Monday, February 9, 2009

Home Improvement HELL

I stripped wallpaper this weekend and it sucked ass. What sucked even more was how completely unprepared I was for the absolute sucky-ness of the ass sucking experience. (take THAT google!)

When I moved into this town home five years ago it was almost entirely wallpapered. The person who picked out the floor/wall decor during construction was clearly into country prints and the color pink. Never before had I seen a hunting duck wallpaper print in pink - but there it was. In my living room.

My sister was living with me in those days and she helped me strip the wallpaper from every room in the house - except my bath. I told her I'd do that one myself. Naturally I procrastinated and procrastinated because taking down wallpaper is not my favorite past time. Besides, I thought I'd be able to knock it out any old time - after all, the rest of the house came down pretty easy! Huge sheets of wallpaper at a time! Why would I think that my bath would be different? Well, it was. Painfully different.

The assholes who threw these town homes together basically stuck wallpaper to the drywall and went about their business. For some reason, in my bath, they decided to use concrete to adhere the wallpaper to the drywall. I spent all of Friday scraping tiny little bits off at a time and cursing the builders up one side and back down the other.

It's not as if I were completely unequipped for the job! I had the paper tiger and the wallpaper remover spray as well as a putty knife to get under the edge of the wallpaper. However, nothing I tried gave me any kind of headway. It was so incredibly frustrating that I gave up around 10pm and had a little cry.

Saturday morning I woke up eager to find a solution to my wallpaper dilemma and googled "stubborn wallpaper removal" for answers. There were many suggestions from fabric softener to scrubbing bubbles. I tried a mix of fabric softener on the walls and that didn't work. Next I broke out my Rowenta iron and tried steaming a small part. It worked a little, but I couldn't see myself pumping the "steam" button on my iron for the rest of the day.

So, I googled "rent wallpaper steamer" but the rental costs for one day were as much as buying a steamer outright! Feeling ambitious, I grabbed Muffin and hoped over to Lowe's to buy one for myself. It was hot, sweaty work but that steamer took down not only the wallpaper but all the gunky glue as well! Best $50 I have spent in a long while.

Let me put this in perspective - on Friday I went through all four discs of the LOTR Fellowship of The Ring and Two Towers Extended DVD editions while attempting to take down wallpaper - with minimal results. On Saturday I finished taking down the wallpaper during the first disc of Return Of The King. (Hey - I like background noise while I labor! Besides, the Lord Of The Rings trilogy is sufficiently long enough to get me through most projects.) All Praise The Steamer!

Now it looks as though I've decorated my bathroom in "Post Cold War Russia" chic complete with holes in the drywall. I've moved in Muffin's bathroom for the duration of this horrific project. Here's hoping for smooth sailing from now on! (yeah, right.)

12 comments:

Kristi said...

Oh. Wow. You have my sympathies. Lots of sympathies!!

Reality Therapist said...

Are you shitting me??? And, pink duck hunting paper? WTF. I'll expect some after pictures.

Kareer Woman said...

Wow, that truly is wallpaper hell! I've never seen anything like that, wow!
You'll be VERY well deserved of as many chocolate martini's as your heart's desire after that job is done, or during the job, whatever works :)

Missie Jean said...

Holy crap woman! I wish you lived closer, I'd come help! I love home renovations like that. I know, I KNOW! There's something seriously wrong with me.

Tina said...

I know how bad that sucks.. I had wall paper in every room in my house. I used windex to get it off..

Chris said...

YAY for the steamer. We do lots of remodeling and I'm constantly cursing the idiots that did the original istallation. For instance the moron that put up insulation board instead of drywall.. IDIOT! and used no less than 100 nails to attach it. IDIOT!!

PorkStar said...

Pink duck hunting paper... wow..

Madame Queen said...

Ay yi yi. I do not envy you that project. Removing wallpaper should officially be declared a form of torture. But, at least it's done!!

Jen on the Edge said...

Ugh, I feel your pain. I've done that wallpaper removal thing and hope to never do it again.

knittergran said...

That's a funny story-especially since I've done the same thing. Then I learned that I could paint over the paper-you put drywall compound on the seams, sand it smooth, cover the paper with oil-based primer, and then paint. Does that sound easier? I don't know really if it is, and I have some curling edges peeling away from the wall....

hokgardner said...

Your pictures show what I hate about home improvement projects. It's the not the work itself, it's the clean up afterwards.

Which might explain why my whole house needs to be repainted.

Stacie said...

our house was the same, tons of wallpaper...against bare drywall. Such a mess...good luck and can't wait to see the end results.

and by end I don't mean rear end. ha, I crack myself up and by crack I don't mean the ass kind.