Tired of that wild wallpaper that came with the purchase of your home? Looking to redo a wall with paper that’s no longer in style? Found multiple layers of wallpaper on your walls? Removing wallpaper is a tedious and messy job! The question is, can you paint over wallpaper? 

Can you paint over wallpaper? 

The best approach is to remove wallpaper and all residual adhesive before painting. Sometimes, because of multiple layers of paper and/or the condition of the wall beneath, this is not possible. In these cases, painting over the paper may be the best solution. Be aware that fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper cannot be painted. If you decide to paint over existing wallpaper, good preparation is essential.

Steps for painting over wallpaper:

If you decide painting over your wallpaper is the best choice, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. This will ensure the best results. 

  • Clean: Begin by vacuuming the walls to remove dust. Using a damp sponge/cloth and a mild detergent, remove grime and dirt. Rinse with clear water. Avoid getting moisture in the seams of the paper. If your walls are greasy, clean them with a diluted solution of (Trisodium Phosphate) TSP (½ cup TSP per gallon of water).
  • Repair: Use a thin layer of wallpaper seam adhesive to reattach peeling edges and/or seams. If the wallpaper has a texture, sand the wall until smooth. Patch flaws with drywall mud. Let dry, then sand. 
  • Remove switch plates and outlet covers.
  • Mask off any areas you don’t want to be painted (windowsills, door jambs, moulding, baseboards, etc.). Use low adhesive tape. 
  • Prime: Use an oil-based primer as water-based products will soak into the wallpaper and loosen the adhesive. Let dry. The primer will seal the paper from moisture and prevent the inks from bleeding. 
  • Paint like you would any other surface. You’ll likely need two coats. Allow adequate drying time between.
  • Clean up: Remove the masking tape and replace the switch and outlet covers. Label leftover paint (colour, date used, room used in) and store it in a cool dry location away from sunlight and where the temperature stays above freezing. If you don’t have the storage area to house leftover paint or don’t want the clutter, consider donating leftover paint to someone who can use it (an artist, a theatre group). 

If you have multiple layers of wallpaper and/or the condition of the wall beneath the paper is poor, consider painting over it. Not up to the task? Call a professional painter. They have the knowledge, experience and skill to make your paint project a success and ensure lasting results.

Looking for a painting company that ensures quality results? Call the Calgary painting experts, Cal Res Coatings at (403) 835-4817. We’re a residential painting contractor that strives for quality, has an eye for detail and colour, and will not rest until your job is done to your satisfaction. Request a free quote today.

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