View Full Version : A plumber he ain't. (4/10)

April 10th, 2006, 02:20 PM
You guys know my track record with bathrooms. Well this new place was the bathroom from hell revisited. Last time it was the floor. This time it was the walls.

We moved into this house because we loved the layout, it's location, most of the interior design, etc. But one thing stuck out in stark contrast to our design sensibilities: dated, 70's flower covered wallpaper.

Now, I hate wallpaper on a general level, so I knew it had to come down. Luckily Taks was in complete agreement. The wall paper exists in three locations. The masterbath, the entry way, and the small guest bathroom. We decided we'd start with the guest bathroom since it was so small. You know... just incase there were any problems. (I've learned my lesson from previous batroom experiences.) And I prepared myself because wallpaper in a bathroom is a stupid idea in the first place: shower = steam = moisture = not a friend to wallpaper. Now, this should have been a $40-$50 fix tops: wallpaper enzyme-based stripper, a little spackle, a little primer and some paint. Things didn't quite work out that way. I've now spent in the hundreds.

Because the moisture from the shower had already caused the wallpaper to start peeling at the seams, we decided to go with a steamer first. This didn't go very well. The wallpaper just didn't want to release. We found out why on our next attempt.

Steamer rental, gloves and eye protection purchased -$68

So we moved to the enzyme-based stripper, I mentioned initially. When we started stripping the wallpaper, we noticed it was doing considerable damage to the wall itself, and not because the chemical hadn't done it's job. No... the contractors that built the house put the wallpaper up directly on the drywall without putting down primer. THIS is one of the single most stupid things I have ever seen. For wallpaper stripper to do its job it has to soak through the wallpaper to get the glue to release. With no primer on the drywall, the stripper goes straight through to drywall paper itself. So, to take down the wallpaper, we'd pretty much have to destroy the wall surface.

Enzyme based stripper, scoring tool, scrapper, atomizer, brushes, rubber gloves - $46

So, I've never had to deal with this problem before. I've never encountered something this collosally stupid. Luckily Taks' dad is a general contractor himself and he gave us some helpful idea on how to deal with the situation. We also got some "helpful" advice from the folks at Home Depot. Please note that helpful is in quotations. That is indicative of the advice not being helpfull at all.

We went ahead and stripped the wallpaper. Damaging the wall was unavoidable. Interestingly enough our sander burnt out while sanding the roughest sections of the walls so we had to buy a new one. **sighs** We bought a Ryobi handheld, cordless, orbital. (I love that thing) Thank goodness we'd just bought that extension cord so we could reach all the walls with the old corded sander though huh?

Extension cord, new sander - $49

That being done, we bought the tools to lightly coat the damaged walls with joint compound, smooth them flat, seal them, prime them, paint them... done. Well, because the paper surface was pretty much gone, the moisture from the joint compound made the the hidden part of the wall we tested on bubble up. Thanks for suggesting joint compound Mr. Home Depot man.

Trowel, mud pan, 2 tubs of joint compound and 1 lost receipt - $42

So Taks' dad (remember, general contractor) suggested we try topping compound. It's used for doing textured surfaces for walls. It has less moisture in it and it's a finer material. Gotta seal the walls first though; so, a Home Depot guy suggested a Drywall specific primer. Well, it wasn't water proof despite his assurances, it bubbled up. Since we'd already primed the whole bathroom with it... there was no taking it back. So, we had to get a different primer, hooray. We were a bit more cautious this time around, found a more qualified Home Depot guy and bought something called Shieldz.

Mortar Trowel, mortar pallet, Topping compound, PVA Drywall primer, Shieldz - $54

Ultimately the topping compoud did still bubble up in a couple of places, but it smoothed out as it dried. Nice. We did realize during the process that getting the walls smooth was going to be exceedingly difficult, so we decided to apply a texture. Taks did a great job with that while I was working on GU projects. So we were ready to paint. We found the colors we wanted, and for the sake of consistancy, bought the paint from the folks whose color swatches we'd picked up: Behr. We bought semi-gloss because it's a bathroom and needs to be pretty water resistant. Well, Behr Semi-gloss is incredibly latexy, so with the sealing might of the Shieldz, the paint kinda sits on the surface and is fairly easy to nick and damage. **sighs**.

Alrighty, so paint prep... brush for corners, detail brushes for ceiling line touch up, paint trays, painters tape and to work with the texture we bought some medium knap rollers. Despite their "quality" rating, they shed on our wall. So, we had to buy some more medium knap rollers.

Base paint color 1 gallon, accent wall color 1 pint, paint tray, disposable paint tray liners, painter's tape, brushes, rollers - $50

Now, if you recall, I mentioned the paint can be somewhat easy to nick and damage. Well, we found that out when the painters tape, despite scoring, pulled up bits of the paint. Little bit of extra touch up, but in order to be safe, it would still be best to caulk the ceiling line, around all fixtures, etc.

Caulk gun, paintable water resistant caulk - $16

Now with the main ordeal of the wall done, you've got the finishing touches. We had to remove the light switches because they had been painted over. We had to replace the switch cover because it had been wallpapered. We replaced the main lighting feature because it was hideous and dated. We also replaced the toilet paper holder because it was this monsterous thing set into the wall (removing it left a huge hole in the wall, we fixed that before doing the texture). And, out of sheer vanity we replaced the flush handle on the toilet so it matched our new lights and toilet paper holder.

