Thursday, May 31, 2007

The bleeding walls of DOOM

One thing that's making scrubbing the walls a little extra interesting and creepy, is that in places where the glossy white paint has chipped off, the paint underneath is completely water soluble. I've never seen anything like it.. we've got green and we've got red, and if it gets the slightest bit wet it just comes right up.

I finally figured out that although scrubbing it with a brush makes a giant mess, it sticks pretty well to a sponge.. The sponge gets quite gorey and mostly disintegrates after a few minutes, but eventually the paint comes entirely up. It seems to be painted right on the plaster, so I'm concerned that it's some sort of sealant or protectant. Of course, running right off at the touch of a drop of water doesn't make for a very effective sealant.. so I'm more curious than worried.

Plus, it's a great horror scene mid-cleaning:

Before
Here you can see some nice detail on the rat tracks at the top of the baseboard. And then the rat tracks tinged with red where their little dirty feet trailed through the red paint

During
My personal favorite.. nice and dramatic!

After
Clean enough to eat off?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not think I would eat off of anything that was originally in the house -- only new stuff or what you bring from your other house. Mom

Anonymous said...

With all the interesting thins you are finding there, who knows, maybe you'll find some real buried treasure -- other than rats.

Kitt said...

Mom, my mom would have had a heart attack several times over by now.

That's some pretty gruesome paint there. Not to mention the rat tracks.

Ragnar said...

I don't know if you'll ever find a post that old, but anyway... I'm pretty sure what you got under the white paint. It's distemper, a water based paint still very common in many European countries. Basically it consists of cellulose glue (i.e. classic wall paper paste), powdered clay and chalk. I think for intense color they left out the clay and chalk. I love that stuff, since should it ever start to chip off (as oil-based or latex paint will inevitably do too after a few centuries) it comes off fairly easily. For not having to use either chemical strippers or weeks of dry scraping I definitely take scraping distemper every time I repaint (and that's not that often...)
Most people will say distemper is not suitable for bathrooms, kitchens and other rooms prone to get moist, but I can sa from experience that unless you really get condensation on the walls it's great. Any area prone to get splashed directly should get a different treatment of course...

One thing though... it should rather not be used on drywall since you might destroy the paper facing scraping the distemper. OTOH it adheres very very well in the only spot I had this, so maybe it's not even a problem after all.

irene said...

Thanks for the info Ragnar!

I'm in total agreement that as far as removal goes, 5 minutes with a sponge is infinitely better than days with scrapers and/or chemicals.

And the color is incredibly vivid. Both the red and the green we had were colors I would love to have in the house..