Saturday, December 12, 2009

Won't Miss #91 - Japanese wall coverings

In some Japanese apartments, there is this strange type of wall covering. It's like a mix of tiny crushed chips of some building material. It looks okay when it's new, but as time goes by, some serious problems develop. One of those problems is related to the fact that you cannot clean this stuff. The best you can do is run a vacuum cleaner over it because water will simply destroy it and make it fall off. You also can't paint over it or cover it in anyway since it's made up of jagged little shards.

The biggest problem is that in the hot, humid environment in Tokyo, mold develops on the walls behind furniture (above, the scene behind my washing machine). The mold dies and turns black when the weather turns cold. Eventually, the wall coating also starts to flake off from the wet/warm and cold/dry cycling and you have an ugly, dirty, bare wall. The only thing that can be done about this is replacing the covering, and that only happens after you move out. This happens to nearly everyone in these types of places within a span of about 5 years.

I won't miss this awful wall coating and the way in which it can't be covered, cleaned, or painted.