A New Kind of Scraping

Having finished removing the wallpaper and stabilizing the plaster walls, plus rewiring a couple of bits if really scary electrical work, we were ready to remove some of the pinkness. Noel spent a couple of hours yesterday with heat gun and scraper, sliding this stuff right off the wall.

Section of scraped paint

We're pretty sure none of this paint has lead in it, if only because it's not the same colour as the paint that we know does have lead in it (lead, you see, was a pricey addition to the paint to improve adhesion, and nobody seems to have chosen the pricey upgrades on this house, ever). But we're being safe about it, anyway: respirator, ventilation, and containment. When we get done with gross scraping, we're going to sand the surface with a special sander with a collection bag.

Dinged-up woodwork

The wood's in pretty bad shape. Lots of gouges and scrapes, and in some places they seem to have "repaired" those by just sort of filling them in with paint. But we don't need it to be pretty. We just need it to not be PINK.

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posted by ayse on 01/28/08


It looks so much better without the pink! I've been following your blog like a junky since I discovered it last week, I've been making every effort to read it from the beginning. Husband and I are looking for a fixer upper, and I'm trying to see if we are nuts or not.

Welcome, Liza! Enjoy the rest of the blog. Here's some advice I gave a friend who was considering buying a fixer:

There are two kinds of fixers: the ones where you need refinish the surfaces in the house, but the structure is basically sound, and the ones where there's a lot of structural work to do.

Structural work (rewiring, replumbing, foundations, roofs) is both not very obvious to visitors ("Dude, check out our nice new toilet drain!") and very expensive. Renovating surfaces, however, is very gratifying, because doing something like stripping pink paint off a molding goes pretty fast and doesn't cost a lot, AND it's fairly obvious that you have done it.

So for my friend, the right thing for them to do was renovate a fairly sound house that was just kind of sad and old inside. For Noel and me, the right thing was to get a house that we could really sink our teeth into, where we needed to own hard hats and a sawall. We've had to get very good at doing more systemic stuff.

In addition to considering whether to get a fixer at all, you should think about what level of renovation you really want to do, and aim yourself at that so it stays fun.


Looking good! What are you using to lift the paint? chemical, heat gun?

You also mentioned stabilizing the plaster walls. How did you do this?

Love the site. Mind if I link you to my house blog?

Cheers -


Larry, we're using heat guns for the flat parts -- the paint in this room is latex, so that's more nasty than it sounds. Where the molding is curved I'm using Safest Stripper because I find that the scraping needed with the heat gun really messes up the wood.

For stabilizing the plaster, this post shows some of the methods I've been using. It's not a permanent fix for plaster this badly damaged, but it'll keep it from just sort of falling off on its own.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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