Monday, October 1, 2007


    It's gone, but it put up a fight. The internet was a great help in the removal process, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing. After a few www searches, I found this handy site and dove right in.

    First step: hot water. Lots and lots of hot water. This first step also might involve going to Settebello with your friends and their cute baby and then roping the friends into helping you light the pilot light on your hot-water heater.

    Our hot water heater came with a healthy warning:

    Even though this particular pilot-lighting adventure ended in disappointment (too dark to turn on the gas to the apartment, thus stymied again), we did get Ellie high on pine sol. Ellie's parents can always blame any future drug habits on this early experience with huffing cleaning fluid!

    A day later, Tai got the pilot light flickering without blowing up, and it was time to stop talking and start doing. The internet suggested that I forget the idea of an electric steamer and instead go with a solution of very hot water and vinegar or fabric softener. I "selected" fabric softener for my removing solution instead of vinegar because Lowe's didn't carry vinegar. In retrospect, I'm really, really glad it worked out that way because I spent the weekend smelling my mountain fresh breeze arms instead of wanting to throw up.

    Kharmic note: don't install wallpaper. Seriously. It couldn't be any more of a pain in the neck to remove, so do the universe a favor and avoid putting it in so that some poor schmuck doesn't have to take it out.

    The process is really wet. I had a toddler moment and stuck a wet rag into that light socket on the right — not as fun as you'd think. Also, taking out wallpaper takes a lot of patience. The first strip was only about eight inches wide, and I approached it thinking that I'd wet down the wall a couple of times, then just peel that sucker off. I ended up spending more time on those eight inches of wallpaper than on the last three sheets I took off.

    By the time I took that photo, I had hit a bit of a system:

    1. Wet down the wall with a paint roller and the hottest water your faucet will provide, mixed about 1:3 with fabric softener.
    2. Wet it down again.
    3. Wet down the strip next to it, just for kicks.
    4. Take some pictures, pick at your fingernails, contemplate how much work you have left to do. (15 minutes)
    5. Pull up the bottom corner of the strip and try to loosen the bottom edge. Use a flat scraper if necessary, but if you've done 1-4 correctly, it should be optional.
    6. Pull very slowly. No, slower.

    Anytime I got too excited and started pulling too quickly, the wallpaper backing tore and left strips on the wall. That meant another wet down with the paint roller and another few minutes of watching the neighbors back into their parking spot outside the window. Seriously not fun.

    When I got to the far end of the wall, I killed the power to the room so as to avoid another toddler moment. What's even more fun than stripping wallpaper? Stripping it in the dark.

    The worst part is that we may have to put up new paper, just to cover the damage to the wall from the glue. We'll get some primer on it soon and see if it's possible to paint.


    B. said...

    That is one severe warning sticker.

    Kersten said...

    Frightening. It only added to my fears that this would happen to us:

    Kersten said...

    Well, it looks like that link isn't going to work.

    Short story: a gas leak in Saratoga Springs EXPLODED AN ENTIRE HOUSE and killed the woman inside, her child and a gas company employee.

    It was on my mind!