Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Project of the Year

Unfortunately, it will not be SWAP wardrobe.

When we moved into our house, we discovered that the previous owners had done a cheap and quick face lift on the interior.

Most rooms had been painted over wallpaper. Sigh. We'll have to deal with it eventually, but it doesn't look *too* bad at the moment.

However, the foyer, stairwell, family room, dinette and kitchen apparently had a textured wall paper that couldn't be painted over, so it was pulled down.

But the wall surfaces were not prepped and the walls were painted right over the glue.

With a cheap, outdated paint (we found the cans with Big Lots stickers in a cabinet in the garage). It wasn't even a finish paint...it was a primer.

Well, the primer paint is not sticking well to the wallpaper glue. Shortly after we moved the paint began to bubble, crack and fall off of the walls in the rooms that had been painted over the glue. Let me tell you, to quote my oldest Dear Daughter, 'it's a hot mess.'

And, to be honest, I haven't a clue about how to go about fixing it. But I did realize that the first step has got to be to get all the loose paint scraped off. So, whilst on the blogging break, I found our paint scraper (which needs a new blade) and began in the most accessible spot: the dinette.

I figure if I can manage to scrape for 20 minutes or so 5 - 6 days a week I will get it all scraped down in about three months.

Then what? I'm not sure (any home improvement gurus amongst my blog readers? Any advice would be MOST welcome!), but I know that I really can't do anything until I get the walls scraped. But not only do I have an uneven surface to deal with, but I've got the metallic scrape marks from the blade of the scraper to cover up/get rid of.

So...while I will likely work SOME sewing in around and about this, I'm not going to commit to making a full out wardrobe.

I've put this project off long enough; it's time to get it done.


  1. well...I'm not sure what exactly to do...but you could go to the decorators place by Parkway Place and ask them. (I forgot the name of it). OH MY...I couldn't spread it out over a few months. I'm so bad....I would have to focus a whole week on nothing but that in order to get it done. I've done it in the last three houses we have gotten. They have all needed major renovations when it comes to paint...paper....etc. I wouldn't move into them until it was completely done. We would "kill" ourselves to get it done...but it was always completely finished once we moved in. I know...it's terrible I'm that way...I think it's just my make up...I can't wait to get it done...and just HAVE to have it done!! I hope you're able to find a solution to help your walls look better!!! I'm sure you will. You are so creative and resourceful!!! Have a great week!!!
    Miss ya,

  2. I feel your pain. When we painted the master bathroom last year, we discovered that the wallpaper had been applied directly to the drywall with no prep.

    It looks better, but not great even after a whole lot of effort on our part.

    My best advice is to seek professional help! Even if you still have to do all the work, find out what a real painter would do.

  3. Beth, I'm not entirely sure this wallpaper hadn't been glued straight to the drywall, too. Some of the surface that I'm uncovering as I scrape looks suspiciously like unaltered plasterboard. Actually, given other cheap corner-cutting construction details we've discovered since moving in, it really would fit right in. Sigh.

    And Buffi, I know exactly what you mean! The reason this hasn't been done in the three years we've been here is that I've been waiting for a nice chunk of time when I could ignore all other demands and tend to it. But that hasn't happened yet and (you know what our church calendar is like!) it's not likely to happen. It occurred to me that if I had started scraping just a little whenever I could right after we moved in, it would've been done by now. So...better a little at a time and eventually done than just cringing every day. At least I feel like there's some progress!

    And once I get it all scraped, if I haven't had enlightenment as to how to proceed, I'll likely consult someone who should know what to do... ;)

  4. In our house we'd be ripping down the drywall and starting over. DH likes to do that so he can add insulation, check for and repair any termite damage and redo any electrical or add lighting. I don't have experience removing wallpaper glue, but I do have experience fixing bad walls. Skim coat. Once you've scraped the walls, you need to fix the gouges, dings and dents and you can do this by applying joint compound. You put it on and scrape it off, let it dry, repeat if necessary, then sand. It's messy and time consuming, but do-able.

  5. Oh, I *wish* tearing out the walls was an option! There's a seriously major room remodel that I'd like to do, but, well, the resources just aren't there to do that right now.

    And I sorta figured I'd get well acquainted with joint compound (or 'mud', as it's called in this part of the country...we called it 'spackeling' where I grew up...).

    And I've uncovered more of it than I expected...I'm wondering if pulling off the wallpaper damaged the wallboard and that's why I'm finding it (the paint didn't stick to it too well...)

  6. Having done this myself in our hallway, let me just wish you good luck. I know how hard and messy this job is. However, it might be a little easier (albeit a bit messier) if you sand the glue off rather than scrape. I'm thinking maybe even an electric sander?

  7. If you've got flaking paint then you could try spraying a wallpaper glue remover and letting it soak behind the paint flakes. Then the paint on top of the glue should just lift off a bit more easily. I'd get advice from a decorating/hardware store because there may be a product that will make your life easier. Good luck!

  8. DIF - great stuff, a spray-on gel that removes the glue residue so that, after rinsing, you can paint over the wall. Took a couple of hours to do my hall wall, painted the next day, and it still looks nice five years later.