can you paint over wallpaper

Can You Paint Over Wallpaper Successfully?

Can you paint over wallpaper? Well, It’s a bit like trying to give your room a fresh look and avoid causing any damage to your wall. But sometimes it’s best to peel off the wallpaper first and clean up any sticky stuff before painting.

can you paint over wallpaper

Stripping off that wallpaper can harm the wall underneath.

Especially, if the wallpaper is stuck on unfinished drywall or plaster, or if there are layers upon layers of wallpaper, taking it off could turn into a real headache.

So, let’s go into details to know if it is possible to paint over wallpaper, how to paint over wallpaper, and when not to paint over wallpaper.

Can You Paint Over Wallpaper?

If your wallpaper is in good shape without any chips or scratches, you can paint over it with the right preparation. But if it’s damaged, it’s better to remove it first for a smooth result.

Woodchip wallpaper was popular in the 1970s but can be a pain to deal with now. If you choose to paint over it, the texture might still show through.

There are special wallpapers available that can cover the woodchip texture and be painted easily.

You don’t need special paint for wallpaper because good-quality wall paint will do the job and give you an even finish.

Using a primer before painting isn’t always necessary, but it can be helpful if you have a bold wallpaper, want to make a big color change, or are dealing with vinyl wallpaper.

It makes the painting process easier.

How to Paint Over Wallpaper

can you paint over wallpaper

Before you paint over wallpaper, make sure you have the following items: goggles, gloves, respirator mask, long-sleeve clothing, warm water, TSP (trisodium phosphate), soft clothes, putty knife.

Also, get wallpaper seam adhesive or spackle (if needed), sandpaper (150- to 180-grit), painter’s tape, oil-based primer, brushes and roller, mineral spirits, and the topcoat paint of your choice.

Here’s a simple guide on how to paint over wallpaper:

1. Clean the Walls

Wipe off dust and dirt with a damp cloth. If the walls are greasy, clean them with a diluted TSP solution. 

Don’t soak the walls, though, as it might loosen the wallpaper. Let the walls dry thoroughly.

2. Repair Damages

Check for peeling edges or seams. Use wallpaper seam adhesive to reattach loose parts. 

Alternatively, lift loose areas with a putty knife, cut away the loose bits, fill in with spackle, and sand when dry. If the wallpaper has the texture you don’t want to show, and the whole wall until smooth.

3. Tape off Molding and Trim

Before painting, use painter’s tape to cover and protect features like molding, trim, wainscot, or baseboard. 

This ensures a clean line between the wall and these elements, preventing accidental paint splatters and achieving a polished finish.

4. Prime the Walls

Use an oil-based primer regardless of the topcoat type. Water-based primers might loosen the wallpaper. 

Cut in corners and edges with a brush, then use a roller for larger areas. Allow enough drying time.

5. Start Painting

Once the wallpaper is cleaned, repaired, and primed, paint it like any other surface. If the wallpaper has a bold pattern or you’re applying light-colored paint over dark wallpaper, you may need two coats with sufficient drying time between.

Painting over wallpaper can be done, and sometimes it’s a better option than removing it. The key to a good result is putting effort into the preparation phase.

When Should You Paint Over Wallpaper?

Deciding whether to paint over wallpaper depends on how much time and money you want to invest.

Wallpaper varies in how easy it is to remove and you can test a small area but if it peels off easily, you can probably steam it off completely.

And if it’s stubborn, you’ll have to work hard to remove it, you might risk damaging the wall. In that case, painting over it could be a better choice.

It is advisable not to attempt removal if it’s tough and there are multiple layers of paper, especially if you’re short on time and money. 

The size of the room matters too. It’s easier to tackle wallpaper in a spacious living room than in a small bathroom or closet where it could be more of a headache.

When Not to Paint Over Wallpaper

can you paint over wallpaper

Certain types of wallpaper, like those peeling in many spots or fabric-backed vinyl, shouldn’t be painted over. Luckily, these are usually easy to remove. 

The general rule is that wallpaper hard to remove is a good candidate for painting, and those easy to remove aren’t good for painting.

So, before deciding to keep the wallpaper, try removing it. If it comes off easily, it might be a good idea to paint. 

Removing wallpaper can be a difficulty, but removing wallpaper that’s been painted over is an even bigger stress.

However yes, you can paint over wallpaper, but there are exceptions and things to consider. The key to doing this is proper preparation.

How to Get Paint Off Wallpaper

If you accidentally got paint on your wallpaper, don’t worry. If the paint is still wet, gently dab the area with warm water and a clean towel or sponge. Avoid rubbing, as it can push the paint into the wallpaper fibers.

If the paint has dried, try using 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol. Test a small, hidden area first to make sure it won’t damage the wallpaper. 

If the test is successful, soak a cotton ball in alcohol, dampen the paint, and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Use a damp sponge to dab the area until the paint lifts off. Repeat until the color is gone.

If that doesn’t work, the only option left is to cut and replace that section of wallpaper. To do this, use a sharp Stanley knife and extra wallpaper. 

Match the pattern in the extra wallpaper with the section you’re cutting away. Once aligned, cut out the affected area using a ruler for a clean cut. 

Use the cutaway section as a stencil, draw around the extra wallpaper to get the right shape, and apply the patch in the same way you hung the original wallpaper.

Painting over wallpaper can be like giving an old wall a fresh new look. It’s doable, but there are tricks to make it work well. 

It’s like a makeover for your room without the stress of peeling off all that wallpaper. So, go ahead and add a splash of color to transform your space.

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