Removing wallpaper is a home improvement project that seems challenging. However, with the right tools and a little know-how, it’s a task that almost anybody can complete. Here’s everything you need to know about removing old wallpaper using either water, solvents or steam.
What you’ll need
No matter which method you use to remove your wallpaper, you’ll need a few tools. These include:
• A wallpaper scorer to perforate the paper and allow the solvent, water or steam through.
• A scraper to separate the wallpaper from the wall.
• A spray bottle to apply solvents and water.
• A steamer, which can be rented or purchased. You can also use a clothes steamer.
How to do it
Gather your supplies and get to work. You’ll need to do the following:
• Prep the area. Cover anything you don’t want damaged by moisture, like your floors, baseboards, light fixtures and plugs.
• Peel off the facing. If the wall¬paper is coated in vinyl or plastic, start by peeling it off, if possible.
• Perforate the wallpaper. Using your wall¬paper scorer, make holes all over the surface of the paper.
If you’re using a commercial solvent (wall¬paper stripper) or water, do this next:
• Moisten a section. Spray the surface liberally with the liquid. Allow it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Scrape the wallpaper. Using your scraper, carefully separate the wallpaper from the wall.
If you’re using a steamer, you’ll need to do this:
• Turn on the machine. Wait for the water to boil.
• Apply the steam. Start with a corner close to the ceiling.
• Peel off the wallpaper. As you apply the steam, use your other hand to pull the paper away from the wall.
No matter what method you use, you’re bound to be left with a few stubborn patches that won’t come off. Using solvent, scrub any remaining bits of glue or backing from the wall. Once it’s dry, prepare it for a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper.
4 easy ways to revitalize your home for spring
Spring is the perfect time to refresh your home. Here are some easy ways to perk up any room in your house.
1. Add a bright rug. A cheerful print will infuse new life into the surrounding space. Just be sure that it’s large enough for all the furniture in the area to rest on it.
2. Change your linens. Curtains, bedding and towels can make a big difference in the look of a room. Swap out what you have now for bright prints and cheery colors.
3. Get some greenery. Plants are the perfect design accent. If you don’t have a green thumb, mimic the look with artificial flowers or plants.
4. Refresh your walls. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders. Whether you choose a fun new color or stick to neutrals, your home will feel brand new.
Updating your home doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. If you’re on a budget, try simply rearranging your furniture or moving some of your decor around. The space will feel new and it won’t cost you a thing.
March can be a busy time for the determined gardener
Weather in March is so unpredictable. It may say Spring on the calendar, but the weather rarely cooperates completely.
In Zones 8 and higher, the average dates of the last killing frost occur throughout March. Zone 7 gardeners must beware of frost throughout April.
Make the repairs to fences and arbors now so they will be ready when the weather settles down. Clean out bird houses, if you dare. Watch out for wintering mice.
March is the perfect time for starting summer blooming seedlings indoors. By now, seed packets are available everywhere. It usually takes about six weeks for seeds to become strong enough for plants to be set outside in pots or a garden.
Some vegetables can be planted right now in Zones 7-8, but start later in more northern climes.
Vegetable seeds may be started in prepared starter pots made of compressed peat and filled with a proper soil mixture.
It’s a good time to test the ph of your garden soil. You can add whatever you need as soon as the soil is dry; not wet and clumpy.
Some pruning this month
Roses, in particular, can be pruned and fed this month. Cut roses back sharply for more compact bushes and long, slender stems. Cut honeysuckle vines back to three feet. Prune the fruit trees before the buds appear.
Trees and shrubs
You can still fertilize trees and shrubs. Acid types go with azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens, and conifers.
Talking to the animals might be possible
Your dog comes to you every night at 7 p.m., looks searchingly into your eyes, and gives a soft bark.
After years with you, the dog knows the drill: It’s dinner time. I’m hungry! Feed me now!
That’s animal/human communication at its most basic level. But what if the dog could say, “I hurt.”
Would you see the vet earlier?
A startup called Zoolingua is using Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technologies to help translate dog talk, and much more.
The company wants to enhance understanding of farm animals through language. If chicken sounds could be collected and interpreted, a farmer might know early on if his chickens were distressed. In fact, that’s happened. A machine model has proved capable of detecting emotional changes in birds with accuracy.
In Central Africa, a Silicon Valley company, Conservation Metrics, has collected 900,000 hours of recordings of elephant vocalizations, according to Synced Review. Researchers have been able to pick out all sorts of daily vocalizations, like simple greetings. Such learning may prove helpful in ending poaching or simply preserving habitat for species.
For our own pets, we may well understand patterns of volume, frequency, or tone. We know when they are telling us something and they probably aren’t quoting Shakespeare. Doubters for this kind of research say animal languages just aren’t that deep and human languages might not be the right way to translate them.
3 springtime home improvement projects
Are you thinking about updating your home this spring? If so, these three projects are perfectly suited to the season.
