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Home > > Can You Paint Over Wallpaper

Can You Paint Over Wallpaper

Can You Paint Over Wallpaper? A Clear Answer and Expert Advice

When it comes to home makeovers, painting a room is often the quickest and easiest way to give it a fresh new look. But what if the walls are wallpapered? If the wallpaper has any sort of texture, we recommend lightly sanding it back, but otherwise, it seems to work really well and saves a lot of time.

Key Takeaways

  • Painting over wallpaper is a time-saving hack that can give a room a fresh new look.
  • If the wallpaper has any sort of texture, it's recommended to lightly sand it back before painting over it.
  • It's important to speak to experts before attempting this hack to ensure it will work for your specific situation.

Can You Paint Over Wallpaper?

According to experts, it is possible to paint over wallpaper as long as the wallpaper is not damaged and the walls are well-prepared. Wallpaper creates a smooth surface for painting, making it a good option for uneven walls. However, it is important to note that there are some caveats and occasions when painting over wallpaper may not be the best idea.

To ensure a successful outcome, the walls should be free of any holes or chips. Additionally, the walls should be well-prepared before painting, just like when painting a regular wall. This includes cleaning the walls to remove any dust or dirt, filling any holes or cracks, and sanding any rough spots.

Painting over wallpaper can be a quick and easy solution for refreshing walls, especially for those who are tired of looking at dated wallpaper or dislike the style and colours left behind by the previous occupants. However, it is important to carefully consider the condition of the wallpaper and the preparation of the walls before deciding to paint over it.

How to Paint Over Wallpaper

Painting over wallpaper can be a quick and cost-effective way to update a room or wall. Here is a step-by-step guide to painting over wallpaper to ensure the best finish possible.

What You'll Need

Before you start, you will need the following:

  • A small paintbrush for edges
  • A paint roller
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Cleaning supplies: a cleaning cloth, a sponge, a mild detergent and/or a sugar soap
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Masking or painter's tape
  • Primer paint
  • Paint of your choice

Step-by-Step

1. Clean the Wallpaper

Preparation is key when painting over wallpaper. Start by removing any built-up dirt, dust, or grease. Use a duster or dry cloth to brush away any dust. Then, use a mild detergent solution or sugar soap and a sponge to clean the wallpaper. Allow the wallpaper to dry completely before moving on to the next step in the process.

2. Prepare the Area

Inspect the wallpaper for any imperfections. Ensure that any peeling edges are firmly stuck back down before you start to apply any paint. If your current wallpaper has a slight texture to it, use sandpaper to buff the surface texture away to give you a smooth base. However, heavily textured wallpapers will not give you the same smooth canvas to paint upon.

Prepare the area as you typically would for painting. Cover the areas where your wallpaper meets areas like skirting boards, the ceiling, light switches, or adjacent walls with masking or painter’s tape. Put down dust sheets to protect your floor or larger pieces of furniture.

3. Prime the Walls

Applying a primer is essential to improve paint adhesion and provide a uniform finish. It's recommended to use an oil-based or shellac-based primer because they have better sealing properties and can prevent the wallpaper from absorbing moisture from the paint. Avoid using water-based primers because they can soak the wallpaper and cause damage. Apply two thin layers of primer – or paint – instead of one thick layer to get a more even and consistent distribution and finish.

4. Now Paint

Most paints will work on wallpaper, but many experts recommend selecting a latex or acrylic paint. When paired with an oil-based primer, these paints will stick to the paper, helping you achieve your desired look. Do a patch test by applying a small amount of paint to one area of the wallpaper and allowing it to dry fully before you commence painting the whole wall or room to make sure that you get the finish that you’re looking to achieve.

When You Shouldn't Paint Over Wallpaper

There are scenarios in which you should avoid painting over wallpaper and instead start from scratch by removing it before you start painting. If your existing wallpaper is in any way damaged, painting on top of it will just emphasize any imperfections. The same can be said for mouldy or water-damaged wallpaper.

You won’t want to paint over a dark wallpaper with a light paint colour because the wallpaper will still be visible underneath, and it will take several layers of paint to cover. At this point, it makes more sense to remove the dark wallpaper and then paint your lighter shade straight onto the wall.

Vinyl wallpapers can work well in rooms where you need them to be particularly durable, such as for bathroom wallpaper ideas or kitchen wallpaper ideas. However, paint does not adhere to this slick, often splash-proof, material. Even using a primer before you go to paint onto vinyl wallpaper could cause your paint to crack, so it is not recommended to even attempt painting on top of vinyl wallpaper.

You also may not be able to sand down deeply textured or embossed wallpaper enough for you to achieve that seamless finish. Wallpaper can also hide a damaged underlying surface, such as crumbling plaster, so if you paint over it, you may simply be creating problems for yourself down the line.

Painting over your wallpaper can be a great way to update a room or wall quickly and cost-effectively. By following these steps and knowing when not to paint over wallpaper, you can achieve a smooth and beautiful finish.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective primer to use before painting over wallpaper?

It is recommended to use a high-quality oil-based primer before painting over wallpaper. This type of primer provides an effective barrier between the wallpaper and the paint, ensuring that the paint adheres properly and lasts longer. It is important to choose a primer that is specifically designed for use on wallpaper, as this will provide the best results.

Is it possible to paint over wallpaper in a damp environment such as a bathroom?

While it is possible to paint over wallpaper in a damp environment such as a bathroom, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure that the paint adheres properly and lasts longer. It is recommended to use a high-quality oil-based primer and a paint that is specifically designed for use in damp environments. It is also important to ensure that the wallpaper is properly sealed and that any areas that are damaged or peeling are repaired before painting.

Can I paint directly on wallpaper without using a primer, and what are the consequences?

While it is possible to paint directly on wallpaper without using a primer, this is not recommended. Without a primer, the paint may not adhere properly to the wallpaper, resulting in a poor finish that is prone to peeling and flaking. It is important to use a high-quality primer that is specifically designed for use on wallpaper to ensure that the paint adheres properly and lasts longer.

Which type of paint is best suited for covering wallpaper?

When painting over wallpaper, it is recommended to use a high-quality latex paint that is specifically designed for use on wallpaper. This type of paint provides a durable, long-lasting finish that is resistant to peeling and flaking. It is important to choose a paint that is suitable for the environment in which it will be used, such as a bathroom or kitchen.

What are the considerations when painting over textured or vinyl wallpaper?

When painting over textured or vinyl wallpaper, it is important to choose a paint that is specifically designed for use on these types of surfaces. It is also important to ensure that the wallpaper is properly prepared before painting, including cleaning and sanding any textured areas to ensure a smooth finish. It may also be necessary to use a high-quality primer to ensure that the paint adheres properly to the wallpaper.

Does paintable wallpaper offer a reliable solution for redecoration?

Paintable wallpaper can be a reliable solution for redecorating a room, as it provides a durable, long-lasting finish that is resistant to peeling and flaking. However, it is important to choose a high-quality paintable wallpaper that is specifically designed for use on wallpaper, as this will provide the best results. It is also important to ensure that the wallpaper is properly prepared before painting, including cleaning and sanding any textured areas to ensure a smooth finish.

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