Gas station without pumps

2018 September 15

Kitchen repainted

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 12:16
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As I mentioned in Wallpaper removal, my son and I removed the ugly wallpaper from the kitchen (put up before I bought the house 31 years ago, and apparently before the kitchen cabinets were installed, so probably in the 1970s).

We have now finished repainting the kitchen, and it looks a little nicer.  The kitchen does still need a remodel, as there is too little counter space (and that chipped Formica), the shelving in the pantry is too deep, and the cabinets are a dark wood that does not appeal to my wife. But at least the ugly wallpaper is gone.

After we removed the wallpaper and scrubbed the walls to remove all the paste, we removed all the wall anchors (except one for the clock) and used some patching plaster to fill all the screw holes in the plaster. After sanding the walls lightly, we put blue tape around all the edges—there were a lot of edges with 4 doorways, countertop, cabinets, soffit, window, and tile baseboard to mask.

We then primed the walls with some leftover elastomeric primer (Kelly Moore Seal Terpolymer) that we had used on the kitchen ceiling to seal hairline cracks in the plaster.  The elastomeric polymer takes a long time to dry for a primer, but provides a thick, tough layer that should prevent any hairline cracks in the plaster from propagating through the paint layer.  There were two visible cracks in the plaster at two of the doorways before priming, but after priming and painting only a tiny bit of one of the cracks is barely visible—and then only when viewed at an angle.

We finished with two coats of Sherwin Williams Emerald semi-gloss latex.  After we had painted a few square feet of one corner with two test colors that my wife had selected from paint chips, my son and I both preferred a pale blue (6750 Waterfall R=192 G=227 B=220), but my wife preferred a greyer, greener blue (6463 Breaktime R=195 G=219 B=208)—she found Waterfall “too cheerful”.  [The RGB color information is from The label on the Breaktime can claims that the colorants are 3 parts G2 (New Green), 6 parts N1 (Raw Umber), and 1 part Y3 (Deep Gold).]

I was willing to go with my wife’s choice, as she spends the most time in the kitchen, but she offered to play Yahtzee to choose the color. My son and I thought that this was a very generous offer, as we had about a 2/3 chance of getting our choice. For once, though, my wife was lucky with her dice rolls and won the Yahtzee game, so we went with Breaktime.

Sherwin-Williams claims that Emerald paint has a coverage of 350–400 square feet/gallon, and we had about 78 square feet to cover, but one quart was just barely enough for two coats.  Perhaps we were putting it on a bit thinner than they suggest? This is a bit surprising, as we were using a mini-roller with a 1/2″ nap, rather than the suggested 3/8″ nap, so the paint should have been going on thicker. Perhaps we were not charging the roller with enough paint?

This was our first time using a mini-roller—many of the small pieces of wall were too small for a full-size roller.  The mini-roller did allow us to get closer to the edges than a full-size roller, so we were able to remove all the brush marks from the cutting-in.

When my son and I were done, my wife did a little touch-up around the edges with a fine-tip artists brush as our taping and tape removal did result in a few small spots where the original color showed at the edges.

The painting took less time than the wallpaper removal—even with the primer and 2 coats, though the work in both cases was spread over several days.

2018 September 4

Wallpaper removal

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:12
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Earlier this summer, my son started removing the wallpaper in our kitchen (put up by some previous owner, so at least 33 years old). My wife has disliked the wallpaper since we moved in, but we’ve always been a little afraid of how much work it would be to remove.

He started out using a sponge and a scraper, but that was going very slowly, and I feared that we would end up having half-wallpapered walls when he went back to college, so I bought a wallpaper steamer (Wagner 715 Steamer model #1283132) and a wallpaper scoring tool.  I was originally planning to order them from Amazon, but for some reason Amazon claimed that they could not ship to my address, so I ended up ordering from Lowe’s instead (the price was within pennies).

The steamer is a bit of a pain to use, as it consists of a box of boiling water, a long hose, and plastic plate for directing the steam.  There is no shut-off valve and the hose is a bit stiff, so any time you put the steam plate down it blows steam and hot water all over.  Luckily, we have a ceramic tile floor in our kitchen, so we could put the steam plate on the floor when not using it, without risking damage to the floor. The ceramic floor also helped with picking up and mopping up all the wet, gluey mess that resulted from the wallpaper removal.  I’d hate to have to remove wallpaper over a carpet or hardwood floor.

The steamer takes about 15–20 minutes before the water comes to a boil and steam starts coming out the hose, but once it starts steaming, it works pretty well at removing wallpaper.  We managed to remove about 10 square feet of wallpaper an hour—it would have been faster if the we had large flat areas to work with, rather than having to work around doors and kitchen cabinets.  Ten square feet an hour may not be fast, but it was at least four times faster than the sponge and scraper technique my son started with.

The steamer also helped in doing glue removal after getting the wallpaper off, as it saturated the glue with water very quickly.  In a few places the steam got behind the latex paint under the wallpaper, and the paint peeled off the wall also.

The wallpaper was behind the kitchen cabinets, which look like they were installed in the late 1960s or early 1970s, so the wallpaper was probably about 40 years old.  Removing the wallpaper bits that were wedged under the cabinet edges contributed to the slowness of the wallpaper removal.

One rather strange thing happened after we remove one section of wallpaper—when we turned off the LED kitchen lights, they didn’t shut off completely, but blinked at about 1 Hz, with about a 20% duty cycle.  It did not matter which of the two switches we tried to turn off the lights with. If either switch was put in the unstable position halfway between the two stable positions, then the lights would go off.  Our conjecture was that there was some water or wallpaper glue on the outside of the light switch, providing a high-resistance path between the two contacts on one side of the switch.  The idea was that the power supply for the LEDs was seriously underpowered and slowly charged up its capacitor until the under-voltage protection circuit allowed the current through to the LEDs.  The LEDs then discharged the capacitor until the voltage dropped below the under-voltage threshold and the power supply turned off the current again.

We looked at the switch and it looked clean and dry, but we were convinced enough of our diagnosis that we replaced the switch (I happened to have a spare in the garage).  Sure enough, when we removed the switch, dirty water dripped out of it.  With the new, dry switch the LED lights worked normally.

Our next step is to scrub the walls (removing some loose paint), use spackle or joint compound to fill holes in the plaster and smooth out a few places, sand the walls, reprime, and paint. Although we have some TSP (trisodium phosphate) in the garage, we are not planning to use it on the walls, as rinsing it all off may be difficult and the primer manufacturer warns against having any TSP under the primer.  We’ve not decided whether to use a TSP substitute or just clean the walls with ammonia and water, relying on sandpaper to degloss any paint that is there.

We picked up a bunch of paint chips from the Sherwin-Williams paint store, and my wife has narrowed down the colors to two, both slightly greenish blues.  (I’d prefer a purer light blue, but she spends more time in the kitchen than anyone else, so her preferences matter most.)

I’m hoping that we can get most of the wall prep done in the next week, so that we can get the painting done before my son goes back to college in 2½ weeks.


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