6.04.2006

Adventures in home improvement...

Lately, I've been in a hell that has kept me busy on my weekends. The nine levels of hell of home improvement.

Let me start by giving you a baseline to understand where I'm coming from. I am not handy. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the Home Depot has changed their slogan specifically for me: "You will screw it up. You, we can't help."

Typically, my home improvement projects follow this pattern: I start with the best of intentions, don't know what I'm doing and, ultimately, fuck it up requiring it to get fixed at a much higher price by someone who actually has a clue.

That right. I'm the Dubbya of home improvement.

So it was with the best of intentions that I took on dealing with my kitchen wallpaper.

As you probably guessed, I did not take on this project lightly. However, this had to be done.

When I did the walkthrough of my house when I bought it, I had a few ideas for change.

Oh, I could put a fan with a light here. (It's Florida...every room has a fan.)

I could change the color of this room and repaint this bathroom.

Maybe I could get some flowers to plant out here.

But one feature stood out.

What the fuck did someone do to the kitchen with this hideous wallpaper? And what species of invertebrate was tasked with putting it up?

To say the kitchen wallpaper was horrible is a profound understatement. It was vile. Seriously vile.

The pattern was terrible. The seams weren't lined up when it was applied.

And, worse, it was cheap.

I say "was" because I've spent the past month of weekends trying to get this paper-shaped crap off my walls.

Before you give me the standard, "Oh that's easy...just use a steamer." Don't. Been there, done that, have the Lowe's return receipt. The steamer doesn't work. Remember, I said this is "cheap" wallpaper.

What that means is that the "wallpaper" comes off easily. Too easily in fact. This whole project started because the wallpaper decided to start coming off on its own. So once I started ripping it down, I saw the real problem. The problem that would make me feel like Sisyphus for the past month. The cheap wallpaper had a layer of masking paper underneath.

That masking paper has been the bane of my existence on this project. I can't paint over it, because once it gets damp, parts of it start wrinkle, bubble, or come off the wall.

Parts of it.

Other parts adhere to the wall stronger than Michael Jackson does to the story that he's never had more than one plastic surgery.

And surgery is pretty much what it takes to get them off. The wall, that is.

Also, don't bother to tell me, "Just hire someone." Workers won't do this. Seriously. They outright refuse. They're more than willing to fix the damage after I finish, but they absolutely won't take off the wallpaper because the amount of time requiring to do this work comes out to almost nothing per hour, or they would charge me more than the price of granite countertops to get it done.

So I've spent a month of weekends with water and a metal scraper, prying pieces of masking paper off my walls. And I've done a pretty good job of tearing into the walls as well.

And now, the rock looks like it's getting to the top of the hill.

Of course, painting comes next. So I'm sure it will roll back down in the near future.

Update: For those who are curious about what this looks like, this shot of the ugly wallpaper, the masking paper and my bare wall will hopefully provide some sense of my pain.

4 comments:

Postmodern Sass said...

I've heard my share of home renovation horror stories, but this one is a first. Masking paper? What year do you suppose this abomination was perpetrated upon your walls, 1738?

It's probably too late to suggest this, but could the professionals possibly install a thin layer of drywall over it, rather than trying to remove it?

Plod on. In the end you will reap the rewards, and in the meantime you have a good story to tell.

kapgar said...

The rest of that amended Home Depot slogan actually reads "... you, we can't help. But we'll certainly sell you a boatload of tools and supplies under the guise that we are!"

Nelumbo said...

Hope this project is going better. We had the opposite problem; the drywall kept coming off with the paper. Did you try that gel stuff? That's what the professionals use. Found that out because we gave up and hired professionals!

Blundering American said...

They have gel stuff to even out the walls? Those bastards at Lowe's didn't mention that!

I actually did finish it and repainted the kitchen. I plan to show some pictures whenever I finish the Blundering Through Israel series.