Day 15: Strippin' Ain't Easy

On Friday after shopping, I stopped over at the house to see how my new heat gun worked. Turns out about as well as my hair dryer. So Saturday morning I headed back out to exchange it. A more expensive Milwaukee model later, and I'm in business. So I worked on stripping some lead paint while I waited for my other project to heat up.
It's hard to capture here just how thick the paint was on this wood - I'd guess at least 8-10 layers, with a thick varnish underneath that. I don't know if it's an OCD thing, but there's something very satisfying about tearing off that much paint. The last time I did this work was on Mom & Dad's old place in Midland, about 15 years ago. It was really easy to pick up again.
I'll have to go back and sand to get a smooth surface on which to paint, but I was happy it only took me about an hour to get this much done (2nd pic).
On Saturday I also picked up a wallpaper steamer to see about taking off some of the layers in the living room. This project I'm still not sure about. I was able to get the wallpaper off (at least 6 layers!!!), but I'm not sure about the condition of the plaster underneath. It's also very slow going. It took about 2-3 hours to expose the area shown in the first pic. In the area underneath the kitchen door, the plaster was in really bad shape. It was just being held together by the wallpaper. I ended up pulling down all the plaster on that section of wall. There had been a badly done patch in that wall at one point and it was caved in underneath the window pass-through.
So I'm going to put that project on hold until I can talk to Brad and the drywallers. For the cost of the rental ($25/day) and time put in (maybe 100 hours to do the rooms?), it may just be worth putting in new drywall. That makes me a little sad, but maybe that plaster has served it's 100 years and is ready to go. When I think about the character of the house, I think of the tall ceilings, wood floors, and great moldings. Some people might consider it a little sacreligious to take down the plaster, but with as many layers, and as in poor shape as it is, I'm worried it will be the really awful looking standout in an otherwise great looking house. Meh.

Pic1: corner molding on kitchen entry door
Pic 2: the whole door after first round with the heat gun.
Pic 3: Feel the burn - taking down wallpaper in the living room
Pic 4: Layers of wallpaper and plaster in the living room

What I learned: sometimes the more expensive option is the way to go, but it's usually worth trying the inexpensive option first. This applies to both heat guns and wallpaper removal.

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