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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dog Drool & Wallpaper Removal,

Job started: Tuesday August 16, 2011

You’re probably wondering why I am writing about such a topic, after all this is a dog blog isn’t it?  Well as Lucy would say to Ricky, “Let me splain.”

Living room wallpaper~ which is staying!

When I bought my home many years ago it was apparent that I would always have dogs, and probably many at once.  Back then I was a bit more of a stickler when it came to the clean appearance of my home. Oh sure, on occasion stray dog hair would escape me under the fridge or stove, you know, the normal places you would only clean about five times a year, however upon entering my home I wanted that first glance  to give the appearance that I did not own as many ‘in house’ dogs as I do. This has worked for me over the years because I buy my home products specifically with dogs in mind, from furniture to flooring. Strange? Maybe to some, but if you keep in mind that some people do this very same thing when they have small children with dirty fingers, it will make sense!
Tools: DIF wallpaper remover at $15.00
a bottle or
Vinegar and warm water?  The Aspirin is
for later, goes without saying!   

In my efforts to accomplish this first glance semi clean look, I put washable wall paper up in many rooms so that hopefully that clean look would last a long time. Thus connects the wallpaper with the dog blog! (you might remember my blog, Cleaning for company! That article will tell you just how nutty I was!)

Recently I’ve had to put my home up for sale due to a job change and since houses are easier to find than jobs, the decision was clear. Yes it is very bittersweet as I have spent almost 20 years of my life here and made many good, no great, friends which I am very thankful for and who I will never forget. 

With the housing market being what it is and every third house up for sale on the block the need to take down much of my style and taste came to a reality, so it was time to take down pictures and knick knacks as well as some of the wallpaper.
I’ve heard that when people come to look at a house they want to imagine their own stuff on the wall not look at your stuff.  I am still trying to figure out how to turn that Jesus picture around in my mother’s kitchen without offending her ‘cuz even for me it’s a little creepy!

I am 20 years older than I was when Peter and I put the wallpaper up and just the thought of  scraping it off the walls was overwhelming, so I put the word out on Face Book that I needed this job done. Any takers?
  A friend replied to this request and came over with all the supplies needed to do the job. Shortly after starting, he realized that it was going to be a long and tedious job and that he would feel like he was robbing me with the amount I had offered to pay. He was indeed, right. Upon taking off the first layer of wallpaper we both realized just how long this job could take and  since it is easier for me to take time off work than he, I decided that I would finish what he had started.  After all, he had already done his time in this dog house just hauling tons of garbage to the dump for us!  His efforts were greatly appreciated and we had great conversations in that time which I will miss while doing such a long tedious job on my own!

The commercial supplies pictured above, which my friend had initially purchased, proved to be time consuming. The wallpaper stripper had to be left on the walls for up to a half hour before scraping and I am a bit too impatient for that nonsense. Once I get going on such a project it must be finished before I lay me down to sleep as I will not be able to move so easily when I awake!
That’s when I reached out to the internet to find the easiest and fastest way to remove wallpaper which I should have done 20 years earlier as I might not have put this particular type of paper up! In my search I found that there are different types of wall paper some are pretty thick and peel right off the wall little hassle which is the paper we came across when we bought the house, but unfortunately we got the washable wallpaper. With this paper you have to scrape off the top vinyl layer and then you have to go back and scrape off the paper backing thus making the job even more tedious. Something to think about if you want to put up wallpaper for that first ‘no dogs live here’ impression!
In my internet search I found that more natural products which I already had in my home might also do the job.  The expense of the commercial wallpaper remover purchased at the hardware store alone made trying this home remedy worth it.  
 The home remedy was warm water and vinegar and I knew I had plenty of both!  Peter had recently bought a gallon of vinegar to be used as a safe alternative to commercial grass killer which could be harmful to dogs roaming the yard! Voilà! I was set!
Friday August 19, 2011, 
 Well three days later, a few blisters and some more gray hair just from the overall task itself, I have to say that the vinegar and warm water worked very well and saved me lots~O~ Moola! In fact I was able to scrape the wallpaper off quicker after I had scored and sprayed it then I would have if I used the commercial spray.
 There were a couple of things I did which may or may not go against the rules of proper wallpaper removal etiquette according to the professionals.
 My walls are made of plaster not drywall, so I am not sure if that made a difference or not. But I used hot water and vinegar, not warm water as specified online and I did this because I found that when using warm water it became cold water fairly quickly, so to keep it warm I started out with hot water and vinegar. The spray bottle I used was a small to medium size not a large one, this is because I felt the mixture would not stay warm enough in an large bottle while scraping one or two sheets at a time and putting the bottle aside. So I suggest a smaller bottle, but you will need to refill it often.  I did not really measure the amount of white vinegar I more or less just made a mixture of ¾ water to ¼ vinegar. (Really who has time to actually measure out an amount? That would be too much like cooking!)   I strongly suggest a plastic scraper especially if your walls are not smooth to begin with like my old plaster type walls. Plaster walls have dips and grooves and a plastic scraper gives way to them unlike a metal scraper which may gouge the walls.  Definitely use a Paper Tiger to score the paper before you start, this helps the mixture get under the first layer of vinyl and then again under the paper left behind.  The wetter the paper was the easier it was to scrape off so do not give it too much of a chance to dry as you move along the wall and in some spots you may have to spray a bit more. 
So in closing, you now know what wallpaper has to do with a dog blog. I would still use washable wallpaper in my next home but might look specifically for one that peels off easily in one piece!  Next step, I need to get someone to do the sanding before I repaint the walls!  
 Dog Drool, yeah, it’s worth the extra effort!

1 comment:

  1. was just told that equal parts fabric softener and warm water also work! Probabably smell better too!