Wonderful Wallpaper

After the floors came up, the walls had to come down (anyone else think of that song?) In preparation of the wallpaper removal, the baseboards had to come out since the wallpaper went behind them. This will make it easier to paint everything too. Welcome back, Wonderbar!

I took a tip from the floor guy and labeled all of the pieces so that we can easy put them back where they belong. You can see that really beautiful wallpaper in the background.

After removing all the baseboards, light switch covers (these were also covered in wallpaper by the way) and outlet covers, we were ready to rip. I read up on wallpaper removal and had asked several people about their experiences. I rented a steamer and prepared for the worst. As it turned out, we had the easiest wallpaper removal on the planet. Here's Jordan ripping down a piece of full width, floor to ceiling section in one big pull. (Sorry, I tried to get this video off my cell phone, but it didn't work. Imagine Jordan pulling down a large strip of paper, followed by him going "ARGHHH) as it falls on top of him. Good times.)

After that, we were left with all the glue on the walls. We tried using the steamer here and found that it was a long, wet and sticky process. Jordan actually spent 5 hours doing the hall this way until I brought over a couple of spray bottles I picked up. New process: spray with warm water, wait a few minutes, scrape off glue, wash walls with scrub sponge (got any remaining tricky spots), wash walls with clean water and big sponge. Here you see the process and the final scrape. That bucket is full of the glue.

And there you have it. We ended up not even needing the steamer at all and saved ourselves couple of bucks. It took 3 nights because of the amount of wallpaper that came down. We also were helped out by Tom and Sue (she ran a very tidy clean up for us) and my little sister, Bri. Next step, spackle, prime and paint!


Two short weeks..

Sorry, I haven't been good about making updates here. We've been working on the house almost every night till around 11, then driving back to MPLS. I've just been too tired for posts, but I'm feeling good now so here's a doozy!

Let's start back at what happens after we pulled the carpet out of the house. In the one room (soon to be the craft room/office), we were left with some beautiful wood floors surrounded by a tack strip. This is what holds the carpet down. With the help of a my hammer and a Wonderbar (Only the absolute greatest tool ever invented! Seriously, I've used it for pretty much everything!), I pried up all of the tack strip. See how it's done.

That was by far the easiest room. After taking off the doors to the closet and the room, it's ready for refinishing. The rest of the house wasn't so easy. The rest of the rooms on the main floor had carpet (new, but ugly) except the kitchen which had the most God awful yellowish (not sure if it started out this color) linoleum. All of it had to go. Pulling the carpet was an easy task. We just started in one corner and pulled. Since it's new carpet, we rolled it nicely and taped it up in the hopes of someone taking it off our hands via Craigslist. I tried to get a charity to take it since it's new, but they were uninterested. I kept some of it and put it in my laundry room. This instantly made it feel nicer in there.

Back to the floors. What was under the carpet/linoleum was a second subfloor. They put this in when a house has real wood floors and carpeting so that the carpet will be at the same level as the wood floor. If you layed the carpet on the first sub floor like the wood is, the carpet would be a bout 3/4" lower than the wood floors. This second sub floor all had to go for the new hard wood to be layed down. Our floor guy told us how to start. Get a circular saw and cut a square out of the middle of oone of the sub floor sections, then pry it up (hello Wonderbar!).

Doesn't sound too bad, right? Well it wasn't hard really, just SUPER time consuming. The first piece was the hardest since we were prying it out by the middle. After that we pryed from the edges. We often had to cut the floor pieces in half to make this easier. Here we are getting down and dirty with the floor. (p.s. Without the help of my in-laws, we may still be at this step! Thanks Tom and Sue!!!!)

Sometimes pieces came up nicely, other times not so much. There were a zillion big nails holding it all in place. Sometimes they came out with the floor. Sometimes they didn't and the old Wonderbar had to pry them out after the floor was out.

While Jordan was working on the prying, I started in on getting that linoleum up. thanks to my dad, we had the perfect tool. It was basically a scraper on the end of a stick. I used this tool a few years ago when we put in a new kitchen floor for my parent's. It was kind of fun.

Since the kitchen cabinets were installed on top of the second sub floor, we had to rent a toe kick saw. This is made for cutting right along the edge of cabinets. Jordan was a champ and did a really great job. I had to show everyone how manly he felt using it! (All those specks are from the insane amount of saw dust kicked up from the saw.)

All of this took just a couple of days, but they were definitely long ones. Sue Roske was a champion cleaner upper after everyone. See?

Underneath all that extra sub floor was a layer of thick paper. This also had to come up, but not till the wallpaper came down...


A new project

So, we are finally home owners!  The house we bought was built in 1968 and looks it.  The previous owners had some questionable taste, especially in wallpaper.

Exhibit A: (and yes, that's fuzzy and the old owner had coordinating bath accesories and towels)

Exhibit B: (yup, those are weird muti-tan geometric shapes)

Exhibit C: (Ok, this is in the master bath and I like this one)

Despite the wallpaper (and their choice to cover hardwood floors with carpeting) the house has great bones.  The first thing we're going to do is use our tax credit and put in hardwood floors throughout the entire main floor (currently only 2 bedrooms have it).  We bought the house on Thursday and on Friday we started tearing into it.  The first thing to go was the nasty carpet in what will be my office/craft room.  The rest of the house actually had new carpet, just not that room.  Jordan and I were closing the windows for the night to head back into the city when I decided the room smelled gross.  I poked at the corner of the carpet and before Jordan even got back from the windows the carpet was out!  Grosser than the carpet was the old pad underneath.  My hands stunk for the next hour even after being washed.

I'm going to try and be good about posting up our progress, so stayed tuned for what happened after the carpet was out...