Drywall – How to renovate these walls to be smooth


My skill level: Complete novice

The walls in my apartment are quite old, and I would like to renovate them and make them smooth and modern, Similar to the walls in this article at The Spruce. (sort of)

I'm guessing the easiest option is to just put up drywall on top of the old wallpaper?

A few things to consider:

  • Behind the wallpaper the wall is brick and concrete from 1933. Does that pose a problem on how to mount the drywall? Do I need to erect some wall studs for support? If so, how are such studs mounted?
  • The wallpaper does not go all the way up to the ceiling (see bottom picture), but is cut short by a kind of black thin molding (?) about 20-30 centimeters from the top. I would like to remove that molding and have my new walls go all the way up to the ceiling.
  • Above the black molding the ceiling does not connect to the wall on a sharp edge. Instead the walls curve outwards slightly (see red arrows in bottom picture).

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Best Answer

I have removed similar wallpaper multiple times and if it is like the type I have removed it is actually relatively easy to take off of the wall. You will simply soak it with a hot water and vinegar combo over and over until it peels off easily. You may need to soak one area 4-5 times over the course of an hour but you can do everything at the same time so a room should be about 2 hours.

However it leaves behind tons of gook, paper and glue on the walls so you will have to let it fully dry and scrape and sand basically the entire wall.

The trim will pop off. After that though - depending at what point it was installed and how it was installed - this could be little to no work or a lot of work. If it were installed on a finished wall it will be a tiny bit of joint compound and sanding. If it was used to conceal a "gap" for the cove it will be a ton of joint compound and sanding. Still doable for a novice and really the biggest issue is everything needs to be covered/removed from room when sanding. The other alternative to the trim is install a more modern trim and it could look nice.

The cove corner.... Whoaaa. Not worth it at all. It looks nice in your picture and for you to spend days of work trying to get a 90 degree angle. Well whatever you think it is worth but if I were renoing a house I would never for one second think about redoing those ceilings. They look great - it is the trim and wall paper that make it look "old".