Monday, March 26, 2012

If you never try then you'll never know...

(Post title, in case you didn't recognize it, is from "Fix You" by Coldplay. Love them.) Anyway, the reason for the blog title is that I decided to get ambitious with my time off. Perhaps a little too ambitious. I mention yesterday that I wanted to remove the wallpaper in our half bath. First, I will go through some steps. Keep in mind, these should work if the wallpaper was put up correctly. Unfortunately, the builders of our house were idiots took some shortcuts. I think we already knew this from the fine electrical job they did, but this was added reinforcement.

Here's what the half bath looked like Sunday morning.

First, I removed everything from the walls.

And plugged in the steamer. It took about 20 minutes to start steaming.

In the meantime, I scored the wallpaper with my knife.

Once the steamer was ready, I held the steamer to the wall. And waited and waited. Ideally, the steamer  loosens the wallpaper glue.

And then you would scrape it off.

However, I ran into a large snag. The wallpaper was affixed directly to the drywall with absolutely nothing in between. No primer, no layer of anything. Nothing. And the glue was strong stuff. Which meant that the paper layers of the drywall would come right off with the wallpaper. It was a disaster. I wasn't sure what to do.


So, I spent some time talking to my parents today. And we all came to the conclusion that the walls must come down. I ended up calling a general contractor who came out to look at our bathroom mess. I think we are going to actually overhaul the whole bathroom at this point. Replace the vanity with something nicer, get a new toilet, new walls. I think it will be great, and am pretty excited about sprucing up the bathroom. And it will be nice to see how the contractor does on a small project in order to determine whether we use him for a big project in the future. I also discovered that the previous owners had painted over the existing wallpaper in another bathroom (not telling which one). Not sure what to do about that. I was kinda fuming when I figured it out (I was noticing that the corners of the room were curved).

But my day was not completely unproductive. I had a plumber come in to put in a new main water valve (finally). This had been a problem on the home inspection. It was one of those old gate valves (with the pin) and the inspector had been too nervous about it to switch it off. It was also tucked behind the washer so it was unreachable. I don't have a before picture, but I had the plumber move the valve up to the height of the washer and install a lever valve. Neither of us were comfortable doing this type of work ourselves, so it was nice to get that checked off the list.

Also, my new vacuum came in! It is a Miele Salsa. I really liked using it for the first time. It did a great job, and the house already feels cleaner.

I also went to the nearby garden center and picked up a few things for the Spring. I plan on planting tomorrow, but I also picked up some silk flowers for a vase I had lying around (empty). The house definitely feels more Springlike.

And I saw 2 of these little birds for $1.60 a piece, and thought they would look nice on the dining room table.

I'm also working on some Spring cleaning and organizing. I'm hoping to feel like the house is put together by the time I go back to work. We'll see... :)


  1. oh geez... i totally feel your pain on this, Cathy!! we had to remove wallpaper from 5 rooms in our house... it was the first project we did....and some of the paper was up on the walls for 40 years, and it was awful tearing it down... we also destroyed the drywall in the process, wound up using spackle (which i only recently learned is not the appropriate solution) and sanded prior to painting... most of the rooms look ok now but one room really took a beating and will probably need to be redone at some point. it's the worst! hope everything turns out OK.

  2. Yea. Wallpaper is no joke. I think we are planning on ripping out the walls in the bathroom and starting over. What is the correct approach if you don't use spackle? I always thought that spackle can fix anything!