Can You Paint over Wallpaper?

paint over wallpaper

Are there rooms in your house that are wallpapered? Are you tired of that look and want to change it up? You may think that just painting over wallpaper is an easy way to avoid the cost and labor of ripping off the wallpaper, removing the residual paste, scraping, and sanding. However, the results you get may not be what you want.

Converting a Wallpapered Wall to a Painted One

Painting over wallpaper should only be undertaken after weighing its pros and cons and considering all the options. Painting over wallpaper is considered by most professional painters to be counterproductive. Often, doing so will result in the finished product most likely looking worse than what you started with. 

Pros of Painting over Wallpaper

The benefit of painting over wallpaper is that it allows you to avoid the costly and time-consuming task of removing the wallpaper from the walls they intend to paint. Removing wallpaper that’s been around for decades can be tedious and back-breaking. Applying paint directly onto the wallpaper is definitely much easier.

Cons of Painting over Wallpaper

The biggest con against painting over wallpaper is that the final finish of the paint over the wallpaper will be rough and won’t hold up to closer scrutiny. Another drawback is that wallpaper that has aged with the house is likely to have accumulated soil and grease that is hard to clean. Painting over these substances can result in the paint not properly adhering to those spots. 

Wallpaper may not be perfectly flush against the wall, leading to unevenness that will be accentuated once a layer of paint is applied over it. Another drawback is if there is a pattern on the wallpaper, which can show through even a couple of coats of paint. 

Process to Paint Directly over Wallpaper

If you believe your wallpapered walls are in good condition and want to try painting over them, there are steps you should take to get the best results. Extensive preparation is needed to make sure the walls are ready before even considering dipping a brush into a can of paint. There are basically two steps to preparing wallpaper before painting.

1. Repair any Damage

The first step is to clean up loose corners and edges. Check for long edges of wallpaper that are unrolling or any corners or seams that are not as well attached as they should be. The trick is to use a strong adhesive to make sure the corners are fixed, creating as smooth of a surface as possible. Once the adhesive is applied, it should be given time to set and dry before proceeding with painting.

2. Clean the Walls Thoroughly

The next step is to make sure that the walls are meticulously cleaned by removing all traces of dust and debris from the surface of the wallpaper. The method for washing the wallpaper depends on whether it is coated or uncoated. 

You can determine the type of wallpaper that you have by lightly wetting it in a hidden area and checking if the colors bleed or the moisture is absorbed. If the water gets absorbed, the wallpaper is most likely uncoated and the best way to clean it is using wallpaper dough. Wallpaper dough can be found at home improvement and paint supply stores and can be reused by kneading it over and over again.

If the wallpaper is coated, the best way to clean it is with a damp sponge that has been soaked in dishwashing detergent that is effective on greasy surfaces. Be cautious of getting moisture into the seams. Always wipe vertically to prevent a seam from unfolding due to the horizontal motion of the sponge. Allow walls to dry completely.

Once the walls have been glued, cleaned, washed, and have dried, you can choose a hidden corner of the wall to test the paint. If you are pleased with the results, you can tackle the rest of the surfaces with confidence.

Let the Professionals Give You a New Modern Look

If you dread the job of painting your wallpapered walls, trust an expert painting company like Walla Painting. We don’t recommend painting over wallpaper, but we are great at removing it and applying a fresh high-quality coat of paint. 

Give us a call today to get a free estimate for your wallpaper removal and painting projects.