Light fixture, toilet paper holder, light switches, switch cover, flush handle - $250

Total: $325
Total + finishing touches: $575

Man I love bathrooms.

Needless to say, just because you can trust one Home Depot without question doesn't mean you can trust another one without question. And never trust a house that you didn't construct (or oversee construction) yourself to have been handled properly. Wallpaper directly on unprimed drywall... idiots.

April 10th, 2006, 02:23 PM
Makes me glad I live in an apartment with awesome property management services.

April 10th, 2006, 02:28 PM
damn woody

hate to tell you this but after the first bit i would have done this:

rip out ALL the drywall and replace with new moisture resistant drywall...

price woulda been about the same as what you spent overall. and you'd KNOW that it was a good job :)

April 10th, 2006, 02:30 PM
Ouch! >< Yea ol bathrooms can be a nightmare Woody.

April 10th, 2006, 02:35 PM
I once spent about 6 months working for a general contractor and have lived through a 2 bathroom remodel years ago while living at home. I totally get where you are coming from on every level. I am glad things ultimately turned out ok with the only damage being to the pocketbook.

April 10th, 2006, 02:43 PM
There's no way I would have been drywalling that bathroom myself. (I've done drywalling before, I don't enjoy it.) And, paying someone to come in an do it would have cost me more than $325.

1. confined spaces add cost to contracted hourly labor
2. The walls behind the tiled shower would need to have been pulled out to completely replace the drywall. I don't even want to think about the cost of retiling the shower.
3. I would have already paid for the steamer rental and stripping materials before I knew the wallpaper was put directly onto drywall. That coupled with the cost of the painting supplies leaves quite a small amount of money to have had someone redrywall the room for an equivalent sum.
4. Projects that go wrong like this become a labor of love. I'd rather have this story under my belt than a story about having paid contractors to do the work any day.

April 10th, 2006, 02:49 PM
Man if my dad were alive he could have really helped you. He was the master at that stuff. I am sure this is something he had ran into before being in that business for 40+ years.

One thing I know he would have suggested and works great is something called Flowtrol. Its an additive to paint that makes it stick better and go on smoother. Add a little Flowtrol and where you would have normally seen brush marks from the paint brush you just see a nice glassy surface.

Unfortunately thats all I can remember of his infinate painting wisedom.

Hey Lenardo, thanks for the cool sig!

http://b1.lilypie.com/3Haem7/.png (http://lilypie.com)

April 10th, 2006, 02:52 PM
4 years ago, when I moved into my house with my recenly obtained "better half." Our new bathrooms were done the same way. She asked me to fix them. I tried the SAME things you did Woody, I got to the point of trying the Enzyme and decided to give up. Our main bathroom has half the wallpaper torn off now and half drywall. The bathrooms are very very small so I cant new drywall (myself) or so I may one day continue, following your method Woody, as it obviously lead you to success. Hopefully, you wont mind if I skip a few steps. :D

April 10th, 2006, 02:53 PM
I'll look at that Will, for future projects.


Kymora, please DO skip some of those steps. I'd be more than happy to give you the exact name of everything we used.

Something DOES need to be done to that sealer to get paint to stick better though. In a non-bathroom, I'd just hit it with a fine grade sandpaper. But, in a bathroom I'd be afraid of compromising the water resistance of the sealer.

April 10th, 2006, 02:54 PM
In hindsight... Should have just been a Jerk and just painted over the wall paper.

April 10th, 2006, 02:54 PM
Yeah, the house we bought and started remodeling last year...we decided to strip all the wallpaper off. Every room had wallpaper, but one. What should have been a week or two job turned into months because the drywall was not primed.

It was a hideous experience that I will never repeat.

April 10th, 2006, 02:55 PM
Ouch! I know where you are coming from. When we moved into our apartment in Turin, Italy one of the things we had to do was strip this hideous wallpaper from the apartment. The stuff was from the 1960s and stained with years worth of cigarette smoke. For those who do not know, when you rent an apartment in Italy you get walls, ceiling, floor and if your are lucky; bathroom fixtures. That is it. BYO Kitchen, light fixtures etc. The local IKEA loved us :) .Then I had paint the place. However when I applied the paint, the wall surface just peeled off leaving covered with paint and wall coating. I have had to sand the bathroom down to the concrete and fix numerous holes. Lots o' money for a rental. At least the rent is cheap for Italy.

EDIT since my spelling stinks as usual

April 10th, 2006, 03:02 PM
I am speechless of all the laughter in my head.

April 10th, 2006, 03:09 PM
I was reading this to my husband. Hes laughing his butt of. He says you arent allowed to remodel our house. Man and to think, you still have the MASTER BATHROOM to do :-D (i figure the hall will be easier, no steam!)

April 10th, 2006, 03:15 PM
I love the bathroom now, it's gorgeous.

I have a loathing, seething, incredibly intense hatred for wallpaper. It should be illegal.

April 10th, 2006, 03:15 PM
I don't see where we can be faulted for any of this. We didn't put up wallpaper on unprimed drywall. Each step of the way we went with the best solution. And we didn't come up with those solutions ourself. We asked people who were supposed to be qualified to answer the question.

