Saturday, June 22, 2013

Wallpaper mobile app (misery calculator)

It probably won't work if you are viewing through an RSS reader, so click on the title or go here.

If only I had this calculator before I started scraping!

PS: This is seriously what I do with my Saturday nights

EDIT: I removed the embedded calculator from the blog page, it was messing things up

Monday, June 17, 2013

Every Day Is Like Sunday

If Friday night is for the girlfriends, and Saturday night is for the wives...

Then clearly, Sunday is for scraping wallpaper.

Fortunately for me, I get to spend ALL THREE days scraping wallpaper.  Somebody pinch me.

From the archives:

This animated .gif allows me to compress 5+ hours of  pure misery into  about 5 seconds, so I can enjoy  over, and over, and over

Yes, loyal reader, that took me about 5.5 hours to remove about 5 square feet of wallpaper.  In looking at that .gif, the first slide looks more than 5 sf.... Let's say, for the sake of round numbers, that the number is 11 sf.  Doing the math, we can estimate that I have a wallpaper removal rate of (11 sf / 5.5 hours ) = 2 sf/hr.

Now, my conscience tells me that the 2 sf/hr might be a little low because that particular wall in my bedroom was pretty stubborn.  However, that wallpaper in the bedroom was all very reachable with a ladder from a solid surface. This weekend, I had to plank between two ladders over my stairs and scrape wallpaper off the ceiling on a springy 2x10.  Trust me when I say: 2 sf/hr is starting to sound like a pretty fast pace.

Walking the plank matey (above stairwell)

When I bought this house, my one major reservation was the amount of wallpaper. It honestly was a serious consideration because I know how horrible removing wall paper can be.  Even with that moment of pause, I still underestimated the true horror of wallpaper.

This is what success looks like

Let's take a moment to do a quick-n-dirty analysis on the time component of removing the wallpaper in this house:

1) I'll use my recent appraisal of this house as my layout drawing (it's loaded with even numbers).
2) Let's ignore all interior walls for now; instead, we will only focus on wallpaper on the party walls, exterior walls, and the ceilings.  I've taken down (re: demolished) some walls and ceilings, which has allowed me to forgo wallpaper scraping... even though I think that this assumption is generous (since interior wall have wallpaper on both sides), let's leave this as assumption #2.
3) Wallpaper removal rate is 2.0 sf/hour as calculated above.  Obviously, this number is a scalar and could be used as a sliding parameter in the final calculation.

Appraisal sketch

Height = 9.5 ft
SF = (46*16 - 4*16) = 42(16) = 672 sf
Perimeter = 46*2 + 16*2 = 62(2) = 124 ft
Ceiling SF = 672 sf
Wall SF = (9.5 ft)*(124 ft) = 1178 sf
Total Downstairs = 1850 sf
Height = 9 ft
SF = 672 + 7*8 = 728 sf
Perimeter = 124 + 7*2 = 138 ft
Ceiling SF = 728 sf
Wall SF = (9 ft)*(138 ft) = 1242 sf
Total Upstairs = 1970 sf

Total SF of Wallpaper = Total Upstairs + Total Downstairs 
= 1850 + 1970 = 3,820 sf 
Hours to scrape walls = (3,820 sf)(2 sf/hr) = 1,920 hours

OK, so I'm not feeling so bad about this.  Wait---how many work hours are there in a year again?

Man hours in year = (40 hrs/week)(52 weeks) = 2,080 hours
Work in a couple weeks of paid vacation and/or holidays, and you're certainly there.


There is enough wallpaper in this house to keep one full time person employed for over a year.
I'm not making these numbers up.

Should I double check that rate again?

This weekend, I scraped the area starting at the  top  of the stairs

Then draw a level line from about 4ft above the upstairs floor all the way across.   Everything above that imaginary line, and  the ceiling above the stairwell.

