Sheetrocks top paper layer torn away

by Cheryl
(Tahoka, TX, USA)

Top layer of sheetrock  torn away.

Top layer of sheetrock torn away.

I am removing wallpaper to texture and paint where the old wallpaper was. I removed some old wallpaper yesterday and found that it was stuck directly to sheetrock in places.

The seams were taped and mudded but there were two large places on the ( appr. 2 ft. wide) wall where the wallpaper was stuck directly to the sheetrock, leaving places where the sheetrock has the top layer torn off.

What do I need to do before I texture the wall and paint it in those places?

Comments for Sheetrocks top paper layer torn away

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 30, 2015
Repairing torn sheetrock
by: Shawn

Hi Cheryl,

You will need to remove all of the torn paper and then apply Sheetrock mud to those areas. Sand the mud, once it'd throughly dry, and re-apply more mud if needed.

You want the surface relatively smooth otherwise you will see imperfections after texturing. Once the surface is smooth apply a coat of primer. Be sure to use a primer that's compatible with the texture product being used.

If the surface is quite bad you might want to apply a solvent based primer (not latex) prior to your mudding. Follow up with sanding the dried primer and then applying as many layers of mud as needed then prime once again.

Oct 14, 2010
Torn away drywall paper
by: Shawn

Good point Edwin,

The oil primer would flatten out some of the frayed drywall paper and keep water in the mud from causing more of those fuzzy little protrusions.

Cutting away as much torn paper as possible then using oil primer prior to mudding, followed by a good thick coat of mud (or three) should eliminate any problems.

Keep in mind though that the thicker you make your mud the farther out you will need to feather it.

Otherwise you will have eliminated the fibres from the paper sticking through but now have a large hump in the middle of your wall.

Oct 14, 2010
fixing torn drywall paper
by: Edwin Brown

One problem I often encounter with this is that you may have loose paper underneath the part you see that is torn. When you mud over the torn surface, the moisture now added may cause blisters. These you have to cut away because just adding more mud won't make them disappear.

This all happens because drywall paper is multi-layered. My approach is to carefully cut and remove all visible loose/torn paper, then apply a good coat of quick drying oil primer. When that is dry, then I begin with the mud skim coat. The oil prevents moisture soaking in at this point and keeps deeper blisters from forming.

Doesn't work flawlessly every time, but most of the time.

Sep 07, 2010
Sheetrocks top
paper layer torn away

by: Shawn the painter

Hi Cheryl,

It would depend on the type of wall texture your going to apply. If your wall texture technique is on the thick side then a light coating of mud should do the trick.

Before mudding your wall cut away any sheetrock paper that will stick above the thickness of your mud (with a very sharp utility knife). Once the paper is flush and level with the wall, skim coat over the area where the paper has lifted. Use your mud (in a tray or hawk) and a good wide mudding knife or trowel. Remember to feather out your mud past where the paper was torn away.

Be sure to sand then prime the mudded area once it's dry. I like to use a portable light to check my mudding prior to and after priming.

If the torn away paper leaves a fuzzy surface, or if you need a more level surface to work with then keep mudding, sanding and priming until the fuzziness is gone or your surface looks to your liking. Repeat as necessary.

Your paint supplier should be able to help you choose tools, materials and mudding or painting products for the job at hand.

Applying mud and sanding away the excess mud along with making the surface level does require a certain amount of practise. Just remember it's easier adding mud to the wall (in three or more medium thick coats) than it is to sand down and make level a very thick application of the stuff.

Another option, (or if the wall surface is un-repairable then it's not an option) is to replace the damaged sheetrock with a new piece. With that said, replacing might not be as easy as repairing, it would depend on your situation.

If you don't feel up to the job you might want to have a pro do the work for you.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a painting or decorating question..