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Wallpaper-averse renter faces tough decision

Should I strip it or coat it?

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Q: I live in a 1940s flat that was once wallpapered with a heavily textured, old-fashioned, velvet wallpaper -- probably red. The wallpaper was hung in all of the living areas of the home and has many, many coats of flat paint over it, which has covered some of the texture. But because the texture is so pronounced, the old-fashioned pattern of the wallpaper still remains. I would like smooth walls in the living and dining areas of my home, but because I rent, I don't want to incur the expense or the big job of taking off the many layers or replacing the walls with new drywall. Would it be possible to use drywall compound to smooth out and fill in all of the patterns and texture of the wallpaper? A: Our mother had a bathroom done in red flocked paper. We called it the New Orleans bordello. Being a proper lady, she did not appreciate that comment. Normally we wouldn't suggest applying drywall compound to wallpaper, even if the paper is covered with several coats of paint. However, your...