Sunday, July 24

The Art Of Removing Wallpaper

Because we are at somewhat of an impasse about the colors of the other rooms, yesterday we started working on the foyer, where we were planning to patch up the current wallpaper and plaster and put a boatload of primer on it so that we could start testing paint colors in there so that we could be at an impasse in that room as well.

weektwohalf0005The wall had a number of problems. There were a couple of cracks in it, there was some staining, and the ridges from the wallpaper were such that they would show through any paint unless we were very good about sanding and plastering.

So yesterday we did some patching up of the plaster with various compunds, and it was so uneventful that even we couldn't find any reason to blog about it.

Today, after attending our very first UU service in our new town and having lunch with some of our neighbors, we got back to work and sanded and repatched some places.

Then it was time to get down to business and put up some primer to see how the whole thing worked.

weektwohalf0014 As you may or may not be able to tell, the primer had some problems. In particular, despite the fact that we had done a pretty good job sanding, lots of ridges and indentations still shone through more than we liked, as did all of the wallpaper seams. And, for icing on the cake, the textured flowers on the wallpaper were also visible in many lights. Part of me said that this was just the foyer, and nobody was going to be staring at the walls in great depth, but another part of me said that the foyer is the first room that guests will see and as such we want to make a stunningly good first impression. As we stood there discussing how to deal with these problems, yet another issue arose...

You see, all of the things we had read about priming over wallpaper suggested to use Kilz as your primer. But none of them mentioned that one should use the oil based version of Kilz rather than the water based, and since everywhere says to use water based primer with water based paint, that is what we had bought many gallons worth of at the Home Depot. Well, in hindsight it seems obvious, but the water based primer has water in it, and therefore when applied to wallpaper makes the paper bubble and come off of the wall. So the bubbling started as we sat there, and we quickly realized the error of our ways.

K. and I then proceeded to make one of the faster decisions of our marriage and decided to add another multi-day project to the Master List and to remove all of the wallpaper before painting. (It should have been obvious to me that this project was inevitable, given the most recent album by the-first-musician-K.-and-I-discovered-together, but I digress)


Luckily, the parts of the wallpaper that had been covered with primer came off of the wall ridiculously easy. So much so that we watered down the primer that was still in the paint tray and put it on parts of the rest of the wall to make that wallpaper come off quickly. Our best guess is that the primer seals the water into the wallpaper so rather than evaporating it just keeps making the glue disentegrate, but for whatever reason, it worked well and, after only about 90 minutes, we were left with a foyer looking like this.


At this point, we are happy with our insta-decision to strip the wallpaper as I think that it will make the finished paintjob look much slicker. But you should check in with us in a couple of days after we have added washing down the walls, cleaning everything, and different kinds of plaster work to the list of things that we need to do in the next ten days.


At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Jason Finestone said...

Do you guys have a freakin' telephone number yet? I can't communicate solely through blogs!

At 1:30 PM, Blogger K. said...

What's wrong with telepathy?

At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job you guys. Old wall paper is better off the walls. I am I can soo the improvements already! Beautiful Home! SAYADA

At 8:49 AM, Blogger kate said...

Wow -- your primer trick worked much better than any of the solutions I've seen on the market that are designed for taking down wallpaper. I lost half the skin on a couple of my fingers to the evil chemical stuff that we used when we were fixing up this house.


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