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

March 14, 20100 found this helpful

I don't think anybody ever bothered to do that in the house that I grew up in. I don't know how many families lived in it before we did, but there was wallpaper on the walls when we moved in and my Mother repapered several times after that. We didn't paper real often because we were low income, the old paper had to be really bad before we repapered. If I remember right, my mother made home made paste for the job. My Aunt did the same thing putting it on over the top of the old. My folks moved out of their farm house in 1977 and the place is still standing, I don't know if the current owners have done anything different to the inside or not.

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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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March 22, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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