Friday, September 6, 2013

Listen up kids, here's a story...

The Wallpaperville Horror, Pt. I

Why is wallpaper SO bad for resale value? Hmm, let us ponder. Perhaps it is because removing it isn't quite a WALK IN THE PARK. Nonetheless, it happens. It's there. But not for long, mon ami! I come armed with high level of ambition and an endess supply of HGTV know-how. And I've got youtube, dammit!

So let's start with a few tips. Pointers, if you will. First, I would suggest you "think like a contractor." And by thinking, I mean dressing. For example: barefoot, cheerleading shorts, and a t-shirt may not the your best approach. Also, proper equipment is essential. Another example: perching (barefoot) on a stepladder wedged into the bathtub, no bueno. But you know what they say, kids. Do as I say, not as I do!

Okay, getting started. Obtain the following:

Small Spray Bottle
Fabric Softener (don't go small here, you'll need it alllll)
Wallpaper Scoring Tool
Wide Putty Knife/Scraper (pancake-turner style)
HUGE Wallpaper Sponge, with scrubby side
Dawn Blue Original Dishsoap (small is fine)
Medium Bucket

I'm currently in the throes of removing the wallpaper from my bathroom. Yes, four walls of wallpaper. Four walls. FOUR. Help.
First, rub the scoring tool over about 2 sq. feet of wall. Try to work on one panel of wallpaper at a time, if you can tell where they begin and end. Second, rub the scoring tool over the area more, you didn't get it enough the first time. Third, keep going. Fourth, envision your ex-boyfriend, boss, the nighbors dog who barks all night, and keep scoring. Okay, you can stop scoring now - probably isn't enough, but you'll make it work. Now mix your fabric softener 1:1 with the hottest water of hades in the spray bottle. Spray the scored section of wallpaper until your hand cramps and ever using it again becomes a fond and distant dream. LET IT SIT. Do not be tempted. DO NOT, I SAY.

"Oh but that little corner, right there, it's ready! See, it's peeking up at me, saying 'Pull me, pull me!' I'm just going to pull it a little..."

NO. NOOOOO. Do not give in! Let it soak in! I'd give it around 5 minutes. Now, remember this. Push from the bottom, peel from the top. Use the corner of the scraper to (oh so delicately) lift the bottom corner of the wallpaper. In short, blunt movements, scrape up (shank) the wallpaper from the bottom. This is one GIANT price tag. The perforated ones. Know that Christmas gift you just gave up on and let the recipient know it was from Ross, when you wanted it to look like you ordered it straight from the Carter's catalogue? Because of the price tag's bionic refusal to peel!?!? Yep, it's that one. And it's gigantic.

Work your way up gently, using the scraper to lift the wallpaper from the wall. It's going great now. Smoothly, I dare say. Then, uh oh. What's that? A little resistance? Maybe a teeny tiny rip in the paper? Oh, it's nothing. Just keep plowing away! The wallpaper will abandon that little infidel and come back together like it never happened....right? Again with the NO! The problem is insidious. It's been building and goes for INCHES. Miles, in wallpaper measurements. The white 'back' of the wallpaper has become separated, and you can't tell where the rift occurred. Keep pulling now and it will result in a disaster of epic proportions! Quarantine the rip! Stop pulling and spray the underside of the paper, near the rip, like it's bug killer and the rip is Big Bob from Arachnophobia! Spray! Make sure the bit of paper ripping away and latched to wall is completely removed before continuing.

In fact, if you hear anything but the gently glide of wallpaper blissfully melting off the wall....STOP. Do not proceed. Do not. First will come that sound. Then a slightly acidy feeling in the pit of your stomach. That feeling which is the harbinger of the realization that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. Then the tears. For all that is holy the TEARS! Do not let yourself be found curled around your stepladder in the bathtub, your cheerleader shorts matted with wallpaper paste, clutching your putty knife, sniffily repeating "I shouldn't have pulled!" Save yourself....


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