all for your feedback!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jumpilotmdm

Properly prepared you can paint anything, including that ceiling. It will HAVE to be properly prepared or those water stains will make all the work for naught.
I have a house full of painted wallpaper and if I had one piece of warning/advice it would be " what will you do if the paint removes the paper?"
Odorless cover stain is a great reccomendation. Carry on.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brickeyee

"Properly prepared you can paint anything..."

The problem comes if it is indeed cemented-glued whatever attached.

The paint makes it that much harder to remove it.

I have a rental house that idiot PO painted textured (flock type) wallpaper tat is on drywall.

Whomever installed the paper did not prime either.

I am NOT looking forward to trying to clean it up, and may end up just removing the drywall and replacing it (only in a not all that large a living-dining L area).

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

just removing the drywall and replacing

sometimes thats all you can do to make it look right

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 5:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lotusmoss

Just as an FYI, we had a local anaglypta expert come out and check out the wallpaper. He said that it is anaglypta, and that it has been painted, and is paintable. He also said that he would use the odorless Bullseye primer and then would paint over. The thing is, he quoted us almost $1,000 to fix the seams of the paper in 1 room; and to caulk edges, prime, and paint in three rooms that don't need repair. That doesn't include any paint or materials! We are now hoping that we can take this project on ourselves now that we've heard from an expert that the anaglypta is basically in good shape and can be painted.

That said, what is the procedure for this? We were thinking--gently moisten edges of anaglypta that are coming up and use wallpaper seam repair from a tube; gently use a brush (not seam roller) to get edges down. Let dry for 24-48 hours. And then for the rest of the ceilings, clean surface, caulk edges, prime and let rest for 48 hours, and then paint two coats with 24 hour dry times in between. Does that sound about right?

Thanks for any advice!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hosenemesis

Perhaps you could ask him what he would charge just to repair the wallpaper in that one room.

It may not be easy to get the paper to stick to the ceiling long enough for the glue to dry. I imagine paper hangers have tricks for that.

Stainblocker/primer first, then two coats, right? Are you going to spray or roll? I think spraying is recommended so that you don't get too much wet paint up there.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Put a coat of Gardz or oil primer first( before painting)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
powermuffin

I thought I'd just pop in to say that all of our walls and ceilings had multiple layers of wallpaper and we thought that it must be covering up damaged plaster. Wallpaper was just the fashion for many years. Our ceilings also had ceiling tiles, which further strengthened our idea that there was water damage. I removed everything and found beautiful plaster and a small area of damage that we easily fixed. Love our smooth plaster.
Diane

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kirkhall

You may also like to know there is an "old homes" forum on Gardenweb where you will likely find some of your kin. :)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:41AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Architect screwed up big time and won't give us plans. Now what?
We hired an architect 4 months ago who put together...
dugster
Any reviews of J & K Cabinetry?
We are redoing our kitchen and I came across this type...
Jill_homemaker
Removing brick and install what?
Just for the sake of discussion...if one was to remove...
mlo1
How does a General Contractor work...do I need one ?
I am new to remodeling anything in my house. I have...
jeannette10
Inquiry into Counterfeit Faucet Certification Marks.
Faucets sold in North America are regulated. They are...
StarCraft Custom Builders
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™