I’ve finished stripping and getting plastered for the moment… renovating the small bed room downstairs that is! (Now what did you think I meant??)
I couldn’t wait to get started – that wallpaper was dreadful…
– so it was with pleasure that I first dry-stripped the paper – tearing off whatever came off easily.
My method is to find an edge that is lifting and slip in a medium scraper, keeping it as flat as possible against the wall, working my way underneath in a back and forth motion while avoiding any gouging of the plaster (it only creates more work later).
I multi-tasked and started preparing the ceiling as I worked around the room.
Then I grab a bucket of hot water – as hot as my hands can stand – and a large sponge (I find this manual method perfectly satisfactory and have never used a steamer although I guess the advantage would be that you wouldn’t end up with soaking wet sleeves like I always do!)
With the sponge good and wet but not dripping madly, I run it over a section of paper, starting at the top corner of one wall. I re-wet and repeat, working my way over an increasing larger area.
When the initial area starts to come away as I wipe, it’s time to start scraping.
Using a similar scraping method as before, I begin to remove the paper. I was lucky, and large sections came away easily. (I’m sure it helped that there was only one layer of paper… not like the lounge room!)
I continue around the walls, working from top to bottom, always pre-wetting the next section to allow soaking time before scraping.
Then it’s time to wash down the walls… in Australia we would use Sugar Soap – here in France the equivalent is Oxydrine. I use a ratio of about 1 to 10. 1 part powder to 10 parts hot water in a bucket.
Dip the sponge, squeeze off the excess (I use a mop bucket with a squeezing well which makes it easier) and sponge onto the wall, wiping with gusto and following with a scrubbing brush. The idea is to get rid of any adhesive left on the wall as well as any random pieces of paper left behind.
I change the solution when it becomes soiled.
After leaving to dry for half a day I return to sponge clean. To save changing the water too frequently, I like to use a second bucket: cleaning the sponge in one and squeezing it out before dipping back in the cleaner water.
Another half day drying time before filling holes and cracks with Enduit de Rebouchage (like Polyfilla)…
– scraping away any loose material and dusting out the crevice before filling. Once that’s dry (at least 2 hours), I finish off with a thin layer of Enduit de Lissage wherever needed.
Yet another half day (6 hours) before sanding.
Preparation is the key so they say!
Tony usually does the sanding, but as he was busy stripping wallpaper in the shower room (vinyl wallpaper, needing the top layer scraped off with a sharp blade before the backing paper could be soaked off) I set myself up with the electric sander. (Ok I’ll admit it, he set me up with the sander!)
OH&S precautions drove me mad – hooking the sander up to the vacuum cleaner – the makeshift hose breaking and having to re-attach it (not to mention blowing a circuit after just a few minutes work) – wearing dust mask, ear muffs and goggles (I kept fogging them up and just couldn’t manage with my glasses on as well so had to work by feel most of the time!)
The ceiling was particularly difficult and tiring: trying to keep the heavy sander perfectly level above my head height. But it came up really well after being in such a bad state to start with, so I was proud of my work.
And now that it’s had a couple of coats of paint it’s really coming along.