Removal techniques for distemper

Postby readysalted » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:16 am

Hi all,

I have stripped the wallpaper from the walls of my halls / stairs / landing in my 1930s house. Underneath the wallpaper is a green paint like layer which I believe is distemper. In places it has peeled away, leaving the walls patchy.

From what I have read here and elsewhere painting directly over it will not work - the paint will flake. Skimming it will have a similar outcome. I have read that I could stabilise it, but this would presumably still leave a bumpy finish.

I did notice that the wallpaper steamer did cause some of it to bubble and come away. Is this a good (safe for the plaster) approach to removing the rest ? I am wary of damaging the plaster underneath which is in otherwise good health. If not steaming how else can I get it off ?

Alternatively, is there something I can paint over it to smooth it out & prep for emulsion ?

I'm resigned to a lot of hard unenjoyable scraping at the moment, so if anyone has a good tip I'd really appreciate it.
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Simply Build It

Postby rigga » Mon Feb 23, 2009 4:56 pm

The original coating would have probably been distemper and over coated with a vinyl emulsion paint and it is this which is now probably flaking. Distemper has one advantage over paints of today in the fact that it was un bound by resin a dry lump of pigment dissolved in water when fully dissolved, it was put on by a brush did not cover very good when wet, and when the water evaporated it dried white , but you could rub it off with your hand, this can be removed by washing with water. The emulsion paint coating on the top will give way if the wall is wet this can then be removed with a zipper, (a sharp bladed tool for removing wall paper).
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