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Painting Over Wallpaper: Learn Tips and Tricks to Cover Wall Treatments with Paint

Discover easy steps for painting over wallpaper and getting great results. Imagine not having to pull off all the old wallpaper and just applying paint over the wallpaper.

Unfortunately, older wallpaper can be very difficult to remove from your walls, especially if the walls were not properly sized prior to wallpaper application. If you are in a situation where removing the wallpaper is causing more damage than it’s worth then you can paint over wallpaper and still have great results.

The key to getting great results when painting over wallpaper is treating the walls and the wallpaper properly before you add the paint. If you don’t you can actually have some disastrous results and leave the wall looking saggy and worse than it did before.

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Treat the Wallpaper

Before you paint over wallpaper you have to make sure the wallpaper is in the best shape possible. If the old wallpaper is peeling in parts you’ll want to cut or peel those parts away or you can paste them onto the wall. Examine the edges as well to make sure they’re adhering well.

Patch Holes and Gaps

If you ended up cutting out any parts of the wallpaper or there are gaps between strips you’ll want to fill them in with the wallboard compound. Let this dry and sand it for a smooth finish.

Some people do a skim coat over the entire wall to eliminate the texture on the wallpaper but getting the wallboard compound entirely smooth takes a lot of work and experience.

Prime the Wall with Oil

Using an oil-based primer is essential to getting a good finish when you’re painting over wallpaper. Water-based or latex paints can soften the old paste between the wall and the wallpaper and actually cause your wallpaper to slip and bubble.

The priming step just can’t be skipped as your paint may not want to adhere to the paper without an oil-based primer, especially if its vinyl.

Base Coat and Texture

One of the problems with most wallpapers is there is a texture to the paper, even if it’s slight and seems unnoticeable it will appear more evident once the wall is painted, especially if you’re using a solid color or a flat paint.

You don’t have to incorporate texture to your wall but most people prefer adding one to eliminate the wallpaper texture and to make the wall match other walls in the home.

Painting Wallpaper

And finally, paint over the wallpaper. You can use either an oil or a latex-based paint for the wall once you’ve primed your wallpaper with an oil-based primer.

Because imperfections and flaws in the wallpaper become more evident with solid colors and flat paint its recommended that you use at least an eggshell finish and consider trying your hand at a faux finish to give your wall some other visual interest to distract from any pattern and imperfection.

There is a chance that if you apply multiple layers of paint you can eliminate or reduce the appearance of wallpaper patterns or flaws.

Remember when painting over wallpaper that you’re actually creating more layers and thickening the paper which will make it even harder to remove in the future.

So if you’re considering painting over wallpaper just to avoid taking it down you’re probably going to cause more problems in the long run and you’re better off removing the wallpaper.

But if your wallpaper is not going to budge without pulling off some drywall then painting over the wallpaper is probably the best option for you. For reference, here are some home decoration ideas for your wall.

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