Smell the McCarthyism in the Air
Saturday my wife and I spent the day stripping wallpaper in the master bedroom. I'd originally planned to work on the kitchen floor, but I am easily side-tracked.
Stripping modern wallpaper was new experience for me. Having tried it, I can now say with authority that it sucks.
The previous owners believed in the Layer Method of remodeling. According to the Layer Method, all old layers of paint, flooring, wallpaper, etc should be left intact and the newest layer should be installed directly on top of it. I suspect they thought it quite a clever way to get an extra layer of insulation on the cheap. Ah, such sly geniuses.
The first layer of wallpaper was relatively ugly but it came of in huge sheets. Grab the curled up corner, pull, and the whole damn sheet would come right off. It would have been beautiful except for what we found beneath it.
This 1950's vintage wallpaper is a glorious pink that the photo didn't reproduce. It's far too muted and doesn't convey the latent feeling of paranoia, fear of nuclear apocalypse, and the scourge of McCarthyism. As a bonus, the wallpaper also released the funk of musty, old people.
The McCarthy Pink Wallpaper was thoughtfully covered in spackle before the outer most layer of wallpaper was laid. They may have done this to smooth the wall's surface before installing the newest layer, but I think they did it just to piss me off. I'm sure the clairvoyant bastards enjoyed watching us suffer.
They spent what they saved on insulation on glue. They had so much they put on two layers of pink wallpaper in places. It wasn't just a couple of inches of overlap to make the pattern match up. There is one section of the room that had five feet of over lap. Why? Pure spite is my guess.
Most of the dry wall was in pretty sorry shape by the time we were finished with it. We have a lot of spackling to do.
Fortunately, we have perfected a removal technique that works well (less work, less damage to the drywall). First, we take a water soaked rag and run it over the wallpaper. We let is sit for a few minutes an then mist it with water applied with a spray bottle. Usually, this is enough to loosen the glue. If not, we soak it with the spray bottle a few more times. The trick seems be keeping it constantly wet until the glue gives. A sharp scraper takes care of the rest.
Sunday, Charlie and I worked on the kitchen floor and the Mrs. worked on scraping wallpaper. More on that later though, I have a busy day of harassing our utility company.