Can You Paint Over Wallpaper? Here’s What You Need To Know

can you paint over wallpaper

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Tired of that dated wallpaper in your home and considering a fresh coat of paint as an easy alternative? You’re not alone! However, the question remains: Can you paint over wallpaper? The answer is yes – but it comes with its own set of challenges.

In this blog post, we’ll be diving into all the crucial details you need to know before embarking on this home improvement project. From proper preparation and priming to understanding potential risks and alternatives, get ready to make an informed decision on whether painting over your wallpaper is right for your space.

Key Takeaways 💭

Can You Paint Over Wallpaper?

can you paint over wallpaper

Yes, you can paint over wallpaper, but it requires proper preparation and priming to ensure the best results.

Yes, But With Proper Preparation And Priming

Painting over wallpaper is indeed possible, but it requires thorough preparation and the use of a high-quality primer to ensure a smooth, lasting finish. Properly priming the surface will help seal in any existing patterns or textures on the wallpaper and create an even base for paint application.

One example of successful painting over wallpaper occurred during a recent home renovation project: A homeowner wanted to update their outdated floral-printed walls without spending excessive time or money on removing old wallpaper.

Risks And Potential Issues To Consider

While painting over wallpaper can be a cost-effective and time-saving option, it’s important to consider the risks and potential issues that may arise. One of the biggest concerns is wall damage caused by air bubbles or long edges in the wallpaper that can show through the paint.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all types of wallpaper are suitable for painting over. For instance, vinyl-coated or textured wallpapers may not provide a smooth enough surface for paint application.

To minimize these risks, make sure you properly prepare your walls before you start painting them. Clean and repair any damages on the wallpaper first then apply primer to improve paint adhesion.

When It May Be Best To Remove The Wallpaper Instead

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, painting over wallpaper may not be the best choice. If the wallpaper is damaged or peeling, it is recommended to remove it entirely before starting a fresh paint job.

Additionally, if the wallpaper has a strong pattern that may show through even with multiple coats of paint and primer, it may be best to start with a clean slate.

Removing wallpaper can be time-consuming and labor-intensive but will ultimately result in a smoother and more professional finish for your walls.

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How To Properly Prepare Wallpaper For Painting

Start by cleaning the wallpaper thoroughly with a sponge and mild soap to remove any dirt, dust, or grease.

Cleaning And Repairing The Wallpaper

Before painting over wallpaper, it’s important to ensure that the surface is clean and free from any damage. Start by dusting off any dirt or debris using a soft-bristled brush or vacuum cleaner attachment.

For more stubborn stains, you can try using a very damp cloth or sponge with mild soap and water.

If there are any tears, holes, or air bubbles in the wallpaper, these will need to be repaired before applying paint. You can use a spackle compound and putty knife for small repairs or opt for a paper patch kit for larger areas of damage.

Once the repairs have been made, allow enough time for them to dry completely before proceeding with the primer application.

Sanding Or Scoring The Wallpaper

Before painting over wallpaper, it is crucial to prepare the surface properly. Sanding or scoring the wallpaper will help the primer and paint adhere better to the wall.

Sanding involves using a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly scratch up the surface of the wallpaper while scoring involves using a scoring tool to make tiny holes in the paper.

It’s important to note that if you’re dealing with delicate or textured wallpaper or wallpapers, such as grasscloth, fabric-backed vinyl, or flocked patterns, sanding or scoring may damage them irreparably.

In those cases, consider removing the wallpaper entirely before painting.

Applying Primer For Better Paint Adhesion

Before painting over wallpaper, it’s crucial to apply a primer for better adhesion. This is an essential step that many homeowners tend to overlook, but it can make all the difference in the final look of your walls.

There are different types of primers available on the market, including oil-based and shellac-based options. Oil-based primer tends to be more effective in covering stubborn stains and providing better adhesion for high-gloss topcoats, while shellac-based primer dries faster and has excellent stain-blocking properties.

Whichever type of latex paint you choose, make sure to apply it uniformly across your walls using a brush or roller before allowing it sufficient time to dry completely.

Tips For Successfully Painting Over Wallpaper

Choose a high-quality paint that is specifically designed for use over wallpaper, and use a paintbrush or roller to apply the paint in thin, even layers.

Choosing The Right Type Of Paint For Wallpaper

When it comes to choosing the right type of paint for wallpaper, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you’ll want to select a high-quality paint primer that’s specifically designed for use on wallpapered surfaces.

In addition to selecting the right primer, you’ll also want to choose a topcoat that’s durable enough to withstand wear and tear, as well as any moisture or humidity in the room.

In many cases, an oil-based paint may be your best bet for painting over wallpaper, as it provides excellent coverage and is highly resistant to peeling or cracking.

Selecting The Right Tools And Techniques For Painting

Once you have properly prepared your wallpaper for painting, it is important to select the right tools and techniques to ensure a successful outcome. These could include the paint roller or brush to the spackling compound for example.

It’s also important to use the right technique when applying paint over wallpaper. Rather than trying to cover large areas at once with two coats, focus on working in smaller sections. Use long strokes that are parallel with the edges of your wallpaper strips and try not to apply too much pressure as doing so can cause air bubbles or damage to the wall surface underneath.

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Taking Your Time And Being Patient To Avoid Mistakes

While painting over wallpaper can be a cost-effective option, it requires patience and careful attention to detail. Rushing through the process may lead to mistakes such as air bubbles or long edges where the wallpaper has lifted.