1. Upgrade the landscaping. Spring is the perfect time to upgrade flower beds and walkways or even install a pool or hot tub. Your garden will have time to grow in and you’ll be able to enjoy your new outdoor space all summer long.
2. Rebuild or refinish the deck. If your deck has seen better days, this is the ideal time to repair or rebuild it. Consider expanding it to create zones for eating, cooking and relaxing.
3. Replace the siding. If your siding took a beating over the winter, now’s the right time to replace it. Choose a quality product and consider using a more modern color. Cool tones like gray, blue and green have been popular in recent years.
Spring is the best time of year tackle most outdoor projects. Just be sure to get to them before the hotter weather arrives.
Unless you are moving in with penguins, it is time to think about termites
There’s only one place on earth that no one ever has to worry about termites: Antarctica.
Termites don’t like the frozen frontiers, and really they don’t like cold at all, but they manage to make do anyway.
In North America, every single state and province can have termites, though the risk is lower the farther north you go and greater in the south. Of the three major types of North American termites, only one, the subterranean termite, has not been found in Alaska.
Wherever there is wood, there can be termites. That includes homes with brick foundations, manufactured homes, and even the woodpile outside.
Inside the home, the pest can hide its evil work until the damage is severe.
Three common types of termites leave different clues:
Drywood termites prefer warm and moist tropical areas. They leave piles of powder or pellets where they burrow. They can also cause wood to take on a bubbled appearance by tunneling close to the surface. From Florida to California, along all coastal areas, drywood termites can structurally weaken a home. You might notice swarms of winged insects in wooded areas. After these adult termites have mated, they shed their wings. You might notice discarded wings near windows or caught in spider webs.
Subterranean termites are the most destructive termite. Homeowners might notice swarms in spring when groups of termites go off to start new colonies. Once established, they live underground in enormous colonies, building mud tubes, tunnels they use to reach food sources like your joists. They can literally collapse a home entirely, according to PestWorld.org. In 2018, the National Pest Management Association built a tiny model home, exactly to specifications of a real home. Then it put a colony of subterranean termites in the group around the model home. In 50 days, the house was collapsed. In the U.S., termites cause $5 billion in damage every year.
Dampwood termites need very specialized warm, moist environments, according to the University of Florida. They are found in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These pets especially need sources of water and are attracted to wood exposed to rainfall or even sprinkler irrigation — qualities also desired by the subterranean termite. These termites can even infest living trees.
What you can do to protect against termites
Termite damage is not always covered under homeowner’s insurance so it’s essential to get periodic inspections and treatment.
In addition, here are some key ways to prevent infestations of all termite types, according to Spears Environmental, Inc.:
– Keep home foundations dry: Don’t regularly spray water on foundations. Slope gutters so that they drain away from the house.
– Be careful with mulch. Don’t mulch around foundations. Keep wood mulch as far away as possible from the house.
– Remove scrap wood and wooden debris. Quickly dispose of fallen branches.
– Avoid landscape timbers or railroad ties as edging around your house. Metal, plastic or brick edging is best for plantings.
– Build decks and stairs on concrete pads. Regularly treat around posts and pads.
– Cut clinging vines so they do not grow on the wall of the house. Termites love these.
– Keep crawl spaces as dry as possible and sealed, if feasible.
Folk songs left behind as culture moves on
Chances are kids will never learn — or even hear — American folk songs unless parents teach them.
Folks songs often detail the origins of the American experience:
“I’ve been working on the railroad”
“Oh My Darling Clementine”
“Michael, Row the Boat Ashore”
“This Land Is Your Land”
Although these songs are widely available on recordings, schools, with declining musical offerings, don’t use many any more.
In 2003, University of Florida doctoral student Marilyn Ward discovered in her thesis work that American folk songs were already gone from school curriculum and precious few teachers wanted them back.
When Ward surveyed music teachers about the songs, she encountered frequent objections.
Among the objections:
* Multicultural curriculums don’t include American culture.
* Low socio-economic schools need to teach pop songs.
* Folk songs might have racist backgrounds.
* Some songs have a Christian basis.
Although the songs like “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” notably did have verses tied to racist minstrel shows, these verses were typically not taught in public schools.
Other songs, like “Wade in the Water,” were Christian gospel songs with a secret message: How slaves could escape dog tracking.
Christmas carols typically are not taught in school curriculum because of modern constitutional issues. Churches might keep these alive and, in fact, churches have produced many musicians and singers popular in today’s music scene. Still, church attendance is declining, according to recent research from Pew.
Musical instruction itself is often lagging in public education as support for all arts decreases. In 2015, the US Department of Education found that 40 percent of high schools don’t require any coursework in the arts for graduation. In 2010, more than 8,000 public schools were without any music programs. About 1.3 million elementary school students didn’t have access to learning music.