Tips To Painting Over Wallpaper

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Wallpapers are a great way to cover the wall imperfections such as nails holes, add unique textures and patterns and create finished wall surface that’s difficult from a paint job. And quality wallpaper installed professionally can last up to 15 years with little maintenance. But this very durability of wallpaper can also become a hindrance for some homeowners. The designs and motif that you adored years ago may not go well with your modern décor.

Stripping the wallpaper and replacing with paint may not be an easy feat for some homeowners. Sometimes there might be multiple layers of paper. Removing paper can cause more problems than it prevents. There is a potential for unexpected surprises such as crumbling or damaged drywall or plaster and only thing that held it together was the wallpaper.

If you’re dreading the arduous and sometimes pricey process of stripping wallpaper, you have an easier option: painting over wallpaper. Most professional painters and home remodeler advise against it. While it’s usually better to remove your paper before painting, with right tools and techniques you can give your give your room a stylish (and budget friendly) new look by painting over wallpaper. And you can start right away without having to spend hours loosening all those layers of old florals and cleaning off hardened adhesive.

If you’re ready to cover that tired stripe with a bold new shade, here are tips on how to get started and makeover your walls.

Determine the type of wallpaper

Firstly determine the material of existing wallpaper. Different types of covering require different techniques. Paper or vinyl coated wallpaper can be painted, but preparation and priming is very important. If you do not properly prepare and prime, the seams and edges of the wallpaper could begin to lift. And you are better off removing wallpapers such as heavy fabric backed vinyl and they are easy to remove.

Prepping and cleaning the wallpaper

Make sure your wall coverings are in good condition to ensure that the finished project will be a success. Make they are clean, smooth and completely dry and show no signs of lifting at the edges or seams.

Fill any holes with a layer of spackle and rub a layer of adhesive over peeling wallpaper to keep it in place. Caulk along the perimeter of the walls, at joint seams so as to seal the edges and keep the paper from peeling after you’ve painted. Gently sand down the wall in order to even out the surface.

Remember to tape off the edges of the wall, especially covering your skirting board if applicable.

Before you begin painting, clean the wallpaper using mild detergent and a sponge. Rinse with clean water and let them dry thoroughly. You can use TSP (Trisodium phosphate) thoroughly clean the wallpaper to effectively remove unwanted oils and chemicals.

Vacuum away any lingering dust and dirt after final sanding before you begin painting.


Once the wall is completely dry, get your wallpaper ready for coats of paint by priming. Apply a coat of oil-based primer/sealer to the entire surface of the walls before painting. This helps seal the adhesive within the paper and away from the moisture in the paint. Latex primers can soak through the wall covering and cause it to come off.


Once the wall covering is prepped and primed and completely dry, it can be top-coated with any product. Use oil-based paints, in addition to oil based primer to minimize the impacts of moisture of adhesives. Oil based primers and paints have a stronger odor than water based paints and primers. So make sure that you keep the room well ventilated while you are priming and painting. Allow at least an hour for one coat of primer to totally dry. Paint the walls following the recommendations for application and drying time provided with the product, with two coats advised for the best outcome. Use a paintbrush to cut in at the corners and along edges, then let the roller do the rest.


Painting over wallpaper is a great way to create a new outlook of a room without spending hours stripping the walls. Follow the right tools and techniques and admire the refresh new look from tired pattern to gleaming freshly painted surfaces.

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