Home improvement shortcuts usually lead to trouble. But not always. Fifteen years ago, I tore out most of my crumbling plaster walls and replaced them with drywall. By the time I got to the dining room, I just couldn’t face another day of dust and rubble. So I took an easier path: I patched the worst cracks with mesh tape and joint compound and primed the walls. Then I covered the walls with “wall liner.” Today, those walls still look perfect.
Wall liner is basically wallpaper, but it’s much thicker and paintable. Some versions are smooth; some have a textured or patterned surface. I’ve seen situations where severe cracks telegraphed through it, so patching wide or loose cracks beforehand is a good idea. Aside from hiding cracks, liner is also used to smooth out textured walls before hanging wallpaper. And it’s the easiest way to cover up dated wall paneling.
— Gary Wentz, Senior Editor