I suspect no homeowner is completely satisfied… we all keep a long list of ideas for improving our houses, and every now and then we actually accomplish something to whittle that list down. Such is the case for my parents, who kept me busy for three days this week in Massachusetts.
Mostly I removed wallpaper from their laundry room. I’ve never seen a wallpaper job I really liked – guess it’s been out of style for decades now – and this room has peeled for years. With such a head start, one might guess the remaining paper would be easy to remove. Not so!
Wallpaper generally has two layers: a thick facing with the pattern on it, and a thin backing with the glue that sticks to your wall. I spent a long day scraping off the facing. Armed with mainly a putty knife, I worked my way around the room, one panel at a time, starting from the edges where the stuff came off most easily and working my way in.
Now that only the porous backing remained, my pace quickened. I vacuumed the floor and laid down a tarp, taping it to the perimeter baseboard to catch the mess I was about to make. Next, I took a wet sponge to each panel, waited a few minutes for the water to soak in, and peeled the stuff off. The glue readily dissolved when wet… no need for chemicals or a scoring tool. I ran my hands over the bare walls to feel for any bits of wallpaper I’d missed, then wetted those last bits and scraped them off with the putty knife.
Once everything was clean and dry and wallpaper-free, I painted the ceiling. Turns out Benjamin Moore has a color called “Ceiling White,” and my parents already use it for many of the house’s ceilings. I put down more tarps over the washer and dryer and fixtures, taped off the overhead light and vent (no need to tape the walls since they’ll get painted later) and applied the stuff standing on a stepstool with a wide paintbrush.
The textured ceiling sucked up most of my quart of paint during my first application; I’ll need a new supply to add a second coat. Just the one, along with the fresh shiny walls, brightened up this room considerably.