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Painting Over Wallpaper

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Painting Over Wallpaper, Vintage Peeling Wallaper

Wallpaper can be very difficult to remove throughly, especially if there is more then one layer of it. Painting over old wallpaper is sometimes the best option. This is a guide about painting over wallpaper.



Here are questions related to Painting Over Wallpaper.

Question: Painting Over Wallpaper

Can I paint sheetrock with wallpaper already on it?

By Flo


Best Answer

By Frugal Sunnie [11]07/26/2011

As other posters have said, if the wallpaper is in good shape you can paint over it-I have many times. I've even pulled off the 'came off easy' stuff (bubbled, peeling, etc), sanded the edges smooth, and applied a sponge effect paint job to camouflage the slightly uneven surfaces. Doing that saved me trying to get the 'there forever' stuff off, and looked pretty good. :)

The thing to be sure of is the type of wallpaper you are trying to paint over-is it paper, cloth, vinyl? Is it textured? All of those factors make a difference-painting over a textured wallpaper of any composition will only make the wallpaper a different colour-the paint WON'T fill in the textures to make it a smooth flat surface, for example. Painting over vinyl means using a different sort of paint than you would over most paper or cloth wallpapers-read the paint label to be sure it will adhere to the surface you are trying to paint.

I also suggest using a high quality primer appropriate to the material of the wallpaper as this will act as a slight fill if you've had to do fine sanding to blend edges where you've removed a bit of peeling paper. It will also neutralize any possible grease or other stain, and will prevent bleed-through of the wallpaper design you are trying to cover.

GrammyV has a good thought going-you might think about testing a small area first to make sure the paper is strong to enough to support the paint. Even applied in thin coats, wet paint will possibly do just what she warns about. This would happen in an older house with wallpaper dating back to the late Sixties; vinyl wallpaper became popular after that and it became REALLY popular in the Eighties.

And lol, if you get good at it, you can make spare money with your newly acquired skills-I did:)

Question: What Type of Paint is Best to Use Over Wallpaper?

Do you use an oil base paint or latex when painting over wallpaper?

By Bonnie from Cedar Rapids, IA


Best Answer

By beth [1]04/29/2011

Use an oil primer with a latex paint topcoat. The use of the oil primer is generally recommended because the wallpaper paste is a waterborne product so using a latex could lift the paper which can lead to a bigger problem. They make several products now days that are quick dry oils to speed up the process (at Sherwin-Williams it is the multipurpose oil primer, dry time 1Hr). Then once the surface is secure the latex is a more friendly topcoat.

Question: Painting Over Wallpaper

I have to paint over wallpaper, I have no choice. I tried a steamer and every wall paper remover made by man; it's not happening. Any successful suggestions?

By Denise

Best Answer

By Frugal Sunnie [11]08/18/2011

You sure can paint over stubborn wallpaper! Use a fine grit sand paper to smooth any edges from bits you have been able to remove, then use a coat of a good quality primer to keep any pattern colour or bold lines from bleeding, then paint away-use a roller for a smooth application, or a brush if the paper is textured.

Question: Painting Over Wallpaper

Can I paint over tight wallpaper if I apply a coat of oil Kilz on the wallpaper first?

By Jim from Waynesboro, PA

Best Answer

By Rob [1]02/08/2011

I don't know what you mean by "tight" wallpaper, nor have I heard of "oil Kilz", but I have painted over wallpaper many times. If the wallpaper is smooth, like a plain wall, then use a roller. If it is textured, then a brush (about 10 cm / 4 in.) is better. Don't make the first coat too thick, as this can wet the paper and it can bubble up. If you do get air bubbles rising up, just leave them until the paint dries. In most cases the paper will dry and shrink again, flattening out.

Question: Removing Air Bubbles on Painted Wallpaper

How do I get rid of air bubbles that have occured after painting over wallpaper? Also the paint has dried and the bubbles haven't gone. I would appreciate your help.

By Rose B

Most Recent Answer

By Tina K [1]12/02/2013

Why, oh why, did you paint over wallpaper? That was your first mistake. I would scrape it all off and start over, but if you don't want to do that, take a sharp x-acto knife and make a small slit in the bubble. Insert a small bit of wallpaper adhesive with a toothpick. Press down on bubble. Let it dry completely, then repaint.

