Transformation 2012: Day 5

If you visited yesterday’s post, you’ll see an image of the dining area wall at the end of the day (i.e. the start of the day today). To the uninitiated, it might not look that bad. I dared to feel some optimistic as I began. Even by lunchtime I thought I was making good progress. But for the most part, the effort was all about stripping one tiny piece at a time.

If this looks like shredded wallpaper, it should. This was the product of my efforts. Tedious, very tedious. During the course of my labor, I tried various tools, techniques and chemicals. It all seemed to come down to elbow grease. Also, I was up against a ~30 year old bond, I don’t think a Hogwarts graduate could’ve done much better with a wand and the right potion or spell.

On Saturday, our wall expert (Fernando) will be out to mud, tape/float, etc. the walls, repairing past and new damage. I hope he’s not too horrified by the result of my efforts. As much trouble as I had separating the glued-together layers of paper in the dining area, the master bathroom is looking much, much worse. 

I hope Fernando can work magic. In the master bath, I’ve discovered 4 layers of brown paper, which means that with each redecorating, some effort was made to remove the old paper…at least the printed layer. But the plain brown backing was left behind. I’m sure there was a right way to do this, a method that would have resulted in less tearing, but I’m not sure I had it in me to apply the patience that was needed. That was the one thing lacking my array of tools.

What I did have at my disposal, the weapons of destruction:

Spray water (the most effective. I had a nifty pressure canister, but found the spray bottle shown on top of the ladder to be the most efficient.)
DIF (not effective)
Goo Gone (Painter’s Pal: not its intended purpose but was recommended. Somewhat effective. Strong citrus odor)
Downy (highly recommended, but about as effective as the Goo Gone, though runnier/messier. Also, pick a scent you like – this was the strongest-smelling of all of the chemicals.)
Simple Green (used mostly for removing the residual glue left behind on the paint. Caution: removes latex paint.)

I tried a variety of other products, including rubbing alcohol. In general, I found water to be the least expensive, least smelly, easiest to obtain wallpaper removal product, and it was as effective, if not more so, than the rest of the solutions.

Other tools: plastic putty knives for scraping, a scoring tool, ladder and the clean-up tools. One important lesson I learned was the importance of cleaning up the wet, sticky paper (instead of leaving it on the floor to dry, and creating another opportunity to scrape wallpaper…but this time from the cement floor).

My deep thought for today: in peeling back layers, the oldest is the hardest to remove. Time, patience and a lot of effort are required to gently lift away the covering, to expose the original material. As these walls are being prepped, I’m looking within and rediscovering myself. This is truly a time of transformation.

About Fran Hart

Disciple of Christ, earning a living as the director of US-based operations for a Taiwanese company, managing an engineering organization while carving out time to write. Wife, Mother, Grandmother.
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