Painting Over Wallpaper As A Last Resort

Today a reader via Twitter.com asks:

Diva, what’s your opinion about painting over wallpaper?

Painting over wallpaper can be done, but I’d only be painting over wallpaper as a last resort.  If taking the wall paper off will damage the wall or there are multiple layers of paper then painting over is a good idea.  However if it is just one layer of paper and it can be removed without damage to the wall, you need to remove the wall paper first.  Keep in mind that painting over wall paper will not last forever. Then when something goes wrong you have to tackle another layer.  Only now this new layer is going to make the original wall paper even more difficult to remove.  So please keep that in mind before you read the rest of this post!

You can paint over wall paper but you will have to use oil based products.  Which means proper ventilation and more work for clean up.  First step is to tackle the imperfections.  If there are spots that the paper is pealing you need to remove what is loose and paste down any edges that coming up.  Once that is done you can put your FIRST layer of oil based primer on to seal the area.  You don’t want to use a latex based primer because the water in it, will cause the wall paper to bubble and it will loosen the wallpaper.  Once your primer is dry you will need to fill in the areas you removed wallpaper from with drywall mud.  Also fill in the seams and any dents or imperfections in the wall.  Then give it a light sand to get the smoothest surface possible.

Now you are ready for your SECOND coat of oil based primer!  Remember to use a small nap roller to give you the smoothest surface possible as well as another light sanding.  And now you are ready to paint.  You can use a latex based paint or continue on with the oil.  If you skimped on the primer definitely stay with an oil based paint.  Which ever way you go, be prepared for several coats for your best results.  Also keep in mind your paint job is only as good as the surface you started with.  If your wallpaper had a textured pattern you may want to consider using a paint with a texture. Or adding sand to the paint to get your own texture.  This will help hide the old pattern marks coming through your paint.

Painting over wallpaper can be done, you just need to prepare yourself for all of the steps and be realistic about the look and longevity of your finished project. Painting over wallpaper can done for both a bathroom or a kitchen.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!