Question: Paint Color Advice - Painting Over Peach Wallpaper

I have white cabinets with peach hardware, peach wallpaper, white trim, peach laminate countertops and dark brick color linoleum floor tile. I want to paint the wallpaper. I am not sure what color would go with the existing countertop? The rest of the house is softer tan and macadamia (sherwin williams) paint. Any advice would help?


Most Recent Answer

By Bonnie Varga [18]10/09/2008

I love your kitchen the way it is, but can understand you might just be tired of it. I know it's a bit outdated now, but I've always loved the blue/peach combination--it has to be the right shade of blue though, a real light powder blue doesn't work, it has to be a bit darker to look right. Good luck!

Question: Covering Wallpapered Walls with Texture and Paint

I've moved into a place where someone painted over wallpaper in my kitchen. Then the person who did it tried a glazing effect; it's uneven, I don't like the color (too dark). Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do with this room. Removing the wallpaper is not an option. It's stuck down good.

And I don't want to paper again as the room is quite large. Don't want to spend a lot of money. I really don't like the look of smooth walls and I'm wondering if anyone of you has used any of the textured products on the market? How easy was it to use and were you pleased with the results?

Betty from TX

Most Recent Answer

By Armen Rego06/17/2008

I've used Vertistone a textured wall product made by
on a recomendation from the store manager at Aboffs Paints on LI. It was easy to use, the store manager lent me the how to dvd, by the way its on the company's website, see to make the differnt looks I figure I saved easily $1000, it cost me $100 for a gallon, a quart, a rag roller, tape and tray this was enough to do my 300 sqft home office in the dream lace look. you need a gallon and a quart, it will cost around $80. First choose two color's, the base goes on first just roll out like paint (its a light texture) then use a rag roller to put on second color on top, then you knock it down, for best color combinations use same color, the base coat 100% of color and the top coat around 70% of stregth of same color sligly lighter, gives you very attractive subtle contrast, very elegant. Very happy with results. I don't have a photo but I'll take one next time I rember and post it.

Question: Is It Better to Strip or Paint Over Wallpaper?

We are moving into a farmhouse soon and want to do some redecorating. One room has old wall paper in it. Shall we try to strip it or is it best to just paint over it? Any advice would be appreciated.

By Sheila from Ontario, Canada

Most Recent Answer

By Louise B. [6]09/21/2010

I always think it is better to strip the paper, however, if you are not sure about what is underneath and think that you might have something weird and not just gyprock, you might want to leave it. My sister lived in a house built in the 30's with poorly plastered walls that were very rough. She purposely papered over the walls before she painted.

Question: Painting Over Textured Wallpaper

I have some "very expensive at the time" textured wallpaper (hung by a professional) that's a light blue color. I'm wondering if I can simply paint over it to update the color?

By Pat from Oak Lawn, IL

Most Recent Answer

By Lizzyanny [9]07/02/2013

You can paint over it. But you will then not be able to remove it without great difficulty. Most wallpaper just peels off. If you decide to paint use a paint that is not water based, and know that whoever has to peel the painted wallpaper will resent you forever.

Question: Papering Over Existing Wallpaper

If you are going to put on more paste and wallpaper, do you have to remove all the old wallpaper and paste?

By Ray from Columbus, OH

Most Recent Answer

By Rachel's Mom [277]03/22/2010

Yes, you can wallpaper over existing wallpaper. You just don't want the seams from the new wallpaper to end up in the same place as those of the existing wallpaper. The guy at Sherwin-Williams paint store said that as long as there are no loose seams on the existing wallpaper and you put a primer over the existing wallpaper, you will be fine. I re-wallpapered my kitchen after following his advice and it still looks good many years later.

