As Cheryl and I were finishing up our new floor this weekend, our eyes fell upon the next task. It seems there is no lack of projects to tackle.
We noticed the old wallpaper border and decided we needed to do something about it.
We discussed the two options available to seal with the border. One, take it down; two, paint over it.
We decided that if the border was bonded well, we might just skim some joint compound over it, sand it smooth and leave it in place. If it came off easily, then remove it we would.
So Cheryl decided to check it out while I went out to get the Bakers scaffold.
As I was assembling the scaffold, she was steadily pulling the paper border off the walls.
I was focused on the task at hand and wasn't paying attention to what was happening, but, after a while, I turned around to see how the progress was going.
Cheryl was three-quarters of the way around the room removing the outer layer of paper, leaving a swath of yellow backing paper that is hard to remove from the wall.
I said, “I thought we were just going to test a small area to see which method of removal we should use.”
She said, “We'll just skim over the yellow backing.”
For those of you who don't know, the yellow backing paper will wrinkle up if you apply wet joint compound over it. So we decided we would choose between the next two options – whether to moisten the paper and begin to scrape it off or to seal it with an oil sealer and, after it dries, apply joint compound over it and sand it smooth after it dries. Decisions, decisions.
I don't know about you, but I hate scraping off wallpaper, but we decided to use the Bakers scaffold to double team the problem.
I don't know why they call it a Bakers scaffold, but it is a small interior scaffold frame that fits well inside the home. It has wheels on the four corners and it can be easily rolled from point to point.
The first adjustment setting I set the walk-board to turned out to be a little too high – for me at least. For Cheryl, it was pretty good, but I'm about a foot taller than she is and my head was tilted at a 45-degree angle as the ceiling was pressing tight into the top of my head.
The double teaming effort was supposed to go like this: Cheryl would moisten the paper ahead of me and I would follow scraping the border; as I worked toward the farthest reach of the scaffold, she would come back and double moisten the area and I would come back and detail the remaining paper. We hoped this process would go pretty smooth.
We made progress around the room moistening, scraping, moistening, scraping until finally after a couple of hours, we had circled around the whole room and had the old paper removed and the walls wiped down clean.
With the right tools, a solid plan and a great working partner, the job that I generally hate isn't so bad after all.
As I mentioned before, there is no shortage of projects to tackle, Next weekend we paint.
JD Norris is the owner/operator of DreamMaker Bath&Kitchen and a certified S.C. Master Builder, certified “Aging in Place” Specialist and certified Green Professional. If you have any projects that you would like discussed in an upcoming article, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.