April 10th, 2006, 03:21 PM
yea i would have put a base cover over the wallpapper, then painted over it.

bob the goat
April 10th, 2006, 03:23 PM
While remodeling my parents house I took charge of the bathroom. I replaced the vanity with a lighted one, which meant adding a switch. My dad suggested that since I was re-doing the switch box I may as well separate the main light from the overhead fan (they were both either on or off, and he wanted them independently switched). I ended up having to re-wire the entire room as nothing was anywhere near code. I had to poke a couple of holes in the HIDIOUS wall paper that was up there (think late 60s 1 dia hippie flowers splattered everywhere in all sorts of colors). They had done the exact same thing. I went to Lowes (they were getting to know me by name at this point in the project) and bought a few sheets of 1/8 panels with a wood grain finished side. When I got home I pulled down the towel racks, vanity, mirror etc. The new panels were cut to fit and glued on the existing wall with a caulk gun and some liquid nail. I had started in the morning just as my mom was leaving for work, and when she got home I was sitting there playing counterstrike. She was FURIOUS. She ranted and raved about how I needed to work on it until it was done, how she was mad because she hated having an unfinished bathroom, and didnt want construction noises all night. I asked her to go get me a towel. She was pissed and didnt understand. I said Trust Me and Get Me A Towel! There was actually a squeal of glee as she walked into her wonderful new two tone (coco-oak and honey maple) bathroom. The net cost was about the same as it would have been to strip, sand, patch, prime, and wallpaper the place, but the fact that I had one 8 foot wide and tall wall that went from towels on the bar, to towels back on the bar in under a half hour is priceless.

April 10th, 2006, 03:26 PM
My bathroom has the same problems, remodeled sometime in the 50's it appears as if the wallpaper is laid directly on the dry wall. To have wall paper in a bathroom at all is stupid . . . kinda like carpet in a kitchen (this house has both). Eventually we will want to fix these problems and when we do the bathroom project I will be sitting there feeling the frustration you feel.

I'm glad yours is done.


April 10th, 2006, 03:26 PM
Painting over wallpaper is a terrible idea and should be avoided at all cost. You ever seen a drywall seam crack? It doesn't stay hidden because there's paint over it. And there are far more seams in a wallpapered room than there is with just drywall.

April 10th, 2006, 03:29 PM
Bleh, I hate house projects. My house is more than 50 years old and despite my best efforts to bring it slowly into the 1990's standards it fights me at every turn. It's far more epic than any MMO creature.

April 10th, 2006, 03:36 PM
Spent a year remodeling a house once... I feel your pain.

Went all the way in the bathrooms though. Every square inch of drywall came out (Same problem, wallpaper and no primer behind it.) and had to start over from the studs. Smart move to avoid re-tiling though... while you can pick up big batches of tile cheaply if you ask around, it takes forever to do a good job... and those little spacers to make it line up right are the devil!

I have mucho respect now for people who make a living doing that work. And perhaps even more for amateurs who try to do it themselves without prior experience. =)

April 10th, 2006, 03:41 PM
Picture of the mentionned bathroom ? :)

April 10th, 2006, 03:43 PM
Holy CRAP!

renting is good...

April 10th, 2006, 03:49 PM
Oh, Woody, you guys have my sympathy and, I fear, the people who wallpapered our house learned from yours (or vice versa). Our basement was wallpapered with a dreary dark brown print right on the drywall. The upstairs bedrooms and hallway seem to have had wallpaper laid straight on bare plaster. In the former case, we've been peeling off paper for what seems like forever! Little, tiny bits remain everywhere. Gah! In the latter, I gave up and, after ripping out a fair bit of the wall with the wallpaper in the hallway, just primed the HECK out of the wallpaper in the first bedroom and painted over it. Two years in, it looks pretty good.

April 10th, 2006, 03:54 PM
I'd also love to see a pic of what you ended up with.

April 10th, 2006, 03:58 PM
Whytewulf, that's best part. We are renting. The owners gave us permission to take down the wallpaper.

Lovely huh?

April 10th, 2006, 04:00 PM
WOW! As coincidence would have it, my hubby and I were also doing some "minor" touch ups to our bathroom. It's an older house and this place is more like the place we're living while we save and plan for the next house. The former owners also put this hideous flowery wallpaper up in the bathroom and were addicted to super high gloss paint...so much so that they apparently repainted several times in there without sanding down the prior layer first. The paint on the ceiling was peeling and so was the wallpaper because they put it up on top of a surface that had no grip. It actually looked like they repainted the linen closet and then put up the wallpaper while the paint was still wet, because the wallpaper stuck extra well in those areas where they allowed the paint to just spill over. They also calked the crap out of everything, even on top of the wallpaper, so we're having to redo some of that in places.

One thing we did find to work well was this stuff called Dif that does really well at removing the wallpaper liner. We had to go around and strip off the outer layer of wallpaper first to get down to the liner, but then once the backing of the paper was exposed, we sprayed it down with Dif (a spray gel), let it sit for about 10 minutes to soak in, and then a regular paint scraper took it off with ease. It's turned into a two-weekend project, but it'll be well worth it once we get done.

