Missa vs. Liquid Nails: 15, Love

And by “love”, I mean “hate”, but they never admit to that in tennis.  This was my kitchen ceiling.  This was my little reward for  two days of chiseling hideous industrial hanging-ceiling tiles off the ceiling – learning that my father was quite the active doodler, and his preferred medium was Liquid Nails…

That's all construction adhesive.  That is an insane amount to use to hold tiles to a ceiling.  Seriously.

That’s all construction adhesive. That is an insane amount to use to hold tiles to a ceiling. Seriously.

Think on this: the ceiling was covered in 24″x24″ tiles which are meant to be in a hanging ceiling, supported only by their sides.  WHY IS THERE SO MUCH ADHESIVE IN THE MIDDLES?  Really, Heischberg?  Clearly, dad was having fun.  Fast forward three decades, and I was just as clearly not having any fun at all.  Yes, there was cursing, and maybe a few threats of a resurrection for the sake of face-punch-stabbing-death.

Is that in heiroplyphics?  Are you even kidding me with this, dad?

Is that in hieroglyphics? Are you even kidding me with this, dad?

Since I’m all about doing stupid things so that you don’t have to, I ran through every relatively legit suggestion that the interwebs had for removing construction adhesive from things.  The problem, as my friend Ben pointed out, is that construction adhesive is “generally stronger than the things it’s used to attach.”  So, here’s what was tried and what worked:

  1. Most suggested method: “Tear off and replace the affected sheetrock.”  That was my instinct too, but mom ix-nayed that plan.  There were a lot of reasons given, but the high probability of fiberglass insulation falling all over the kitchen (and my face) was a good point.
  2. “Cut neatly around the edges of the adhesive with a razor knife, and pull it off with the top layer of paper on the sheetrock.”  This is annoying, mostly because dad chose such a nifty squiggle-and-eyes pattern, and also because ceilings are, lamentably, over your head and that can make it difficult to control the pressure on the razor.  It seemed to cause more damage than I felt was truly necessary.
  3. “Use putty knife.”  Thanks, interwebs.  As it turns out, using a putty knife to chisel off Liquid Nails is a serious waste of time, and takes large chunks out of the ceiling. (Or, possibly, I suck at this.)
  4. “Use a heat gun and a putty knife.”  Far more effective.  Sort of.  The heat will make the Liquid Nails malleable, but they still won’t scrape off of a non-primed surface easily.  So, all the parts of the ceiling that dad patched before putting up the new tiles?  Not so much fun. Any primed/painted areas?  Brilliant.  The trick is to ignore the adhesive – go straight for the paint.  Use the putty knife to scrape the paint off the ceiling, thus removing the Liquid Nails still clinging desperately to the removed paint.
There will still be damage.  It's pretty clear where I tried the cut-around-it method, I think.  The sort of poo-colored squiggles are what remains when you manage to heat Liquid Nails to the point where the just scrape off.  Charming....

There will still be damage. It’s pretty clear where I tried the cut-around-it method, I think. The sort of poo-colored squiggles are what remains when you manage to heat Liquid Nails to the point where the just scrape off.

Speaking of poop…  I tore out a rather questionable patch dad had put up in the back corner.  Apparently there was a panty there when the house was built, and that somehow relieved the builders of the need to add wall/ceiling to that area.  My father had many fine qualities, but the ability to patch drywall was not one of them.  Ironically, in spite of being taught by my father, I’m capable of putting in a patch that does not at all resemble a tumor.

So I pulled the old patch out, and got a face-full of stale mouse poop.  My life is non-stop glamour, really.

The nice thing about having eleventy-billion allergies and doing reno is that you tend to wear safety gear.  I had a respirator and one of those plastic visor things on.  And yes, mom was right – the fiberglass insulation is just lying right on top of the ceiling.

Much patching and a couple coats of sealer...  It's starting to look a lot like a real ceiling again.

Much patching and a couple coats of sealer… It’s starting to look a lot like a real ceiling again.

 

My ceiling, as of this afternoon - flat.  Beautifully, gloriously, nearly completely, flat.

My ceiling, as of this afternoon – flat. Beautifully, gloriously, nearly completely, flat.

I keep calling it my ceiling – technically, it’s mom’s, but I kinda feel like I’ve earned the right to call it mine.  ;)

This is also a great illustration of how a lot of visual interruption can make a space look smaller than it really is (she says, vaguely trying to tie this into any sort of design topic) – the ceiling, without being broken into 2’x2′ squares, looks *huge*.

We are fairly sure that, at some point, we will be happy we did this and ready to laugh about it.  But, right now, it’s just too soon…

Leave a Reply