Wall of Goo

When I removed the 60-year old drywall last fall, I was rewarded with a couple more inches of space and some very dirty painted brick. Even the interior walls in this joint are made of brick. We tried sandblasting the paint and gave up without finishing the room where we started. I decided that repainting the brick was the way to go, but I also knew that solution was not going to work everywhere. Namely in the kitchen. Recall this little corner of horrors.

The paint is in very poor condition in this area. This is where the stove and part of the counter will be located and as such will be the ideal paint chip consumption delivery system. So the paint has to be removed. I looked into options and found that chemical strippers or heat ‘n’ scrape were my two best options. I settled on a chemical stripper called Peel Away. You spread the paste on like cake frosting and cover the paste in a special paper for 24+ hours. Theoretically, when you peel off the paper the goo and the dissolved paint come with it in one gooey sheet. I did a test patch and things looked promising.



I tried a larger area, and it also looked ok. Turns out there is whitewash under them layers of paint and whitewash appears to be unmoved by the goo. Surprising since they are both alkaline substances. If I paid more attention in chemistry class I might be able to explain this, but alas.

The test patch below and the larger area above.


Then I tried the rest of the area on the adjacent wall. Most of the goo came off in one go, but what was stuck-on refused to budge without the help of a wire scrub brush and a lot of elbow grease. The problem was that there was red paint under there. Partially liquified red paint + water + scrub brush = bloody mess. Seriously, it looked like the killing floor of an abattoir in there. Here is the before and after shots.

The dissolved paint shows through the paper.

This is the cleaned-up version.It represents about 12 hours of work.

Here is the slate mantel in most of its former glory.

So the lesson here is what? Don’t remove paint? No, that can’t be it. How about: things are never as simple as the instructions make them out to be.

Here are some bonus shots of the beginning of what very well may be kitchen cabinets!

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1 Response to Wall of Goo

  1. Maggie says:

    The cabinets going in makes it looks more like a house and less like a construction zone : )

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