Oi...I definitely feel your pain on this one!

April 10th, 2006, 04:02 PM
I've had similar problems in my upstairs bathroom. The house was built in the 60s and so unsurprisingly there were problems with the pipes BEHIND the wall. This three year leak that no one caught rotted all the boards behind the shower wall, along the baseboards, and around the toliet. I ended up ripping out all the wallpaper, pulling up the carpet/boards, replacing toliet, shower, sink, and painting everything. Total cost = $5200 *sigh* Had to be done unfortunately.

April 10th, 2006, 04:03 PM
Aww man Woody. I guess I should say.. Rent in a 2-5 year old apt (built to Condo Specs) is good. Though sometimes there are the neighbor issues.

Here is my plan for my upcoming move to NC. My Uncle lives in NC, he just bought a brand new "little" house for investment purpose.. so I get to rent it for a few months for cost plus a bit extra, brand new 3 bed 2.5 bath in a nice neighborhood. No work to be done. I will take my time looking for a house (and a job).

Good luck to you all, I did the house thing.. 1970's house.. I will do everything but plumbing from now on. I don't care what you do.. IT LEAKS!

April 10th, 2006, 04:05 PM
I've never seen "Dep" do you mean "Dif"? Dif is what we used... or, well, tried to use. I've used it in the past (luckily, on a primed wall) and it worked well.

Foozii Fuzzitail
April 10th, 2006, 04:19 PM
i cheat. i get my parents to fix stuff. my step-dad can fix anything... well, anything i've loused up... so far...

April 10th, 2006, 04:20 PM
Yes I meant Dif...I mistyped it and went back and changed it, but not before my typo was exposed...AAAAAAH! :)

April 10th, 2006, 04:20 PM
... I'd have an anurism (SP?) half way through that...

April 10th, 2006, 05:11 PM
Lol nice one woody, the comic confused me but your expilnation was hilarious.
In one house my family bought, the kitchen was painted a light lime green, yea the last person must have been on a diet.
And I helped a friend renovate (not remodel, renovate)her new,old, house. The last owners must have been crackheads because the bathroom was don in a texture plaster and painted bright pink. The effect was like looking at cake frosting.
And in another house my family bought we decided to take down the old wallpaper, wich didnt look half bad, and put up wood paneling, Well there was at least TWENTY layers of wallpaper and the very bace layer was hand printed german newspaper, we were all shocked. My stepmom still has a piece of the newspaper last I knew.

April 10th, 2006, 05:19 PM
I feel your pain... (Of spending so much money on remodeling)

I have found a cure. Do Not Buy Things From Large Retail Stores.

Me and my family have gone to a local, small, family owned, hardware store for years. Almost everything is cheeper, everything is of better quality and if they give you bad advise you can go back and discuss it with them.

Me and a couple of my friends remodeled my friends entire basement (4 of us, one being an app. plumber, one an app. electrician, and the other an app. carpenter, with me being the only academic (though my father used to build houses for a living).) and it cost us less then $600 Canadian. We bought most of the supplies from this local hardware store and got the rest from our perspective worksites.

April 10th, 2006, 05:22 PM
I know it's impolite, but I simply cannot stop laughing :D

April 10th, 2006, 05:33 PM
Hey, everybody. I'm new to the forums, but I 've have been reading the comic for a while now. Anyway, my dad got me the Reader's Digest guide to home improvement (I think thats the title). Yeah, I've gone by that book for awhile now, and I have had no problems so far with it.

April 10th, 2006, 05:38 PM
couple months ago The boy grabbed the "waterpik" shower spary head hose and pulled on it which snapped the the already brittle plastic 45 degree spout extension which .. was jammed in the couple - 90 degree brass fitting which was embedded in the wall. when it broke the water was on full output and it splashed all inbetween the wall.

The result was the entire wall which hide and contained the pipes (both sides - became soggy and needed to replaced.. while Replacing the now defective drywall, which needs to be Moisture resistant we managed to break 3 bathroom tiles by standing on the tub sides. Half a pail of Drywall coumpound and a few coats of paint and a new METAL spout extender you can't tell the wall was replaced and gutted. Quick repaint on the basement hid the water stains.

Yeah Bathrooms are a pain.. the bathroom is a magical place now where I was too lazt to match the paint so one wall is white, the other a off white yellow... and in the middle of the wall it changes colour.. subtle.. you really have to stare at it to see the change.

oh well That house is now sold so I get to see what the future house has in store for us.

Sorry to hear the repair snowballed... Yeah.. Advise is a nice two sided dagger huh.

I had to get a new sander too.. Wasn't going to sand that much by hand. but yeah.. buying all the supplies to deal with the problem seems to be a nice way of aquiring tools.

April 10th, 2006, 05:38 PM
It's cool Chant. I take pride in being brave enough to illustrate/post my tials and tribulations. So folks can laugh at my troubles all they want. I don't mind. We powered our way through it and came out on the other side with a guest bathroom that we're happy with and proud of.

And hey, if it ever does start to bother me, I'll just imagine members of the laughing peanut gallery failing miserably during an attempt to tie their own shoelaces, giving up, and resolving to buy sneakers equipped with velcro. That should make me feel better about the situation.

Nifty how the mind works.