To avoid these issues, take your time when painting over wallpaper and ensure that each stage of the process is completed thoroughly before moving on to the next. This includes cleaning and repairing the wallpaper, sanding or scoring it for better adhesion, applying primer, and selecting the right type of paint for the job.

Alternatives To Painting Over Wallpaper

Instead of painting over wallpaper, consider removing it for a clean slate or applying new wallpaper for a fresh look. You can also cover the wallpaper with a textured finish to add depth and interest to your walls.

Removing The Wallpaper For A Clean Slate

If you want to completely change the look and feel of a room, removing the wallpaper for a clean slate is always an option. While this may seem like a daunting task, it can be a great opportunity to start fresh with your wall’s surface.

There are many ways to approach wallpaper removal depending on the type of adhesive used and how well it adheres to the walls. Some people prefer steamers or chemical solvents while others opt for dry stripping methods using specialized tools.

Once you have removed all traces of wallpaper from your walls, give them some time to air out before beginning any prep work for new wall preparations or painting projects.

Applying New Wallpaper For A Fresh Look

If you’re looking to update the look of your room, but don’t want to go through the hassle of removing old wallpaper, applying new wallpaper may be a great option.

With advancements in wallpaper design and technology, there are now many stylish options that can add texture and depth to your walls.

Before selecting your new wallpaper, it’s important to consider the existing wall surface and pattern. If the current wallpaper is heavily textured or has a busy pattern, it may require additional preparation before installing new paper for the best results.

Additionally, following proper installation techniques such as properly measuring and aligning edges can ensure a smooth finish without any air bubbles or long edges.

Covering The Wallpaper With A Textured Finish

If the wallpaper in your home is too damaged or difficult to remove, you can still give it a new look by covering it with a textured finish. This technique involves applying a thick layer of joint compound or plaster over the wallpaper, which creates a unique texture that covers any imperfections.

However, keep in mind that this technique requires some level of skill and experience to achieve optimal results. It’s crucial to select the right type of joint compound or plaster depending on your wall surface and apply an even coat without leaving air bubbles or long edges.

Conclusion: Pros And Cons Of Painting Over Wallpaper

Painting over wallpaper can be a cost-effective and time-saving option for updating your home’s interior, but it also comes with potential risks and challenges to consider before starting.

It’s important to properly prepare the wallpaper for painting by cleaning, repairing, sanding, or scoring, and applying primer for better paint adhesion. Additionally, selecting the right type of paint and using proper painting techniques can help ensure success.

Cost-effective And Time-saving Option

Painting over wallpaper can be a cost-effective and time-saving option compared to removing the wallpaper entirely. It eliminates the need for extensive wall preparation, such as filling cracks and sanding down rough spots, that comes with wallpaper removal.

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Moreover, painting over wallpaper can help you achieve a new look for your room without having to spend too much money or time on new materials and installation work.

You can choose from various types of paints and finishes that suit your style and preference, making it an excellent way to update the aesthetics of any room.

Potential Risks And Challenges To Consider Before Starting.

Before deciding to paint over wallpaper, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and challenges. One of the biggest risks is that a thin layer of the wallpaper may start peeling or bubbling after painting due to moisture getting trapped underneath.

This could lead to unsightly air bubbles that can be difficult to fix without removing all the paint and starting again.

Another challenge is ensuring that the wallpaper pattern doesn’t show through the new paint color. If you choose a lighter shade than what’s already on your walls, there’s a possibility that small sections of the previous pattern will still be visible after painting.

To avoid this issue, consider using an opaque primer before applying your topcoat.


Can you paint over the wallpaper without removing it first?

Yes, it is possible to paint over wallpaper without removing it if the wallpaper is in good condition and properly adhered to the wall. However, this method may not be suitable for all types of wallpapers or situations, and it’s important to consult with a professional painter before attempting this DIY project.

How do I prepare my wallpapered walls for painting?

Before painting over wallpaper, make sure the surface is clean and free from any dirt or debris by washing the walls thoroughly with warm water and mild soap. Allow sufficient drying time before applying a primer coat designed specifically for use on top of wallpaper that will help ensure adhesion between the old paper and the wall beneath the new coating while preventing stains from showing through later down the line.

What are some downsides of painting over wallpaper?

The primary disadvantage of painting directly onto your existing wall coverings lies in the potential risk for delamination- when layers begin peeling as a result of moisture seepage into materials used during the installation process (i.e., adhesive backing applied). This can result in warping panels requiring extensive repair costs which become apparent once an inspection takes place prior to selling property further down the road.

Another issue involves coverage levels: darker wallpapers may require more coats than lighter ones since opaqueness affects the layering effect presented by each individual pass brush roller -Aesthetic considerations like unevenness due to texture inherent within the original pattern/design might detract from the overall appearance of the desired end product but these variables should be taken into account during the playing-out project.

Do I need specific tools or equipment to paint over my wallpaper?

Some basic items required include masking tape/tarp sheets protecting baseboards flooring areas around the perimeter space being painted; sandpaper grit 120/220 smoothing bumps and irregularities surfaces leaving behind smooth finish ready prepping them application coatings; painters’ tape ensuring straight lines corners avoid smudging marks other imperfections; primer coat new layer any underlying residue present surfaces before proceeding with additional coats using preferred roller/brush.

Depending on the amount of coverage needed some tools/equipment such as airless spray guns may also come in handy when painting larger areas where speed efficiency is important purposes encountered during this project effort.

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