Question: Problems Painting Over Wallpaper

I painted a room in my house without knowing that the previous paint job was done over wallpaper. The problem is the paper is starting to bubble under the paint. Is there anything that I can do to fix this without redoing the whole room?
Thanks goldenboggs


Most Recent Answer

By Rosemary [2]11/20/2006

You "might" be able to use Kiltz over it then primier then paint it again. I would ask the local Paint store first,or try looking it up online to see if there is a place you can get PROFESSIONAL tips from too. This one is from a woman who just does things herself(ME) then sees if it works. Good luck :)

Question: Painting Over Brown Bag Wallpaper

I am repairing a wall that has been brown bag wallpapered and the brown bags are different shades of brown. Can I paint over this and just have textured wallpaper?

Most Recent Answer

By Kim [2]06/28/2008

Sure can i did this at my farmhouse it was simple and looked like expensive treated walls!

Question: Painted Wallpaper Lifting on Edges

I have a room that was painted over wallpaper and because I wanted a change of color I had it painted again. Now I find that most of the edges have lifted. What can I do apart from starting from scratch and probably doing more damage.

By Kathy from New Zealand

Most Recent Answer

By Sandi/Poor But Proud [446]04/08/2014

If you don't mind a bit of work, and a small amount of money, you can find really good deals on molding, both flat and corner. This will not only keep your edges from curling, but make it permanent once the paint if redone. If you want to repaint in the future, this molding comes off easy and goes back up just as easy.

Question: Painting Wallpaper That's On a Box

I've covered a large cardboard box with wallpaper to make my grandson an army tank fancy costume. My problem is that now that I've spray painted it camouflage colors the paint won't dry. What can I do?

By Iris

Most Recent Answer

By Frugal Sunnie [11]06/17/2013

Sounds as though you used a vinyl wallpaper-paint won't stick on vinyl wallpaper. Is there time for you to strip off the vinyl wallpaper and use a paper one? That will take paint; your grandson is going to love it!

Question: Removing Wallpaper Backing from Wall

I have been trying to remove the backing off an old plaster wall that had not been prepared properly. It is just not coming off. I tried all kinds of glue remover. It takes hours for one little spot. Could I paint over it?

By Carol

Question: Painting Over Bathroom Waterproof Paper

Can I paint over thick bathroom paper, like tiling on a roll paper? I am looking to use proper bathroom paint. The walls are so bad in my old cottage, I would have to take all the paper off and have the walls replastered otherwise

By Chris from Wales

Question: Painting Over Textured Wallpaper

I am currently painting over a textured vinyl wallpaper. I have cut in the ceiling and edges with a brush. Then I rolled the rest of the wall. After drying, I am able to see all of the spots I cut in at first. I believe it is because in those areas, the paint is now thicker and the texture is not as deep. If I use a thicker roller will this even out the walls or how can I fix? If I brush it will it even out?

By Debbie

Solutions: Painting Over Wallpaper

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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Painting Over Wallpaper

I'm just wondering if its possible to paint over old wallpaper? Our home is old and there must be 5 layers of wallpaper and we don't really want to have to go through all that trouble of stripping off wallpaper. Our cupboards in the kitchen hide over half of the walls anyway.

We're giving our kitchen a makeover with new cupboards and counters so I wanted to add new paint or something to the old yellowish color wallpaper that's been up there forever.

Any suggestions on if this is possible or not?

Thank you,
Yvonne from Ontario

You Can Paint Over Wallpaper

You can paint on wallpaper. You do not have to prime the wall first. However you might have to do two coats of paint depending on the wallpaper color. You might even want to buy a Magic Roller (you can find them at WalMart) and use the Wallpaper as part of the background. It really is a neat tool.

By Jo

The Paper Can Fall Off

The first time I painted over wallpaper, I did so because I didn't want to have to remove the paper. However, after applying the paint, the paper came loose and then it just peeled right off all in whole strips. I don't know why, as I have painted over some recently, and it stayed on the wall.

By Aneita

Remove It Instead

An easy way to remove wallpaper is by using liquid fabric softener. I had some wallpaper cutouts on my wall & I poured some fabric softener on a wet sponge, wiped over the cutouts & within minutes, just peeled them off. For all over wallpaper, I'd suggest putting a mixture of 75% fabric softener & 25% water in a spray bottle & spraying the walls down.