April 10th, 2006, 05:41 PM
We are going through the same thing for the third room in our house. The previous owners had 2-3 layers of wallpaper in every room and that does nto include the borders.

It just seems like some people are idiots when it comes to basic home projects.

April 10th, 2006, 05:46 PM
Well... our chief problem was that we couldn't even fathom someone putting wallpaper on drywall without priming it. Maybe it's because I worked in the theatre for so long doing sets and then tackled quite a few home improvement projects, and Taks is the daughter of Construction Superintendent.

April 10th, 2006, 06:09 PM
Ouch Woody.. =(

Being in the remodeling business myself, you wouldn't BELIEVE some of the stuff we run into (and eventually fix) from building contractors. For instance, a few weeks ago, we had replaced a bay window in a house built in the late 70's I believe. Anyway, while pulling apart the old window, we had noticed an electrical cord running through one of the mullions. Well, since we had to rip off the whole bottom part of the old bay, we went ahead and did that while one of us called an electrician to move the wire. Looking at where the cord ran through the mullion from the bottom of the window I noticed that it was tied in multiple knots and ran into the actual wall itself, stopping immediately. I looked closer, and realized that it was cut and actually DIDN'T run into the wall. Confused, we ripped apart the header of the window to see where it went on top. Come to find out, it was wrapped and tied around one of the roof joice. ?! What?! You know why they did that? They were using the ELECTIRICAL CORD to hold the outside of the bay window from sagging! Wallpaper on un-primed drywall is nothing compared to this gem.

Sometimes I question alot of building contractors. ALOT.

April 10th, 2006, 06:13 PM
They put things together as cheaply as they can without people noticing :/

April 10th, 2006, 06:14 PM
In my old home (of which I lived for... oh, 10+ years,) the bathrooms had that peeling wallpaper issue. Guess what? My father's response to that was to replace the wallpaper! I'm betting the new owners will start noticing the peeling happing again pretty soon. (Not to mention, the master bath was once carpeted... )

I'm glad where I'm currently living is "stuccoed" all over inside--it's a lovely shade of very light cream. Very Italy-deco, used to belong to an art collector.. We did have some water damage along the main crossbeam, so we're looking at a repaint down the road.

April 10th, 2006, 06:44 PM
I'm so sorry you went through all of that Woody. I just bought my first house in November. I didn't get it inspected before buying, 'cause it was being sold by my best friend's girlfriend and my best friend insisted all was well, or at least easily repairable and I figured I'd trust his judgement and save myself the $500. I am such an idiot. The stories I've already racked up about this nightmare... I think I'm going to start a new MySpace profile, "Isaac's Nightmare House". To give you an idea, it was built in 1900, but there's nothing historical about it... it's just plain old. It's in a crumby neighborhood in Lowell, MA. One of the more crime-ridden parts. It's a 3-family, 2 floor house and the prior landlords have treated it as just an investment property, wherever there are repairs, it's always the cheapest possible. Dropped ceilings conceal ceiling issues for the bottom floor apartments (until the leaks start staining the ceiling tiles brown...). I'm not living in one of the 3 apartments and ... wow...

Your story means a lot to me. Not only because it's always nice to see others having the same pains as me, but also I'm sure I will no doubt have to use much of your wisdom in my own house sometime soon! I have a local Ace Hardware and though it's smaller than Home Depot and slightly more expensive in some items, overall I'm much happier with the service. I've already replaced my own water heater when it blew up (literally, the bottom dropped out the bottom and flooded the entire basement in 4" of water). Home Depot wanted $550+"applicable taxes/disposal fees" for a 30-gallon heater. Ace Hardware works with a contractor and they told me $500 flat, no added charges of any sort, taxes included, for a 40-gallon. Complete installation. When I walk in I'm almost always greeted by someone who either knows exactly what I need, or helps me find someone in the store who does.

Your info on re-doing drywall alone makes my daily visits to your site for the last couple of years and enduring your terribly unfunny site all worth while.

Just kidding of course, I love the comic. :)

Thanks Woody!

April 10th, 2006, 06:46 PM
(Not to mention, the master bath was once carpeted... )

Hahahahaha, that's insane! I can't even imagine that... carpeting a bathroom... nice... I don't know which is worse, that or hardwood floors in a bathroom...

April 10th, 2006, 06:54 PM
Thanks for the awesome story Woody ;)

A couple months ago we got our bathroom redone. Our three-day plan turned into 12 days. Everything in the bathroom (walls, rotted floors, sinks, tubs, cabinets, etc) was removed, thrown out and replaced. The floor and walls were all rotted out far beyond Dale's (The guy who helped) first thought. But Dale is quite the guy and managed to get everything done as soon as he could, although not as quick as we would have liked. We helped of course.

Dale turned out to be a really cool guy. He was an Army Ranger for a long time and was in most of the major engagements of the last 20-30 years. He had a really cool story about blowing up a camel with a TOW missile. :D :D :D

April 10th, 2006, 07:09 PM
ahh wallpaper...had that in my old bedroom for 15 years....then i decided i was gonna change it too something ...actually my style. so I got a 30 pack of Bud light and miller lite and got my neighbor and 2 more buds to come over....We drank and dewallpapered the room for 8 Hours....Straight through. took off a couple of chunks of drywall too, since there was no primer...took so long cause there was 1 steamer...and we did the Hold it on for 2 minutes and peel approach...I think my hands were stained with wall glue for a few months

April 10th, 2006, 08:01 PM
You can buy a cheap wallpaper steamer for less than $20. No reason to rent it. The cheap steamer worked well on our walls. I feel for you though...wall paper on drywall without primer..

