Paper plus rats. No, not paper rats, rats and paper. It’s summer holidays for those attending school in the UK, which means my husband has two weeks of… ahem “free time.” Aside from being that person who will be voted most likely to finish his summer homework the night before classes start again, he’s weekend warrior-ing projects around the house.
Primarily, getting the fugliest (typo intentional) paper that was ever slapped onto a wall… well, off of the wall. It is, well, it’s dated; like the 1800s called and wanted its paper back, dated. It needs to go and the landlady was very happy to allow us to do it, so long as we painted with neutral colours. No problems. In principle, it’s basic.
But this is wallpaper we’re talking about and anyone who has ever needed to take the stuff off would know that there is a mighty big trench between the saying and the doing of the process. Note, in the picture above, that was how the paper looked before we started. the chunk was missing when we moved in. You know, for added class and sophistication.
To be fair, this would be the second room he’s tackled. The first was shortly after we moved in, before his classes started at the university and he had time and dreams and had no idea just how much effort really went into taking down wallpaper on one’s own. Shortly before Christmas he did that room, and I had an absolute meltdown (poor fellow never saw it coming) when he was tempted to leave the job half finished. So whipping him along the way, that first room was done in time for our first holiday at our own place… but the result was a lack of energy and time to do any of the rest. Which takes us to today and the whole point of the post.
The paper is foul. Most wallpaper is. One side is pretty water resistant, and in our case half-textured by this foam detailing. Our only saving grace is that it was put up poorly, complete with seams peeling up and air bubbles in the middle. Also with old paper behind it which is less helpful, but I digress. Without these flaws in the original application, we wouldn’t be getting very far.
My husband managed to clear 3/4 of a wall on his own of the textured outer layer of the paper, but that left the job of getting the glued-down half up. Which, in fairness, he did get the lower half of the wall for that part done. Our walls had a “nifty” striping affect but, whatever, it was progress. Anyway, today we opted to take the job he was doing solo and make it into a duo/trio (the 1 and a half year old was “helping”). The tag-team approach helped to clear in a quarter of the time the rest of the wall plus almost 1.5 of the others. With one wall thankfully wallpaper free from the start, we have about 1/5th of the way left to go (also: yay for fractions). At least for removing the crap wallpaper.
After this comes the filling of holes, the cleaning the remaining glue off, then the priming/painting. If we’re smart about this, we’ll get the paper taking down together and then he can paint at his leisure. Are we that smart? Debatable, but we’ll see.
The room I am dreading the most, so far, is the master bedroom, if only because the part of the wall where the paper has come down already shows signs of needing re-plastering. That’ll be a messy job and messy equals time we may not have. Given time and progress, my concerns may end up being focused on a different room. For now, though, that’s where it is at.
As for the rats, well another one probably bit the dust about a week ago and things have been quiet ever since. The smell hasn’t been as horrendous as I initially expected it to be. It never progressed past the slightly vinegar-stink stage. And I’m grateful. We did spend an extra £20 to have someone from the council come out and take a look; they’ll be coming back in the next few weeks to see how things have changed/improved. We’re required as tenants to deal with any infestations, but it is the landlady’s responsibility to prevent them from getting in, so we’re still in the process of getting her to send someone around to deal with that aspect. But, on a whole, we’ve sussed and sorted the thing. Today, for a fact, I will be personally shoving some steel wool down into the most obvious openings in the hopes that will at the least give the rodents room for pause before making a new way to get in.