Going back to the sketch, it looks like this week I pulled down:
= (12 ft)(4 ft) + (2 ft)(6 ft) + (3 ft)(12 ft)
= 96 sf 
of wallpaper.

Hours of project time:
Fri = 8
Sat = 6
Sun = 5
Future = 5 (I'm certainly not done this area yet)
Tot =  24 hours

Thus, this weekend, I accomplished the following rate:

(96 sf)/(24 hours) = 4.0 sf/hr

Which is double the guestimated rate from the animated gif.

Weekend results. (I just realized that the light fixture in the hall isn't even closed to being centered+

Looking up to the high point of the ceiling above the stairs.  This is the end result of spending a weekend  scraping wallpaper. Sad, right?

So, what have we learned?  The rate of scraping wallpaper on the occupy site is somewhere between 2 and 4 sf/hr. Meaning that it would take a full time person somewhere between a half a year and a full year to complete the job.

Using a blended rate of about 3.0 sf/hr and adding in all the interior walls.. we're looking at the better part of a full year (if I didn't have a day job)

If that's not enough to put me on Prozac, let's get real:

If I can squeeze two (2) eight hour days in on every weekend, and use the superstar rate of 4 sf/hr, we get the following

(16 hrs/week)(4 sf/hr) = 64 sf/week rate of removal
(3,820 total sf of wallpaper)/(64 sf/week) = 59.7 weeks 

to remove all wallpaper from house, which boils down to 1.15 years if I can manage to work every weekend.

Well, that mathematical analysis really cheered me up. Please check the math as I was just doing the calculations in my head as I typed.   For a back of the envelope analysis, I think I'm pretty close.

Bottom line:
1) I'm a terrible wallpaper scraper; I need to increase my removal rate.
2) It is definitely cheaper to just knockdown every wall and ceiling, if time has any monetary value at all.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Its been too long folks...

I've been putting in some weekend time getting things ready in the downstairs area.

Do I have the downstairs designed yet? No.
Do I have a layout ready for the new electricity? No.
Do I have a barely livable house? Yes.

But, even without the basics.. there is always room for one of my most favorite activities: SCRAPING WALLPAPER!

This scene just screams "don't go back up there"

Those of you who've been able to keep up with the high frequency of posts here at Occupy know that every surface of this house, except the floors, is covered in wall paper.

While scraping, wallpaper is literally on every surface in the house

In a 'fair and just' world, homeowners who want to install wallpaper in their homes would be forced to spend a week attempting to remove 50 year old wallpaper from one room in my house.  Maybe then they would see the hell they intend to pass on to future generations. Luckily for them, cruel and unusual punishment is illegal in this country.  However, I wouldn't be surprised at all if in Guantanamo Bay, there is a wallpaper scraping room nestled somewhere near the water boarding room.

Removing wall paper downstairs clearly shows where the old room pass-through used to be

I hope to rebuild this pass-through... adding in some of my own  flare

 After about three years of living here (oy vey) the downstairs is wallpaper is totally removed... Now, just working myself up the stairs

Freddy Krueger house

If only Freddy Krueger actually lived here... then this wallpaper house would just be a dream, and then I would wake up in my comfortable, modern, non-wallpapered house.  Wah- wah.

If Krueger actually lived here, maybe he'd let me borrow  razor glove of his so  I can scrape this crap out of these corners.  Note the ceiling wallpaper: a true nightmare on wolf st.

Old newspapers as backing for wallpaper
In the corners, they used newspapers to maybe sure-up the crumbling plaster before the wallpaper install. In this particular corner, it was all about entertainment section with the movie listings.  Philadelphia used to have over 400 movie houses! It's pretty neat to see all the locations of these theaters when uncovering old newspapers in the house.

The hard to reach spots... lets save these for tomorrow

The ceiling in the upstairs hall

Now this is what I call a fun Friday night!

Well  its been a long day. My half day at work turned into a full day.. then I came home and did this until now.  Time to get some sleep.  I plan to bang this out tomorrow.  I hope its not too hot out.