painting plasterboards after removing wall paper

25 Dec 2013
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United Kingdom
Just bought a house and stripped off wall paper to find no paint underneath. The wall paper had loads of layers of paint and was really hard to remove.
The plasterboard's are ok and have dried out after removing the paper. How do I now go about painting the boards, have had conflicting advice from friends about painting. Some have said to get the plasterboards plastered, paint walls with several coats of thinned down emulsion and paint walls with watered down pva. Totally confused what do next.......
Want to get the job finished and not mess it up.
Any suggestions would be great.
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If they are in good condition you can fill any small dents wipe down with sugar soap and a decorating prep sponge then use a base coat product and then paint. This is what we have done in most rooms and they look good.
Depending on the state of the boards, what I do is to give the boards a minimum of 2 or more good coats of PVA glue.
It's ideal for prepping and sealing new and old plaster and plasterboard.
Of course if the boards are so bad, they will either have to be replaced or plastered over, but that’s another story.
I use a cheap paint roller and tray, one of those ones you get from B&Q for about £2 and some cheap paint brushes; just throw them away when you’re finished.
Depending on the type of PVA glue you use, dilute about 5 to 1.
You want the glue to be like water.
The 'value' type of glue is thinner compared to the better quality glue.
B&Q do their own brand of PVA.
It's a large 5 litre can for about £10
Do a trial first on a small patch and see if the glue is soaking in or just lying on the surface and dilute as required.
The idea is to seal the boards, you don't want the glue to stay on the top of the boards; what you want is for it to sink in and provide a key and sealer.
Don't be too enthusiastic in applying it as it will go all over the place.
Just paint it on at a slow and steady pace about one metre square at a time and overlap the edges.
The same way that you paint a wall with a roller.
Let one coat dry first and make sure you cover all of the boards, don’t leave any blank spaces at all, smooth out any runs and put a good blob into any gouges and cracks.
Use a brush for the boards at the ceiling and skirting and at the inside corner of walls.
After drying, you can then fill and prep the boards before painting.
Dab a good drop on top of any filling that you’ve done as this will seal the filler as well.
Some adhesive manufacturers say that you don’t need to seal wallboard before tiling but I prefer to.
I’ve used the glue on new boards as well before tiling.
After prepping with glue, I even go as far as giving plasterboard one good coat of bathroom emulsion before tiling, so that water in the tile adhesive does not get soaked in by the board.
This is probably overkill on my part anyway!
When painting, any good emulsion will do but you might have to give the boards more than one coat to get an even finish.
Watch out for the cheaper brands of emulsion paint as they dry they have a tendency to form hairline cracks.
Although you can paper if you prefer.
If the boards are not too bad, the best paper is blown vinyl, this will disguise any minor blemishes.
I’ve used blown vinyl on badly plastered walls and the only way you can tell about the plastering is when the paper is stripped off again.
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The pros will love you for suggesting PVA! and the OP is wanting to paint not tile.
Never ever, ever, ever apply PVA to a surface that you intend to paint. Paint will not adhere to it; sooner or later (usually sooner) it will come away.

PVA is used to seal old plaster that is going to be re-skimmed. Not painted. Ever.

Don't just take my word for it, search for PVA and paint in the Decorating forum.

Funnily enough I've just had to do this at my new house as we wanted to emulsion three of the living room walls but they were all covered with some foul wallpaper. If you strip off the wallpaper and find that the plaster underneath is in good enough condition to paint then just clean it all very thoroughly with sugar soap to get rid of any trace of wallpaper adhesive and then you can just emulsion it as you would any other wall.
If the plaster is in poor condition then you'll probably need to get it skimmed before you paint it, in which case it might need sealing with the PVA glue treatment beforehand.

About 10 years ago I had to replace some damaged plasterboard at an old house and I remember sealing the new boards with a PVA and water mix prior to them being skimmed, as it helps the new plaster to adhere to the boards. As geraldthehamster said though, I most certainly wouldn't do this to any surface that you intend on painting straight onto.
If the plaster is in poor condition then you'll probably need to get it skimmed before you paint it, in which case it might need sealing with the PVA glue treatment beforehand.

I've renovated my entire house, and once I'd found a good, reasonably-priced plasterer I ended up getting him in routinely for most rooms, rather than spend an infinity of time filling all the damage previously covered by old wallpaper, not to mention my new holes and chases. If you like painted plaster, it really is worth it for a decent finish.

In my experience the best plasterers are over 60. A lad has to learn, but you don't necessarily want him learning on your job ...

Good point. Having once done a bit myself (a few m2 where nobody was ever likely to see) I can also understand how it could take a lifetime to really master.

The next problem then is finding a plasterer over 60 who doesn't have arthritis in his elbows or shoulders :)

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