Painting Over Wallpaper: Should It Stay Or Go?

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Painting Over Wallpaper: Should It Stay Or Go?

27 March 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


Whether you've bought a new property that is in need of major renovations, or are simply tired of the current style of your home, covering the walls with a fresh coat of paint can breathe life back into your house. If any of those walls are covered with wallpaper, you might be wondering if you should take the time to pull it down, or simply ask the professionals to paint over it. Here are a few of the ins and outs of painting over wallpaper, and a few strategies to help you take it down before the professionals arrive:

Leave the Wallpaper Where It Is

Removing the wallpaper is advisable in most instances. However, there are still times when you should consider leaving the wallpaper where it is. For example, if the wallpaper is secure, and removing it could damage the wall beneath it, it's often the best idea to leave it alone. Sometimes, if there is damage to the plaster or drywall under the wallpaper, the layers of paper are the only thing keeping the walls together.

If you're on a tight schedule and you don't have the time to remove the wallpaper, this is another instance when it's okay to leave it up. However, be aware that if the wallpaper is peeling or textured, it will be noticeable under the fresh coat of paint.

If you're not sure whether you should leave the wallpaper where it is, don't hesitate to ask your painter for some advice.

When Pulling Wallpaper Down Is the Right Call

In most cases, pulling down the wallpaper is the right call. Here are a few instances where you should take the time to pull down all the wallpaper throughout your house:

  • When there is noticeable peeling and damage that would impede the painter's ability to create a beautiful finished product
  • The wallpaper is textured
  • The wallpaper is made from vinyl, which is notoriously difficult to paint over
  • The wallpaper features seams that will be noticeable through the paint

Finally, one of the biggest reasons why you should consider pulling down the wallpaper is that once you paint over it, the paint will be very difficult to remove. Chances are, you will be stuck with that color for many years, or will have to pay more to purchase a special primer to cover up the existing paint.

Tips for Removing Wallpaper

Now that you've decided pulling down the wallpaper is the best option, it's time to start this chore. Luckily, there are several simple tips and tricks you can utilize that will make the job much easier. Here are a few:

  1. Take the time to score the wallpaper before removing it. This will help any product you utilize to strip the paper soak into more effectively.
  2. Hot water is often the best method to remove wallpaper. Many times, if the wallpaper wasn't adhered to the wall properly, steam or a stripping chemical will damage the plaster or drywall underneath.
  3. Invest in a pump sprayer. The pump sprayer is then used to apply hot water to the wallpaper. Start with one wall and let the water soak in for several minutes before attempting to remove the paper.
  4. If hot water isn't effective, try a commercial wallpaper remover. Mix the concentrated remover with water and apply it according to the package directions.
  5. When in doubt, hire a professional. If there are several layers of wallpaper, or if you're afraid to damage the drywall or plaster underneath, don't hesitate to leave this chore to a professional.

Once all the wallpaper is down, HGTV recommends washing the walls with a damp sponge and allowing them to dry for several days before applying any paint.

The final decision of whether to remove wallpaper or paint over it should be made only after you consider all the factors. If you have any further questions about painting over wallpaper, don't hesitate to ask a professional painting service like M.S. Service Inc. for help. 

About Me
Working With Professional Contractors

I have never been much of a DIY-er, but when I moved into my first home, I decided to try my hand at a few projects. My ideas blew up in my face--badly. I found myself struggling to put wiring back together and to repair the lawn that I had butchered. Instead of trying to clean up the mess and make things right on my own, I contacted a team of professional contractors for help. They were amazing to work with. They went through and worked room by room to repair my mistakes, and it was really incredible to see the difference they made.

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