Should You Paint Over Wallpaper?


Painting over wallpaper - interior painting tipsThis is a question we hear a lot.  We hear it from people who just moved into a house with wallpapered walls they don’t like, and we hear it from folks who some years back decided to do a wallpaper job but now aren’t thrilled with the appearance.  The rumor you often hear is that you can’t paint over wallpaper, that you have to go through a massive stripping effort before paint can safely be applied.  This is only true in some instances.

If the wallpaper is peeling or showing other signs of adherence problems, you’ll have to determine if a good sanding job will solve the problem.  A full-scale stripping job might be necessary, but then it might not, so don’t automatically run out and arrange for this service.

In most cases, as long as the wallpaper is uniformly stuck to the walls, there’s no need to strip.  But you do need to take certain measures in painting over it.

Steps for painting over wallpaper

Repair holes.  As with any paint job, use a filler to smooth out any holes in the walls.

Sand well.  You want as smooth a surface as possible, so take extra time if your wallpaper has raised areas within the texture.

Clean the walls.  Use a good cleaning detergent like TSP.  A mixture of a half cup TSP to a gallon of water is about right.  Clean every inch of the wall space where you’ll be painting.

Caulk the edges.  Add a thin layer of caulk around all the wallpaper edges where they meet trim or walls and ceilings.  This will ensure no peeling.

Seal the walls.  Use an oil-based primer sealer, which will form a strong bond over the wallpaper and provide a surface that your paint will adhere to very well.  Make sure to open windows and use fans if necessary to remove fumes from the work area.

Apply paint: After the primer is completely dry, you can go about painting in the usual method you’d use to paint any walls.  Cut in around the edges with a brush and then roll on paint with a roller.  Mask trim that you don’t want painted.  Cover windows, furniture and floors with canvas or heavy plastic drop cloths.  If applying more than one coat, give the first coat sufficient time to dry.

Note on paint: If you use a primer, you should have no trouble creating a great finished product with latex paint.  If you choose to bypass the primer, we suggest you paint with an oil-based paint.  Latex paint applied directly to wallpaper can loosen the wallpaper and lead to bubbling or peeling.

Interior Paint Color OptionsThe bottom line with any paint job is making sure the surfaces are in the proper condition to accept and hold new paint.  Follow these tips to paint over wallpaper that’s in good or decent condition.  If you think you may need to have your wallpaper stripped, contact us.

Franklin Painting of Connecticut is ready to help with a full menu of interior and exterior painting services.  Count on the professionals to get the best results every time.  Reach us by phone at (877) 646-7774.

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