Laurel's Adventures in Home Repair
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The Horrible Man Cave Pages 1 - 2 - 3

This room could also be called the den or recreational room, located in the lower level of the house.  The area measures approximately 14" x 25" and like the rest of the house, it was stuck in the 70's with...oh yea...wait for it...the dreaded dark wood panels.

For years there was nothing in this room. We used it primarily as a room to place the dogs when we went to work.  The backyard door is in this room with a doggie door. A wrought iron gate across the third stair kept our dogs downstairs until...one of them ripped the gate out of the wall....and tore out the carpeting on the bottom stairs....and mangled the door frame for the laundry room, etc.

A few years after we moved in, my husband claimed it as his room.  Ladies, you know what this means. 

In 2011 my husband left town for a few months for work.  The room was now in my control!  It was now mine to do with what I wanted!  The other reason I wanted to update this room first was to increase the desirability of this house, in case we ever decided to sell it.  Most women would have taken one look at this room and ran out of the house in horror.

View of the downstairs den from the stairs prior to working on the walls.  I moved the furniture away from the walls, removed all of the wall fixtures and moulding.  The white haze on the left wall is wallpaper primer.

The first thing to tackle was the walls

Remove the panels and replace with fresh drywall?  I was hesitant to do this.  On the other side of the wall facing the inside of the house (left in photo) is the crawl space underneath the house which is not finished.  Frankly I was afraid to tear off the paneling not knowing what was on the other side. I was really glad I decided not to do this a couple years later.

Paint the panels? Again, I dreaded doing this. Many years ago I painted the dark panel wainscot in the kitchen. It took 2 coats of primer and then 2 coats of white latex paint to cover it completely.

What I did come across about a year before taking on this project was a textured wallpaper that claimed to be able to cover paneling and other uneven walls.  So I decided to try this out and purchased enough to paper this room.
 
The wallpaper I purchased is called Wall Doctor which is made by Graham & Brown. The pattern I bought was the paintable beadboard pattern.  When I purchased this paper, I got the un-pasted. Graham & Brown now has pre-pasted.  I also liked the idea of it being paintable.

I forgot the actual company I purchased the wallpaper from online. There are a few other websites that sell wallpaper from Graham & Brown and I was lucky to get it at a sale price at the time.

Lowe's here in El Paso also carries a beadboard patterned wallpaper. In El Paso, we have 2 choices for big box hardware stores. Lowe's and Home Depot.  The Home Depots here


Beardboard patterned wallpaper

do not carry wallpaper.  Lowe's is closer to my home, so that is where I go for most of my purchases.

The beardboard wallpaper at Lowe's is made by their Allen & Roth line which looks almost the same, except that the paper is thinner.  It also costs less.

I learned about the Lowe's textured wallpaper long after I bought the Wall Doctor. In retrospect, the thicker Wall Doctor was a better choice for my paneled walls because they were also damaged in places.  If you have a smoother surface, the thinner textured wallpaper at Lowe's should work just fine. I have used this for other projects.

I had never hung wallpaper before this project. So I Googled "how to" pages on the internet to make sure I purchased the supplies and tools I needed.  I read up on wallpaper hanging techniques and then ran to the hardware store to purchase what I did not have. The supplies needed for this job were:

- Wallpaper (bought online)
- Wallpaper primer
- Wallpaper paste (because I had un-pasted paper)
- Inexpensive paint brush for the primer and paste
- A smoother for the wallpaper
- A rag or sponge to wipe off excess paste
- A metal scrapper to scrape down high spots on the old panel.
- Ladder

Wallpaper primer was essential for my project. It went over any oils or "other" items on the wall so I did not have to scrub down the walls first.  Skipping this real fast step would just be silly.  The primer goes on easier than paint, you don't have to be neat, and it dries real fast.   The primer provides a nice smooth, slightly tacky surface to receive the wallpaper paste.  I primed as I went along the walls instead of priming the whole room first.  I used the same brush for both primer and paste washing it with water between uses.

Now I was ready to start hanging.

