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Painting Over Wallpaper

Category Painting
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.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
July 24, 2011

Can I paint sheetrock with wallpaper already on it?

By Flo

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July 26, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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:)

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July 26, 20110 found this helpful

Some people do; some people don't. I wouldn't, because I think it would look tacky, and I think it would be a nightmare to remove the paper after that. But that is just my opinion. I have seen decorators do so on TV, but then I've seen them put moss on bedroom walls and paint upholstered furniture, too.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 27, 2011

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

By Bonnie from Cedar Rapids, IA

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April 29, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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May 29, 20170 found this helpful

What happens when paper does lift? Will it shrink when dry?

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By 0 found this helpful
December 1, 2015

I am attempting to paint over wallpaper flaws with the same color flat paint. The cream color, where painted, has a bluish shadow. Nothing works! One person said to paint the paper with a dark brown color and after cream paint was applied, it still has the blue shadow. Even bleach will not help. Lowe's does not have the paper anymore since it is at least 10 years old. Any suggestions would be much appreciated by not having to do all rooms!

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December 3, 20150 found this helpful

I just got off the phone from a very nice CSR at Lowe's Corporate Office. He said he has never heard of anything like this, & cannot figure out how the cream color paint is showing a bluish hue color from the repair patches over the original 10 year old vinyl wallpaper. (Guess I win the prize for that.) We live very close to our Lowe's store & we have exhausted every delimma possible of finding a 'cause/remedy' effect from this project. He said the Kilz, tinted primer we also tried as a remedy should have taken care of the problem from painting the little flaws & dings on the wallpaper that occurs over a 10 year old time frame. Maybe a second attempt at this puzzling & challenging problem will finally have a successful outcome. I will be doing a "Happy Dance" & hopefully be able to post the results of it online.

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December 10, 20150 found this helpful

My husband took a left-over piece wallpaper & went to our Gibsons' Ace Hardware. A nice man that has many years of paint related experience & knowledge suggested to my husband to always use Kilz oil based...for every project involving paint related projects. He said he never uses regular Kilz on any project. After he matched the paint 'cream color' of the wallpaper that we had from a left-over small sample, he seems he has a very close color we needed for 'patch' of scuffs, etc., that might occur. He reiterated that he never uses regular Kilz, & he only uses Kilz oil based. He has been painting for over 25 years & has seen everything...except for mine! Once again, I "get the prize" for finding a solution that only I could have started. He suggested to let the Kilz dry for 24 hrs., then apply the paint over the wallpaper flaws & let it dry for another 24 hrs. as well. If this is the remedy that we are hoping for, I am crossing my fingers for a successful outcome & my "Happy Dance" will be soon....

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August 14, 20110 found this helpful

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

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August 18, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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August 14, 20110 found this helpful

About 40-50 years ago when I was a really young kid, people just plain painted over wall paper. Of course back then the paint was all oil base, and I don't know if that would make any difference or not.

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November 28, 20131 found this helpful

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

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December 2, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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By 1 found this helpful
February 7, 2011

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

By Jim from Waynesboro, PA

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February 8, 20110 found this helpful
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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.

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June 28, 20130 found this helpful

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

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June 29, 20130 found this helpful

Yes, you can always paint over wallpaper. Choose a great color and have fun. As long as there are no loose edges; if there are, glue those down.

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June 30, 20130 found this helpful

I have never done so, but I have seen it done many times on the TV decorating shows. You must make sure that it is not a vinyl wallpaper, as paint will not stick to that without special prep. My sister in law lived in a very old house and actually papered over the walls with plain white textured paper, and then painted; it was apparently what the wallpaper was intended for. However, I wonder why you would not remove the wallpaper. I think it is not too hateful a job to take it off the wall, if you have the right products and equipment, but I think it would be a nightmare to get it off after it was painted over. Just asking.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 14, 2007

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?

Laks

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By guest (Guest Post)
May 3, 20080 found this helpful

I have to paint my entire house inside as well as do the outside around the windows and doors. so I figure 32 years ought to get the job done! Well I have a lot of books I picked up at Home Depot. I found a booklet on kitchens by Behr. Now I know they are expensive, you do not have to use the paint you can go for something cheaper. But we have found cheaper is not better but there have been those times where we had no choice. What I am looking at is a light peach kitchen now one has trim around the top, what they are doing now I have been trying to do for years but you know how life is. At any rate in one picture what they have done is used a glazed pecan over the top of the peach. It looks like a peach with a tint of a warm light gold, and what they have done is used the ragging technique which is easy you just need to ask someone at the paint store what to do.

