Sentinel-Echo.com

March 21, 2013

You Get The Picture: A devil of time removing wallpaper

By Magen McCrarey
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I really want to know, what inspired women in the 90s to plaster flamboyant floral wallpaper in their homes from ceiling to floor?  In my opinion, it was the worst thing anyone can do to depreciate the value of their own home, and I came to this conclusion after nine grueling hours of scraping bits of paper off a bathroom wall.

During some time off last week, I decided I was going to make my overachieving self conquer three bathroom projects.  Ridiculous, I know.  The first was a half-bath with 60s sherbert floral wallpaper, a sight quite unpleasing to the modern eye.  But since I seem to have an odd sense of favor for vintage, I was kind of sad to see the ill-colored monstrosity go.  

The first rip of paper is always the most nerve-wracking. It could either fall off with ease like the fur of a golden retriever or barely budge like a stubborn 2-year-old.  The half-bath’s paper came off smooth — no tools or chemicals necessary.  I ripped off all of the layers in a matter of 15 minutes, and it was surprisingly fun!  

Tearing up the walls was so entertaining, it was like therapy. I dedicated my last tug to the annoying cat outside who incessantly meows.

The next day, I was ready to rip off two layers of wallpaper in the much larger full bathroom.  How hard could this one be?  The first rip gave me a clue.  R-I- no “p.” Only a stubborn shred the size of a dime fell to the floor.  I tried again, and again, but nothing would budge.  So I took a large scraping tool in my right hand and a spray bottle of paste remover in my left.  Two hours later with some help, we barely scoured one wall.  We seriously thought the paper was sealed with a deal from the devil himself.

Two days later, once my hand felt like it wasn’t trying to develop arthritis 30 years too early, I singularly conquered the wall with a steamer and prayer.  I vowed to not leave the bathroom until all the blasted wallpaper was destroyed.  Approximately seven hours later, I looked like I was in a Russian bath house and the floor looked as if I was hosting a family of guinea pigs.  

Next on the agenda, I’m painting both bathrooms and an additional full bathroom.  Stripping wallpaper makes painting look as easy as pie, so I’m actually looking forward to the painless slice of the project.  

Words to the wise, never ever wallpaper your home, and never think that it will only take a couple of hours to remove.  Most importantly, if you happen upon a house with wallpaper, make sure the previous owners did not cut a deal with the devil.  



mmccrarey@sentinel-echo.com