Monday, September 20, 2010

The wallpaper strikes back

On the whole, we were really lucky with wallpaper removal.  One wall of the kitchen was papered, and horror of horrors, they put the paper up on bare drywall--didn't even prime first!  It should have been a complete disaster, but the paper came down easier than I've ever seen.  Just grab one corner, and you could peal down the whole sheet effortlessly.

The hall was a little more involved, but still, quite reasonable.  The vinyl peeled off easily, leaving plain paper on the wall.  A little spritz of plain water, and then the paper peeled off easily with the scrapper.

Perhaps we were arrogant.  P was so eager to see the bathroom paper gone that he grabbed a corner, and:

Ouch.  What you are seeing there, ladies and gentlemen who have been so fortunate as to not have this happen to them, is damaged drywall.  Yup, P peeled the drywall paper right off with the wallpaper.  This is bad anywhere--the drywall will need to be repaired before it can be painted, or else it will look horribly uneven.  But it's particularly dispiriting in a bathroom, what with moisture concerns--we don't want humid air getting inside our drywall!

I spent a few weeks scolding P for being a spazz before beginning work on the bathroom paper in earnest.   I scrapped and scrapped and scrapped, and got a tiny corner done.  Ugly scene.  And then, in a fit of frustration, I moved over to the wall he had started on, and:

Yeah.  The two of us are not to be trusted.

I finally did what I should have done in the beginning, and called my mother.  I grew up in a fairly large, old house.  My mother stripped the wallpaper from every room and rehung it all--and then did some rooms a second time, a decade later.  She's a pro.

She recommended using the wallpaper remover from concentrate, rather than the gel (that I had been using).

The new stuff was better, but the going was still really tough.  The wallpaper was vinyl, so spraying the outside of it with remover didn't do much good.  I tried getting one of those wallpaper scorers, designed specifically for this purpose--it makes little pinholes in the wallpaper, so the remover can get through to the glue layer.  The packaging promised that it wouldn't damage the drywall paper.  Lies--it scored that too.  Bye bye, $6.

It must have taken me a few hours to get this far.  Most of the room yet to do, plus I was butchering the drywall.

P finally tried using this little scrapper do-hicky we already had on hand.

No magic bullet, but a definite improvement.  It would scrape off the outer vinyl layer, and then the wallpaper remover could do its thing.

Unfortunately, I don't seem to have a picture of what the hall bath looked like after I got all the wallpaper off.  Let's just say it was a really bad scene.  Lots of damage to the drywall, various layers of paint removed with others still on....  It was nowhere near being ready to paint.  Lots of unforeseen work ahead.

1 comment:

bennett said...

It was flattering to read the nice comment about me (your mother) being a pro; I guess that was before I (your mother)pulled on a piece of wallpaper in a bedroom and had a large chunk of plaster land on my foot. Ouch!!