A few things I learned quickly when I started doing this:

1) Hanging long sheets of wallpaper is not easy to do until you get the "hang" of it (pun intended).   The paper is usually longer than you are, even with your arms holding it in the air.  It is not easy, if you are older, to climb a ladder with no hands to get the wallpaper on the wall.  The wallpaper likes to stick all over the place before you can get it to where you want it.

2) Put lots of paste on, I mean lather it on.  By the time you get around to putting paste on the end of the paper, the other end is starting to dry.  Also, having good wet paper allows you to slide the paper around on the wall to get it into place. Very critical for this type of textured wallpaper because you need to butt the edges together instead of overlapping the paper.  You need to slide the edge right next to the previous edge.  When you smooth out the wallpaper with your smoother, the excess paste will ooze out of the edges which you can wipe off with a damp rag.

3) You need a flat surface to slap on the paste.  See the platform bed frame in the photo above, yep, that was my flat surface since I intended to get rid of the frame after the job was done.  A piece of old plywood set up on a couple of work horses would also do the trick.

The wall after I put up 5 rows of wallpaper.  Remounted one register and an outlet cover. I needed to purchase a new intake register. The old one was brown and the paint pitted. Cheaper to buy a new register than the time it would take to sand and re-paint the old.
I had intended to start on the far left corner of the wall where the stair banister was, but this was the first piece I tried to hang and screwed it up horribly trying to cut around a light switch hole and stair and corner mouldings. So the next piece was just a simple cut and I got it up just fine. When I eventually got back to this part of the wall, I removed the wrought iron banister from the wall.

If you have any high spots on your surface you will have to flatten them.  Where nails had been pulled out of the panel, I had dimpled high spots. High spots will show up on the paper like a neon light.  On the other hand, dents will not show up.  You do not need to fill holes or the indentation in the panels when using this type of wallpaper.

I also planned to place moulding at the top and bottom of the walls so my edges at the top and bottom were not always perfectly even. It also let me skimp a little on the length of the wallpaper rows.  1 or 2 inches can make a difference over the length of the whole project.

The smoother I ended up using is pictured at right.  I had bought several to see which worked the best on this paper. This one worked great.  It was rigged enough to really press down hard and get out all of the excess paste and air bubbles. But the edges are smooth enough to not dig into the paper and tear it.

Smoothing tool

How does the whole room turn out?  Read on....

The Projects
HOME PAGE
Backsplash in Kitchen
Balcony
Bench - 2 x 4 Basics Flip-Top Bench Table
Brick Replacement and Brick Accent Painting
Ceiling Tiles
Closet Built from Scratch
Column Wraps for 4" x 8" Posts
Curb Appealing Street Numbers
Cut Paper Artwork - Kitchen
Door Knobs and Cabinet Pulls
Doors
Dry rotted wood beam repair and paint
Doggy door installed on wrought iron screen door - Repair of door
Duct Work
Faux Brick and Tile
- Stucco wall patio and backyard stairs
    using concrete patch

- Painted tile pool deck (Oklahoma)
Fire Place Hearth Shelves
Foundation Issues
Garage Facelift - Closet, etc
Gate From Hell
Horrible Man Cave (rec room) Total Renovation
House Entrance Renovation
How to fix holes in a wrought iron screen door and replace screen
How to Make Your Own Door
- Crawl Space Door
How to Winterize a Swamp (Evaporative) Cooler
Kitchen Counter Tops - Faux Granite
Kitchen Facelift
Kitchen Light Facelift
Laundry Room Cupboards
Main Bathroom Repair / Remodel
Master Bathroom Shower Area Stripped to the Studs
Oklahoma Home Facelift -- Aluminum Siding and Paint
OMG!  The sink was leaking the whole time we were away?
Raising the Roof - Garage Roof Replacement
Rock Wall Repair
Siding - Exterior
Solar Lighting Journey
Stair Door
Stairs to the Lower Level
Stencils - How to Make Your Own Stencils for Paint Projects
Storage Shed / Closet
Storm Shelter (Oklahoma)
Stucco Wall Repair and Paint
Swamp (Evaporative) Cooler Maintenance
Wrought Iron Facelift Outside
Weather Stripping (doors)
Why is My Swamp (Evaporative) Cooler Blowing Hot Air?