Wall/ceiling preparation prior to papering

26 Aug 2007
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United Kingdom

I've stripped all the paper from our bedroom walls and ceiling (it had a variety of painted textured papers - and paper) using a steamer. Anyway, I'm now down to the original plaster. The house was built in 1929 and the plaster is obviously cracking in places. We are going to re-paper the ceiling/walls but I have a few questions. What's the best way of removing the remaining 'bits' of wallpaper - steam again, sand or just use water? Would flexible filler/caulk be best for the cracks (they vary from 1mm to 3mm wide mainly in the ceiling and in length from a few centimetres to about a metre) and at the edge where the ceiling meets the wall) or would normal non flexible filler do?

Finally are there any other things I should be doing to the surfaces prior to papering?

Many thanks

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I would use hot water with a bit of detergent to remove the bit of paper that are left...steamers in old house's can be risky.

Wash the ceiling down to remove any debris.

Wise move repepering the ceiling as opposed to just painting it...ordinary powder filler should be ok...rememver caulk only expands a little to cope with any movement, it wont, like a lot of people expect, hold the crack together.

If the cracks are really bad or and the ceiling appears to move when you press them then you might want to consider using linen backed lining paper first.

When you have done all your preparation then make sure you size the ceiling using either diluted wallpaper size, size or diluted PVA...stick a little drop of white or light coloured emulsion in it...it will help you see where you have been.

Make sure you set the ceiling out properly before you start...spending 10 minutes doing that will save you an hour

Ignore the working away from the light rule...put your first two pieces up so each of them go halfway across the ceiling rose..its so much easier then trying to wrestle it though a sheet of paper.
Remember years ago we were doing a large living room about 25feet square and the paper worked out that there were three shandiliers running through the middle of one length of very wet and heavy supaglypta.What a nightmare. :eek:
Many thanks Zampa - great advice. We were going to use a blown vinyl on the ceiling and frieze and then line and normal vinyl the walls. As you mentioned the ceiling does move when some of the cracks are pressed - do you think a blown vinyl without lining first would be up to the job after filling?
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Hard to tell, filling is cosmetic really...a cosmetic repair, it wont solve your problem..for the sake of a few rolls of the linen backed stuff I would do it.

The only way youll know not using it as worked is when the ceilings finished...if the cracks do continue then youll have wasted all tht blown vinyl and youl have to strip it all again, plus it will be good practice for you for the top paper.

If you do go for it just make sure you set the ceiling out differently to how you plan to put the finish paper on so the joints dont overlap.

You shouldnt have too much of a problem because lining paper is a bit wider.

Heath and safety...make sure you have the right boards etc...dont turn papering the ceiling into a circus act...youll have an accident.

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