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
It would be best to strip off all the old wall paper before painting. If you decide to take the easy way out and paint over the wall paper, what would happen if the wall paper starting peeling off the wall. Then you would have double the work to do.
Definitely strip it. Peel off what you can. What's left behind can be easily removed mixing a spray bottle of 1:1 water and liquid fabric softener (cheap stuff is fine). Spray it on and scrape it off. Don't use a wallpaper scraper, it will take chunks of wall out. A plastic ice scraper or plastic spatula will work best.
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. ;-)
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.
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.
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