Drowning In Wallpaper


I'm pretty sure I have permanent neck damage. It happened when I decided it was time to take down the wallpaper in my daughter's bathroom. It wasn't bothering my daughter, but the water spots, on what used to be a lovely patterned paper, were just more than I could stand.

Removing wallpaper had never been a DIY job I really wanted to do. I had heard horror stories from friends. So before I committed to removal, I considered other options.

Painting over the old paper sounded easier. However, before painting I would have to make sure all loose paper was glued back onto the wall. Somehow I just couldn't see myself gluing the wallpaper back onto the wall that I wanted unglued.

Another option I considered, which by the way is my own original idea, was to saturate all the walls with water. My theory behind this brilliant plan was if all the wallpaper was stained, the old water spots wouldn't stick out and be ugly. I decided this untested experiment was too risky.

With no alternative plan, I decided to "woman up." It was time to take down the wallpaper.

I went to Home Depot and bought plastic drop cloths, wallpaper scrappers, a PaperTiger (this handy gadget puts little pin holes in the wallpaper) and a wallpaper removal product called DIF.

Things started out fine. I used the tiger to puncture the paper, I sprayed the DIF remover on and waited the suggested 15 to 20 minutes and then started scrapping. It was actually kind of fun; I thought I should be able to have this project finished in no time.

I was wrong. Once I had removed the wallpaper from all the easy-to-reach places, my fun project turned into an acrobatic act. I alternated between a step stool, a ladder and counter tops. I used my fingernails to scratch off the sticky gummy sections of paper that my scraper couldn't get to. My arthritic fingers were even more immobile glued together.

Removing the toilet tank was one of the highlights of my DIY project. I felt so "plumberish" when I figured out how to take the tank off the bowl to get to that wallpaper behind the commode. It was only after I put the toilet back together that I started to drown. I apparently had failed to use a washer with my screw, and when I turned the water to the tank back on it filled up and then flowed out onto the floor.

I was screaming for help as I tried to catch the water with a small cup I had in the bathroom. It took about 20 towels to get it all mopped up, but the bathroom floor was squeaky clean.

I finally finished and painted the walls a soft shade of white. It looks so much nicer I don't even mind cleaning the toilet.

OK, that's a lie.


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