If the wallpaper was a vinyl, you might have to use that tool that punctures holes in it to let the vapor get behind the paper.

April 10th, 2006, 08:37 PM
We did us the tool to puncture holes in the paper before steaming. Thing looked like a mideival torture device.

April 10th, 2006, 08:47 PM
ya. me and my dad were doing a little work int he basement of the house in Montana my folks lived in at one time. while i was visiting, one of the cats got up in the basement cieling, which consisted not of a cieling but a collection of cheap tiles that interlocked (no metal frame thingies), so once he stepped off the joist onto the tiles themselves, his measly 15lbs (big cat) brought the entire cieling down.

no biggie, we were going get to that eventually anyway. just him bringing it down changed that from tast #23094 to task #1....mom wanted her cieling fixed pronto so she didnt have to see the floor supports for the above floor.

we discovered: do it yourself plumbing and wiring!! apparently the half bath upstairs was not in the original house. some "handyman" added it it in later. among the curiosities present were live wires, sans insulation, wrapped around copper metal pipes. not grounding wires. actual, live, current carrying wires without insulation. (good thing the ceiling collapsed too before the cats found that while up there)

its a wonder no one electocuted themselves at somepoint since the bath was installed (~15yrs before my folks bought it they figure). and that was just one of the things we found.

April 10th, 2006, 08:47 PM
Yeah, looked like a paint roller with spikes. The rented steamer was professional grade -- that if it could, would have made the water HOTTER than boiling to turn it to steam. The thing was seriously awesome. I wish it had worked.

All in all it was a learning experience to say the least, and I'm for darn sure never buying a house with wallpaper. I don't care if it was put up properly or not. Just the word.... wallpaper. Makes my hair hurt.

April 10th, 2006, 09:15 PM
I have come across the same problem and tried everything. Untill my mom suggested something so simple I wouldnt have ever thought of it.

Just use sponge with hot water, and sponge it over the wallpaper. It will release, believe it or not. (this works on wallpaper installed properly as well, I will never use one of those damn steamers again) The drywall can handle a reasonable amount of moisture without breaking down. and just let it have a day to become completely dry before you try to paint it.

Hope this helps with your other rooms!

April 10th, 2006, 09:38 PM
omg woody sounds REAL bad i had a bad episode with my bedroom about a year back :(
some idiot had basically glued the wallpaper on with i dunno super never come off glue and then bashed the walls with sticks cause when the paper came down so did most of the walls :(
pollyfiller and hours later and its still not right cost a small fortune!
knowing a good decorator and skimmer = 2 beers and 5 = happy spiggy :D

guy came in plastered the whole thing and skimmed it drank 2 beers and charge me for the plaster mix hed used which was 5 so all in all a good trade

oh and then the place i got my paint from screwed up and gave me 2 different shades which really got on my nerves!

April 10th, 2006, 09:52 PM
oh my god, thats exactly what happened with the wallpaper when we went to paint mine and my sister's rooms... i think it had something to do with when the house was built in the 70s.

needless to say, my mom was P. O.

April 10th, 2006, 10:00 PM
Reminds me of the day I woke up, stumbled into the bathroom, was brushing my teeth, and something didn't seem quite right...

...so I rubbed my eyes and looked around.

The upstairs neighbor had let his tub overflow ... all night ... and the water had seeped down the walls and gotten in behind the LATEX PAINT.

I was in a John Carpenter movie as I spun around. The walls were just a series of large water-blisters collecting liquid, and waiting to burst and co-opt my body and make me a pod person.

April 11th, 2006, 01:54 AM
Oh... wow. :P

Evil Walls...

April 11th, 2006, 02:48 AM
I am fairly lucky my Dad has building qualifications coming out of his ears and does use them practically.
Although I am still waiting for the ceiling in my kitchen to be sorted after a leak from the bathroom :D
Myself I would have tiled the room its a bit more fiddlily but if you use tile paint you can change the colour to what you want afterwards and it remains waterpoof and enjoys a rough surface :D

April 11th, 2006, 03:56 AM
Hm. I'll take this as "a sign." I was going to talk to my landlord this weekend about him letting me get rid of the horrid wallpaper in my bathroom and just painting it, but all things considered, I think I'll just put up with the wallpaper.

April 11th, 2006, 04:25 AM
First i'd like to say thanks for letting me (or us) know about priming before wallpapering.

*shakes head and goes to Canadian Tire for primer.

April 11th, 2006, 04:37 AM
bathrooms are horrid, livingrooms are worse when you decide to take out a dividing wall :)

April 11th, 2006, 05:00 AM
After reading all this I'm glad there is only 1 spot in my whole house that has wallpaper, 1 small wall of the bathroom. When I do go to redo it, I'm already considering just ripping the drywall down and putting up new.

