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A plumber he ain't. (4/10)

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  • A plumber he ain't. (4/10)

    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.

  • #2
    Makes me glad I live in an apartment with awesome property management services.
    Never rush a miracle worker. You get rotten miracles.


    • #3
      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


      • #4
        Ouch! >< Yea ol bathrooms can be a nightmare Woody.
        "You a loose cannon sandvich! But you a damn good cop!"


        • #5
          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.

          41 Bloodelf Paladin (active)Cuteyhoney


          • #6
            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.


            • #7
              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!


              • #8
                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.


                • #9
                  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.


                  • #10
                    B@stard Reno.

                    In hindsight... Should have just been a Jerk and just painted over the wall paper.


                    • #11
                      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.


                      • #12
                        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


                        • #13
                          I am speechless of all the laughter in my head.


                          • #14
                            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!)
                            Currently Playing - World Of Warcraft - Everquest 2 - Minecraft


                            • #15
                              I love the bathroom now, it's gorgeous.

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