The kitchen really looks nice with this it look really rich. Now you can paint a darker peach color for your doors around the frame and in the middle of the door you can paint a lighter color of peach. The one you used for your kitchen and it looks great. They also use in another picture a Carmel Latte 260-7 and paint a medium sized stripe around the middle of the wall. Then they have pictures on the wall with greens in them the color is called dill pickle 420d-7. That color of green I don't know about. But yes you may use green, beige, brown and white.

Now I liked the color summer breeze 450E-3, it is a cool green color color, and since your kitchen is cool you might like that much better rather then looking at a dill pickle I just cant believe my eyes! But go to the paint store and talk to someone and they can really help you out with colors. Oh and yes the other girls are right you really need to remove the wall paper. If it is old as it sounds it should come off pretty easy. You can spray it down with water or rent a steamer then scrape, believe me that is one way you will get your exercise, but it beats doing all the work you want to do and then have it peel. That will definitely have you out in the back yard screaming. Also you can paint the counter tops. There is so much to do.

It is just unbelievable but they can get you moving at the paint store. Make sure your hubby goes too otherwise they become traumatized when they get the bill or look at the color scheme. Well I see a lot of potential for something beautiful! Good Luck and I hope I have not just traumatized you! Good Luck and oh yea one of the rooms I will be painting will be a peach color, you have good taste I see. Have Fun. I hope it all works the way you want it. Darlene

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 9, 20080 found this helpful

I have painted over wallpaper and it looked beautiful! That is until I had to use the vaporizer. I woke up and all the wallpeper was laying on the floor or hanging down. The paint had been done 5 years earlier too! At least I knew how to remove the rest of the wallpaper!

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By 0 found this helpful
September 18, 2010

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

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Anonymous
September 20, 20100 found this helpful

As long as the wallpaper isn't bubbled or peeling/lifting and you simply want an easy convenient fix until a later date (even a couple of years down the road), then you most certainly can paint over the wallpaper and it will be no more difficult to remove the wallpaper with a coat of paint or two on it at a later date! I know this first hand. ;-)

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September 21, 20100 found this helpful

As Deeli said, unless it looks damp or smells musty I'd leave it. You never know what the paper is covering up. I stripped a room once and found loads of small holes drilled in the walls. Invisible under the paper but not if painted. I took one look and papered it over again! No idea why so many holes, there were hundreds! I painted over the paper in the rest of the house.

Marg from England.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 18, 2008

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

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 22, 20080 found this helpful

We did have wallpaper in our bathroom. We didn't put sizing on the walls before wallpapering. We removed the wallpaper using hot water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, and what a mess we had. We went to Home Depot and found a sand additive that you add to paint. It turned out so well.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 22, 20080 found this helpful

My girlfriend also used a concentrate of 50/50 water and fabric softener (cheap from the dollar store), sprayed it really wet onto the wallpaper and let it soak until the paper began to bubble. She said it was a breeze! It peeled off in large strips. She was shocked that this advice actually worked. You may want to try a small inconspicuous corner by the floor to see if it will penetrate through the paint that is on top of the wallpaper.

Hope it works. Other than stripping the paper, i have no ideas. Blessings!

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By 0 found this helpful
March 13, 2010

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

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March 14, 20100 found this helpful

All the Pros will tell you that you are supposed to remove all the old wallpaper before putting up new wallpaper. But what a hassle! I've found that most of the time you don't really have to.

For example: When I moved in to my first home, back in the mid 1980's the previous owner had put up horrible gold-foil wallpaper & we didn't want to spend the time taking all that nasty wallpaper down, so we simply primed the wallpaper then painted over it. Well, several years later I wanted to go with an antique Victorian theme, so I put wallpaper up over the old paint & the previous wallpaper & it turned out perfectly & held up for many years. Of course every case is different!

The worse thing that can happen is, you may have a little of this wallpaper that may bubble or small bits may come away from the wall. But all these can easily be fixed! If you do get a bubble (I didn't) simply pop it with a pin. If your paper starts to come away from the wall, simply use a bit of Elmer's glue to put it back the way it was.

