Sunday, February 28, 2010

My First Time...with wallpaper!

One of our first remodeling projects in our house was one of our first floor half baths. It was my first experience in wallpaper removal and because it was the least used room in the house I could take my time in learning this process. We also chose this room, because the wallpaper literally made people motion sick. We had several friends who came to our house and used that bathroom and all came out with the same comments. The small flower/dots on the wallpaper created an optical illusion of movement, which in turn made many of them a little sick to their stomach.
Removing the wallpaper was easier said then done. The 'lovely' builders of this house applied it directly to the sheet rock without a primer coat in between. I ended up ripping off the paper layer of the sheet rock in many places.

To remove the wallpaper, I used several techniques: Dif, PaperTiger, and a steamer. Overall, buying the industrial steamer was the best move. Dif took too long and it created this gross blue goo everywhere. The PaperTiger just cut the wallpaper into little strips, which might be fine if you have a primer coat under the wallpaper, but not having that it created more difficulty in the process. The steamer, by far, worked the best. I had to remove the wallpaper in two layers. First remove the paper print and then remove the adhesive layer. It was a long process.

In addition to the wallpaper problem, they also *glued* the wainscoting directly to the wall. My husband removed all of that, but it took lots of chiseling to do so. We were left with holes and marks all over the drywall once all the wallpaper and wainscoting was removed. We then had to joint compound over all of those areas. It took five coats of joint compound and sanding.

We wanted the bathroom green, so we chose a light green for the top and a darker green Venetian plaster for the bottom. The Venetian plaster was very easy to work with. You apply it much like joint compound but in a v-shaped wiping motion. Several layers give you the textured effect. (Note: I used Dutch Boy paint in the room and I will NEVER use this brand again. It was like painting with water and the colors did not come out like they were suppose to.)

The next step was to rip out the linoleum floor and replace it with ceramic tile. This process should be painless, but it was not in our case. The builders of this house LOVED glue and again they GLUED particle board to the subfloor of the house. (Note: the particle board is used to increase the floor height, so it matches the hallway floor height. If we would have tiled over this there would be a good 1/4" height difference.) My husband and I spent and entire weekend with a Dremel Multi-Max and a chisel removing this particle board.

Once that was removed, my husband tiled the floor. He also sanded the cupboards with a 200 grit sandpaper, applied a light coat of stain, and then polyurethaned them. We replaced the handles cupboards and put in a new light above the sink and we were finished!

This being one of our first project, it definitely put being a homeowner in to perspective. Like with all home improvement projects, when you are elbow deep in them you feel like it will never end. It seems to take three times longer then you think it will, and at many points you just want to put your house on the market and walk away. The thing that keeps us going is the feeling of when you finish your project. Knowing that you did this all yourself and it looks so wonderful!


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