Biggest problem I had when I moved in 3 years ago was taking down the ugly paneling (the color they painted it didn't make it look any better mind you) that they had in 2 of the bedrooms. First one went fairly well but needed alot of sanding to get off the liquid nail. The second one was a PITA because of the tiled ceiling (interlocking) and the panels extended about 2 or 3 inchs above it. Lucky at the time I had access to a rotow zip to cut the panels at the ceiling. Had to mud the drywall when I was done to fix what my unsteady hand had damaged.

And speaking of electical nightmares, I started the re-wire of the house as they had only two 20amp breakers running the whole house. Well I had a part of a extenstion cord sticking out of the wall above a small shelf. Well I found that it went to the ceiling and found that they had striped the insulation off one of the passing runs, wrapped it around the wire, tried to solder one spot and left the other.... sitting on bare wood with no electical tape or anything to insulate it. All it would have ever took to start a fire was a mouse running across the splice to complete a circuit.

April 11th, 2006, 06:30 AM
I am in the process of doing construction on my house. Doing it all myself. We just finished remodling the guest bathroom upstairs (started out by ripping out the entire thing down to 2x4s and starting over), adding in a brand new bathroom in the master bedroom (it didnt have one before), redoing the downstairs bathroom (same darn 2x4 starting point), then we could finally start with the kitchen (added some drop downs from the ceiling to hide air conditioner dut work we had put in to change the air flow in the house).

Put in wood flooring upstairs last month. Will be having the carpet and rolled flooring put in this week (cant do that myself). Did all the bathroom tiling myself thou. As long as you get a good wet saw for the tile, its a breeze.

One word thou for bathrooms. BACKERBOARD. Dont use drywall, it simply crumbles after a while. I used backerboard thru all three bathrooms. you can tile directly too it, and with the right primer (I used Kills), it floats and tapes and paints just like drywall. Also since it is concreate based, the water damage is MUCH less if something springs a leak.

Thank God we are almost done with all this construction thou, I am TIRED! :)

Good luck with the other bathroom and the entry way.

April 11th, 2006, 07:31 AM
"Total: $325
Total + finishing touches: $575"

Getting rid of Crappy 70's Wall paper..... priceless

Sorry woody couldn't resist.

April 11th, 2006, 08:05 AM
We recently took down some nasty ugly wallpaper ourselves.. total cost of the job... $10. Like yours they put the paper directly on the dry wall. All we used was 2 spray bottles and a vinegar and water solution.. Soaked the paper with the spray bottles.. and pulled it off pretty easily. Took and extra day because we had to wait for the dry wall to dry.. but didnt cost anywhere near the $300 range...

April 11th, 2006, 08:48 AM
Wallpaper directly on unprimed drywall... idiots.

I've never done wallpaper before, so this was a new one to me. Glad you got it all worked out, Woody.

April 11th, 2006, 09:21 AM
If you're ever in the neighborhood and you're looking for a bit o' extra cash, I'd definitely consider hiring you. You sound like you've seen *just about* everything.

April 11th, 2006, 09:31 AM
Yeah there are only 2 real ways to deal with wallpaper, either rip out the old drywall and replace it, or wet it with a sponge. We had the same problem with no primer, and we just used a ton of water.

My parents bought a 30yr old house, and I helped them remodel. As much as we can figure, the original builder ran out of money, but he did a GORGEOUS job building. The next guy who owned it knew nothing of building and completely messed stuff up. Besides the bathroom having black and gold velvet wallpaper, it had mirrored tiles on the ceiling and one wall. The tile over the toilet broke loose and smashed on the toilet one day while we were working on the doorway (can you imagine if my 6yrold niece was using it at the time!?! ). We painted the ceiling and wallpapered the bathroom as it's only a half bath so no steam to mess the paper up. We also took out the 2 layers of linoleum and put in a tile floor. It turned out beautiful, except the fact my mother insisted that we dye the grout pink to match the wallpaper. It looks like neon stripes on the floor now:rolleyes: .

Drop ceilings to hide the face the ceiling wasnt finished. When we went to throw out the broken fridge, we couldnt move it, it had sunk into the three layers of linoleum. Now how messed up is that? Took us 5 hours just to rip up all three layers.

I have to say, all the mess in the bathrooms and other rooms were bad, but working on a septic system is the worst job out there. When they put in a new septic tank, they crushed the pipe to the old crib, and whoever crushed it decided that instead of fixing the pipe (a 15 min fix), he would just lay a piece of tar paper over the broken segment and it eventually filled with rock and blocked the pipe. Well because the septic tank backed up into the basement they put in a new field, which would have been well and good, only they forgot to hook the field up to the septic tank. So my dad rented a backhoe for 3 days and we went down into the mucky underworld of the septic system. Talk about wanting to go back in time and telling some people to not breed. We got it fixed, and now the system has more then enough space to accomidate what the -used to be fuzzy- bathrooms can throw at it.

April 11th, 2006, 10:12 AM
I gave up on removing some of the wall paper that was in my kitchen. The bottom layer (3 removed) had sunk into the drywall. So my kitchen as a crosshatch texture on one wall, where we just Kilnz and painted.
As for home improvement horror stories, this is ours. http://www.geocities.com/starmoss/roof/index.html
I promise to get the rest of it up. What is missing is the re-do of the kitchen, that led to the replacement of the septic system.