Before you paper over paper I would recommend you first use one of the new "high-adhesive" primers, preferably in a matte sheen (NOT Glossy or semi-gloss!) like Zinsser 1-2-3 or Gripper. The primer will help seal the old wallpaper & it's seams. This is really important if your old paper is dark in color. Make sure you won't be able to see through the new paper.

---> To be extra sure your old paper will hold the weight of the new paper, only paper one wall the first day, then wait overnight or for a day or 2 to make absolutely sure!

* Of course if you old paper is flocked or dimensional, then of course you wouldn't even attempt to paper over it!

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March 16, 20100 found this helpful

I hate wallpaper; it's too hard to remove if you decide you don't want it and I don't see it much in the newer homes. I think it's becoming outdated. If you get tired of the color of a painted wall; no problem painting is easy and cheap. I just painted over wallpaper in my kitchen and in one bathroom. Just last week helped a neighbor paint over hers. The key is the paper has to be glued down really good. The places that were peeling we just re-glued. I used a Kiltz primer on my walls but my neighbor did not but it took two coats of paint and turned out beautifully. Also, the rollers we used gave the walls a little bit of a texture. You may wanna try this; it's way easier that papering.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 6, 2014

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

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April 8, 20140 found this helpful

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.

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June 9, 20130 found this helpful

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

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June 17, 20130 found this helpful

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!

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By 0 found this helpful
June 27, 2008

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?

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June 28, 20080 found this helpful

Nicole, is there a glossy finish on the wallpaper? Many paints have a hard time adhering to a high gloss finish. I would think that if you use a quality primer first, and then paint over it, that you would have good results. I painted over black, vinyl wallpaper once, using a tinted primer and then a latex paint and it worked just fine. Good luck to you and your redecorating project!

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 28, 20080 found this helpful

We did the brown bag on my daughters walls and waited until all the glue was dry and then painted the color she wanted...which was a deep chocolate...it looks great.

I say go for it!

Good luck!

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By 0 found this helpful
January 31, 2005

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

Goldenboggs

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February 1, 20050 found this helpful

I don't know what to tell you to do about what you've already painted over, but if you decide to paint over wallpaper in the future, use a base of oil paint and then paint your latex over it. I learned this tip from my best friend who has rental homes.

I did this is in my living room and it works. Three years later and it still looks great. Just make sure you use the oil paint in a well ventilated area and make sure you tape off everything well as it's not easy to remove oil paint.

Wendy

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April 13, 20050 found this helpful

Today I helped a friend paper a bathroom in the most unique way I've ever seen. I'd prefer this over painting any day.Sounds to me like you've got wall problems anyway,and it's going to cost a lot to be able to paint. It took 2 rolls to do this job--(Imagine doing a room with cheap paper-- wouldn"t that be nice?) HERE"S THE PROCEDURE: TEAR medium sized peices dipping in the water and putting on the wall. These will be different sizes and shapes because you are TEARING the pieces.. Continue to dip and paste until your wall is covered. Do not use straight edged except to do the top,bottom and to trim around outlets,etc.You will still tear this paper only leaving the straight edge.This gives the paper a textured look and turns out prettier than painting. However I would not recommend this procedure for floral paper, just a solid or a sort of stone type design. This would be a great cover for problem walls.She learned about this procedure at a Lowes store.

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October 21, 20140 found this helpful

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

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October 3, 20130 found this helpful

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

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By 0 found this helpful
January 14, 2013

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

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February 7, 20110 found this helpful

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. Remember to always allow time for drying (curing) etc.

Five years ago I applied a coat of Zinsser 1-2-3 Primer and then painted over it. To this day it still looks great and is holding quite well. I also painted a stucco type paint over a wall that was covered in a fabric/cloth wallpaper and it too still appears to be in excellent shape.

By brushoff from Oshawa, Canada

It Was Common

When I was young nobody primed wall paper before painting over it. They just plain painted over it and that was good. This was back in 40s-50s.

By redhatterb

Removal Will Be a Chore

I feel sorry for anyone who buys your house. Removing wallpaper that has been painted over is really a chore. I know, I have done it. I hope anyone who does this plans on leaving it there forever.

By Laniegirl

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November 8, 20100 found this helpful

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

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May 6, 20100 found this helpful

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

Primer

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

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August 3, 20090 found this helpful

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

Elzadia from Beach Park, IL

Kilz

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

Kilz

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

Sandpaper

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

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