Can You Paint Over Wallpaper?

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You’ve just bought your first house and you love everything about it, from the front porch to the back patio. Everything except that dining room wallpaper. So, now you’re standing in the dining room wondering, can you paint over wallpaper? At Blue Dog Pro Painters, Dallas, Texas painters, we are here to help.

Can You Paint Over Wallpaper?

Is Painting Over Wallpaper the Best Solution?

Before you slap some paint over the paper, ask yourself a couple of questions.

Are you planning on staying in the house for a while? If so, it’s worth exploring, stripping the wallpaper before you paint. But that comes with its own issues, including revealing old nail holes, degraded drywall or plaster, and the potential that the wallpaper layer you’re staring down may just be one of many.

Stripping is time-consuming and you can accidentally gouge the walls, especially if the paper is old and stubborn. If you’ve already tried stripping the paper and it’s not coming off easily, don’t risk damaging the walls.

Also, if the room you’re painting is small, like a bathroom or home office, the time and labor you spend stripping the paper may not be worth it.

In these cases, painting is a good option.


What You’ll Need

Painting over wallpaper requires you to work with strong chemicals, so protect your eyes, skin, and hair before you start. Here’s what you need:

  • Clothes and shoes that cover as much skin as possible
  • Disposable gloves (rubber or vinyl work well)
  • A hat
  • Eye goggles (if you wear glasses, get the kind that fit over them)

If you have allergies or asthma, or if you’re concerned about lung health, invest in an inexpensive respirator mask. At a minimum, open as many windows as you can for cross-ventilation.


Can You Paint Without Priming?

Old wallpapers adhered to the wall with a chemical compound known as sizing. This helped protect plaster walls from moisture. But if you paint sizing, it can stain through your paint if you don’t seal it. So, before you paint, you’ll need an oil-based or shellac-based primer.

Oil-based primers take longer to dry than other paints, and they off-gas smell unhealthy chemicals. But they’re great at hiding wallpaper patterns and covering glue or stains. Just make sure your oil-based primer will work with water-based latex paint.

Another option is a shellac-based primer, which isn’t as smelly and dries in 15-30 minutes. You can use latex over this primer.

Keep mineral spirits on hand to clean up any spills and your brushes when using an oil-based primer. For shellac-based products, use denatured alcohol.


Prep The Room

Clean your walls with a damp rag to remove any dirt and dust. Don’t make the rag too wet; you don’t want to saturate the paper. Then tape the trim and around the floors and move or cover the furniture.

Once the walls are clean, repair peeling areas or exposed seams by carefully trimming off the paper with a sheetrock knife and paint primer over the spot to seal it. After you’ve sealed the paper, let it dry, then spackle any holes or dings in the wall, and sand the walls with 150-180 grit sandpaper to even out the surface. Then wipe the walls once more with a damp cloth to get rid of any new dust.


Painting Over that Wallpaper

Once the primer dries, you’re ready to paint over your wallpaper, just like you’d paint any other wall.

To sum up, can you paint over wallpaper? Yes, if you follow a few easy rules for prepping and priming first, your project will succeed.


About Blue Dog Pro Painters

Blue Dog Painting, LLC, DBA Blue Dog Pro Painters is a family-owned and operated business serving residential and commercial customers in the Fort Worth and Dallas metropolitan areas. Our services include interior and exterior painting, deck and fence refinishing, and specialty floor epoxy coating. We are not a franchise. We are a family. And we hope to serve you and your family’s home and commercial painting needs!


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