April 11th, 2006, 11:09 AM
Wow, that is EXACTLY the problem I had when I was helping a friend and her husband with their master bathroom. After the initial realization it had no primer though, they just hired out a contractor. They were never good at saving pennies.

April 11th, 2006, 11:16 AM
heh woody.

i wouldna touched the tiles work but cut and worked around it (caulk does wonders)

i finished my basement so i am quite good with drywall and "mud"...

i also drywalled in a door so good that you cannot tell where the door WAS ..

(old master bath, door was from master bedroom to bathroom but the vanity was this tiny 2x2 itty bitty thing, so i ripped the door out, drywalled it, ripped out the vanity and medicine cabinet and ended with a 5' (exactly 5') opening...the vanity Slid in Perfectly..

installed a new 5' vanity& new 4' mirror/medicine cabinet, new plumbing, new sink etc myself- i had to ummm modify the drain from the sink a bit- but it all matches code and doesn't link, i also installed a light inside the shower that Was code...

then i had to live thru 4 month addition work as i got a 2nd floor and NEW bathroom installed (and i did the tilework/vanity work in that bathroom as well...corian dbl sink counter that is 7 feet long...and 9 feet worth of cabinets (one of the cabinets is 6' tall.. along with 2 3' wide vanity mirrors with lights...
whirlpool tub...
floor is 12" ceramic tile -that took me 6hrs total from start to grout being finished

looks great

April 11th, 2006, 12:04 PM
:mad: Ok so, after this GU Episode, and as I stated back on page 1 of the first page of posts...I thought I'd go home and give it another shot. I started scrapping and scrapping and chunks were coming off (drywall not paper). I got about 5 ft of it done when I decided to look at it.

You know the graphics they put on war scenery? The bullet holes, the pot-marks, ricochet chunks, and etc on the walls and many other things you'd expect for a war themed game, this was the exact replica of my bathroom wall. So, in light of my ressurected project and newly obtained World War 2 heirloom, I think Woody, I will be needing that list of things you used...and even a How-To for your more advance steps. I may even print out your first post as a How-To, as I do consider myself a fairly educated person and have the ability to figure some things out. (mumble) Stupid Shoelaces...

PS: (If the products listed have a How-To already provided, you need dont bother telling me how to use them, that is not your job and I know how RTFM.) I would appreciate the tips tho, that the product's how-to's do NOT tell you. :)

WTB: WWII Tank for living room, will match the wonder bathroom...

April 11th, 2006, 01:14 PM
And never trust a house that you didn't construct (or oversee construction) yourself to have been handled properlyTruer words have rarely been spoken. One of the key reasons why I am building my own house... well, that and its a custom earth-bermed home ;)

April 11th, 2006, 01:42 PM
If I were going to pay to have drywall hung, I would have just redone the entire bathroom. Seal the thing up good and tight, and turn it into a Japanese bath/sauna. (Which is what I really wanted to do anyway, but being a renter, that's a hard thing to convince the owners to let me do.)


It sounds like your drywall has lost its integrity, if it's crumbling... it's in BAD shape. The only time I've seen crumbly drywall was when there was heavy water damage involved.

Are you certain it's not lathe and plaster? How old is the house? Lathe and plaster walls are typical in OLD houses and the plaster gets incredibly crumbly with age.

April 12th, 2006, 01:55 PM
Its not terribly old, 20 years or so. However, I live in Houston, in the newly discovered 5-year flood plain. This could have something to do with it. *sigh* I wont FEMA bash here but it was a pleasant surprise. Either way, I dont think its too terrible with water damage, I honestly think (I'm a protagonist) it can be saved with plaster and elbow grease. I blame most of the chunks and such on frustration. :D

April 12th, 2006, 08:46 PM
Want to hear my wall paper horror story...
My mom bought this 100+ year old house to turn into a retirement home a few years ago... but it had all sorts of horrible wall paper all over the place. So we like you though ok we will get a steamer and take it down... well what we found was layer after layer after layer of wallpaper... i believe in the end it was about 20 layers in some of the rooms... What made it really bad was that the previous owners had smoked in the building so as we are steaming the paper off nicitoeen is dripping all over the place and into our eyes...
And like you when we get through all the layers we find unprimed drywall... and in someplace the wall was falling apart and was held together with DUCK TAPE!! it was insane...
But what we ended up doing and something you might want to think about is there is this special wallpaper that is just white and you can paint on it as if it was just the wall...

*gl Mgc*

P.S. I just finshed reading all the comics up intill now and they are all realy good... You work realy hard Woddy. Its realy cool... Keep up the good work.

April 13th, 2006, 12:08 AM
This is hilarious - the accompanying text is even funnier than the cartoon! *laughs - then sobers, looks around furtively, and hightails it out of there on her velcro-closed sneakers*

April 18th, 2006, 02:27 PM
heres a quik tip so you dont have to spend a ton of money to remove wallpapaper: take hot water in a spray bottle and fill about 1/4 of it with vinegar. Then spray the wallpaper, well soak it in this mixture. Then just peel the wallpaper off. The vinegar works with the paste and dissovles it. I just did my living room, and it didnt take that much money, thanks to the dollar store!