By Petfinder

Be Careful

I'd be careful! The moisture from the paint will penetrate non-vinyl wallpaper. That's what would make it peel off the wall as Aneita stated. If it's vinyl wallpaper it wouldn't soak through, but you'd still have to watch out at the seams where it still could get underneath! You really are better in the long run to remove it. The fabric softener trick really works good. Time consuming -- but not tough to do. (08/03/2005)

By carolb

Don't Do It

Please don't do this! I speak from experience. I bought a home that had professionally wall-papered bathroom. Although the paper was perfectly applied, I wanted to do another, more personal, look. I looked online for advice, and selected the easiest and spackled, sanded and primed the walls and seams; and then painted over. I have done this twice so far in 2 yrs. and am still unsatisfied with the results.

I then decided to remove the wallpaper, which is now all but impossible, and ended up damaging the wall board beneath. I am left with paying expensive professional painters fees to rectify my mistakes. had i taken the time and effort to remove the wallpaper in the first place I would be done with the job and saved money. some things are best left to the professionals. When you want a quality job done right, you can't cut corners to save a few bucks. It only ends up costing u more in the end.

By Debbie

Vinegar for Removal

Vinegar mixed with warm water in a squirt bottle works fabulous. White vinegar, about a cup, then fill bottle with warm/hot water. Spray on wallpaper, let sit for a few minute and peel right off. My daughter did 5 rooms in the same amount of time it took her to scrape 1 room.

By Barbara

Oil Based Primer

When painting over wallpaper is unavoidable, use an oil-based primer first and the paper will not buckle beneath the paint.

By Patricia

Starched Fabric Alternative

I have a friend who wanted a different look in a rental property and she starched fabric over the existing wallpaper and it turned out REALLY nice. Just saturate the fabric in full strength liquid starch and hang like wallpaper. Trim edges after dry. When you want to change your look it peels right off. (08/08/2005)

By Michelle

Archive: Painting Over Wallpaper

We have a mobile home with pre-papered wallboard. Can we paint over it and how?

Elzadia from Beach Park, IL


First of all, use Kilz on all the walls, then primer over that then paint. You could just paint over the Kiltz, but I would use a primer first just to make sure the paint adheres to the wall properly since it is a mobile home.

By grammaoftwo


We just finished a mobile home and I painted right over the wallpaper. I didn't use Kilz or a primer, that would be a waste of money. I just used plain old paint right over th paper, did the trick. The paint hid the old wallpaper and looked really nice. We also painted the paneling too. It looks so good, didn't primer it either.

By imaqt1962


I've painted both my bathrooms in my mobile home, and all I had to do is scuff up the walls completely with some light weight sand paper. Try not to skip any areas. I don't have the energy or money to do all the fancy stuff. I just scuff and paint, I used a good quality mold paint for my bathroom. I've had no problems at all of it staying on. It did take an extra coat where it soaked in though. I just allowed a little extra paint. This way will give you some "texture" also to your wall, which I like. I also applied border to it, and it held up fine. No problems.

By Glinda

Archive: Painting Over Vinyl Wallpaper

How do I paint over vinyl wallpaper?

By mandgtie from Madelia, MN

Primer for Wallpaper

Check with your wallpaper/paint dept at Lowe's or Home Depot (or specialty store). I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember seeing primer to put on top of wallpaper. I'm usually putting the wallpaper on. (08/04/2009)

By tejasridgerunner


I just painted over wallpaper. I was told that if the wallpaper is shinny that you need a primer. That's what I did. Make sure all the seams are glued down tight. Mine turned out beautifully.

By TXBetty

Archive: Painting Over Wallpaper

Is it OK to paint over wallpaper?

By Mary from FL

Lots of Work Down the Road

I would recommend that you do not. The previous owners of our house painted over some wall paper. At first, it looked fine. But a couple years down the road, the paper underneath started to peel. We had a terrible time removing it. It's much easier to remove paper that has not been painted on. Yes, it's more work now but it will save a ton of work later.

By cdoss

Archive: Painting Over Wallpaper

People often ask if wallpaper can be painted over. The answer is yes, if it is smooth with no tears. You might want to give it a good wiping down first with a good sized dry cloth.