Don't replace it...FIX IT!
These walls were severely damaged because the prior wallpaper hanger didn't use a wallpaper primer before papering the room. So when my customer removed the wallpaper, this is what resulted. If the prior owner would have just simply used a wallpaper primer, these badly damaged walls could have been prevented.
However, there is hope! Most people replace their drywall when it looks like this, wasting time and money...not to mention the mess it makes! I skim coated the walls in this room, painted, and then did a stripe around the whole room.
This is what it what it looked like after resurfacing the walls.
It's as easy as 1-2-3...here's how:
Score all the loose drywall paper around the edges with a sharp snap-knife and then pull the paper off.
This gives the top drywall paper a clean edge, so it doesn't stick out.
Wearing a proper mask and protective gloves, and goggles, apply Drawtite. Drawtite is specially formulated to seal the wall and seal down damaged and torn drywall paper. It works better than any product I've ever used. You can apply it with a roller or brush, depending on much damaged area you are sealing. If you can't find the Drawtite in your area, you can order here. If you live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, I am a distributor, so you can pick some up or we can have it delivered to you. The Drawtite works wonders and it comes in clear or white. I usually use clear because it's more forgiving if you get some on the woodwork.
I usually seal all the areas even if it isn't torn just to make sure the walls are protected and won't absorb moisture, especially in bathrooms.
Now, here's how to resurface your walls:
You can either use a premixed mud, or the kind you mix with water, like Durabond or Easy Sand. These are really handy because you can get the second coat of mud up in one day, because they dry quicker than premixed muds. But, if you're not in a hurry, I recommend using the pre-mixed drywall mud because you don't have to mix it with water and it has a much longer working time and is much easier to sand when it dries.
Use both 12" and 6" drywall knives, and preferably a mud pan. You can get all of these supplies at your local home center.
Using the 6" knife, scoop out a glob of drywall mud. I like using one of these cool dry wall mud scoop tools. You end up saving money time and money using one of these.
Start spreading the mud on the wall in thin layers, sort of like icing a cake, overlapping as you go. Use the 12" knife and spread it out as smoothly and as evenly as you can.
Use smaller putty knives to work around smaller areas. You can use each knife to scrape the mud off the other one to keep the mud in the middle. This is important, because as the mud works it way to the edges of the knife, this is when you get heavy line marks of mud on the wall. Completely keeping lines from appearing is impossible and you can scrap them off or sand them down, or even use a damp sponge to rub them off. However, I don't usually prefer the sponging method because it dampens the wall and then I have to let it dry before going on.
It's always good to have a bucket of water handy to dip your knives in to keep them from drying out (not necessary with Durabond or Easy Sand).
Let each coat dry thoroughly. You will know it is dry when all the mud is the same shade of color. It will take 1 - 3 coats of drywall mud depending on how badly the wall was damaged.
Sand all the walls until they are smooth. I recommend using a vacuum sander to keep the dust down. It is a really cool attachment for your wet and dry vacuum. You buy sanding screens for it and it really works great. I also like this better than using just a regular sand paper because it vacuums the dust away, so you can see the wall surface better and know if there are any imperfections that need a little more mud.
Make sure you seal the walls before painting. You can use the torn drywall sealer you applied earlier, or any good primer made for new drywall.
I remember my first job doing this...I felt like Lucy Ricardo...the walls looked almost like stucco when I got done, but then I sanded them and whalla, I couldn't believe they were so smooth, like new walls. So, I know anyone can do it!
Hope you enjoyed my blog on "how to fix torn drywall." You may also want to check out my patented invention the BLADEater® holster. It has a built-in blade snapper for segmented utility knife blades.