Painting over wallpaper – is it a good or a bad idea?

by Kremy


Painting over wallpaper is one of the quickest ways to give a new and fresh look of any room in the home. Can you paint over wallpaper? How to paint over wallpaper? It is true that most people prefer to remove old wallpapers and paint the walls, but it is not always a must, more over you may see just the top layer of several ones lying beneath and as hard it is to remove one layer of wallpaper, removing more than one can give you a lot of headache. Painting over wallpaper can save you the hassle and you can have a beautiful wall color with some careful planning and a few easy steps.


Painting over wallpaper – update your interior without much effort



Painting over wallpaper provides an opportunity to every homeowner to update the interior of their home without much effort, significant investment and many hours of labor. Whether you want to paint the whole room, create an accent wall or simply add a fresh and vibrant color accent on a wall, you can paint over wallpaper without a problem.


Nowadays, the market offers a wide selection of different materials for the walls – plasters, paints, conventional or liquid wallpaper, decorative panels, etc. and everyone can choose the desired material which will suit to his personal taste and budget. Painting over wallpaper has become a trend in the last few years for many reasons – on the first place it is cost effective and affordable way to give a new look to the home, it is a great opportunity for a DIY project and does not require any special skills, knowledge or expensive tools. In addition, the color options available to the customer are practically unlimited, and you can choose from thousands of colors and shades.

painting-over-wallpaper-bathroom before and after

Do you need to remove the old wallpaper? This is one of the first questions that people ask when they plan painting over wallpaper. The answer is that if your wallpaper is in a good condition there is no need to remove it and you can paint over it. In addition, the drywall or plaster under the wallpaper will remain intact, which is not likely to happen if you removed the wallpaper and possibly found several more layers firmly glued to the wall.


Painting over wallpaper – step by step instructions and practical tips


As we said, painting over wallpaper is easy and quick, but it does require some preparation. We shall give you some practical tips and useful advice which will help you get organized and have a good wall finish without much trouble.

Step 1 – Inspection and wall preparation


Obviously, you’d need to remove all the furniture from the room to have free access to the walls to be painted. Make sure you removed electrical fixtures, outlets and light switch covers. Inspect the walls carefully for any moisture damages. Make sure that the wallpaper is not wet as wet wallpaper cannot be painted. Check the surface and see if the wallpaper is fixed to the wall. Any loose areas should be glued or when that is not possible – removed with a utility knife. Any damaged sections should be also removed or replaced. Check the edges and apply glue to any seams that may be lifting. This is essential as it will make sure that the wallpaper will not fall. Check for holes from nails or wall hangers and, if necessary, apply spackling paste to fill the holes. Let the paste dry and sand the area until smooth. Use painter’s tape to protect windows, doors or trim molding.

Step 2 – Clean the walls


When painting over wallpaper, the walls need to be cleaned thoroughly. You could use a vacuum cleaner which is a good way to clean almost any type of wallpaper. It is important to remove as much dust from the surface of the wallpaper prior painting. Another way to clean the walls is to wash the wallpaper with a damp cloth or a sponge. Make sure that the cloth (sponge) is damp and not drippy. Clean the wallpaper wiping vertically. If you wipe horizontally, the sponge or cloth may damage the vertical seams of the wallpaper.

Step 3 – Apply a primer


Once you have cleaned the walls you are ready to apply a primer. The primer must be applied to the entire surface of the walls as this will help seal the adhesive within the paper. Make sure you use an oil-based primer or shellac primer and not water-based, as water-based primers may make the wallpaper to bubble. Both shellac and oil-based primers bond hard and dry quickly. Use paint brush for the corners and along the edges of the walls and a roller for the rest of the surface. Let the primer dry completely. You may need to apply a second coat, but not before the first one is dry.

Step 4 – Paint over wallpaper


When the primer is dry, your wallpaper is ready for painting. It is advisable that the room is well ventilated and you wear protective glasses and clothing. Be noted that fumes from primers and paints could be harmful if inhaled, so do not neglect your safety. Spread cloth or paper on the floor at the base of the wall. Open the paint and stir thoroughly. It is better to use oil based paints. With a paint brush apply the paint around the edges and use a roller for the larger areas. Start painting from top to bottom and work in small sections slightly overlapping each section to blend the paint. Once the wall is painted, let it dry and, if necessary, apply a second coat of paint. After that you can install the outlets and switches and enjoy your newly painted wall!





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