Some shortcuts that seem like a good idea at the time — like putting some new wallpaper over the old rather than taking it down first, or painting over wallpaper — can come back to haunt you. Unfortunately, in the case of our house, someone else’s dumb shortcuts are just haunting us.
The biggest nightmare in this house is the fact that almost every single wall in the house has been wallpapered several times, interspersed with layers of paint. You can see the wallpaper seams every 18 inches or so on every wall. Oh, and did I mention someone did the same thing on almost every ceiling? Ugh. This is why I was relieved when we needed to pull the kitchen ceiling down for the pipe rerouting.
I went through a few rooms tonight and tested to see how easy the paint+paper would come off. And much to my surprise, it came off down to the plaster in the stairway pretty easy, through all 3 layers of really ugly wallpaper. (The big question will be what condition the plaster surface will be in underneath. I’m guessing I”ll have to fill some holes and skim it out in places to get it even.)
At least the previous owner took down the wallpaper, paint and painted the living room. So that’s one less room to worry about and make a giant mess in. We can paint the living room soon and start to settle our stuff in there in a few weeks while we keeping working on the other rooms.
I’m still toying with the idea of drywalling over everything, or at least the ceilings. But what would that do for our house karma? Shouldn’t we be trying to undo as many shortcuts as possible? (One place we will be putting drywall in is over the popcorn ceiling in the living room that almost certainly has asbestos in it.)
The other mess I have to undo is in the kitchen floor. I’m going to try and refinish these kitchen floors myself before the cabinets go in. (If you come over one day and see tile in our kitchen, you’ll know that I turned out to be a massive failure at that one.)
The kitchen floor had linoleum on it when we bought it. The somewhat good news (if you can find some in a story that involves having crappy linoleum installed) is that the owner didn’t glue the linoleum directly to the hardwood floors. The bad news is that some sort of fiberboard was underneath for so long that it’s adhered itself to the floors. The good news is that the pine or oak (can’t tell at this point) floors are actually in pretty good shape. No real stain or varnish on them, just plain hardwood that’s really rough. Some good sanding should hopefully get ’em looking pretty good. Or at least that’s my hope.
I spent an hour or two tonight after work chipping away at the fiberboard adhered to the floor. I’m going to rent an edge sander and see if it how it works on areas without the fiber vs the areas that still have it. I think that the sander might take down the fiber as well. I’ve got a 3 or 4 foot section cleared out to test. I’m just hoping I don’t have to peel back the fiber in the entire kitchen, because that will take me a week.
But I tell myself that with every minute, I’m putting back some good karma into the 4 walls of this house of ours.
I tell myself that, but then again, I don’t believe in karma.