Can You Paint Over Wallpaper? Or Apply Wallpaper Over Paint?

Last modified on February 22nd, 2019 at 11:15 am

4 min read

There’s a point in every home owner or renter’s journey when he or she wonders whether painting over wallpaper is a good idea or not. What about wallpapering painted walls? You’re in a fix too? Read on to clear your doubts!
(This is a chapter of a bigger guide on wallpapers.)

painting over wallpaper

Here’s what this post will help you with:

  • Is painting over wallpaper possible?
  • What must you consider before painting wallpaper?
  • How can you cover wallpaper with paint?
  • Finally, can you apply wallpaper over paint?

Let’s answer each of these questions.

Can you paint over wallpaper?

Well, peeling off an existing wallpaper can be a tedious task. Maybe it is damaged, faded or you just need a new look, and you are wondering: “Can I just skip the peeling process altogether and paint over it instead?”

The short answer is: Yes, it’s possible to paint over wallpaper.

But first, there are situations you need to pay attention to to do the same. And, thus, we come to:

What must you consider before painting wallpaper?

You have to assess if the state of your existing wallpaper can handle a paint job. Therefore…

  • If the wallpaper is extremely damaged with air bubbles and pronounced tears, then painting over it will not effectively hide the underlying issue.
  • If the wallpaper is heavily textured, then hiding the texture will not be easy.
  • A darker shade of wallpaper will need multiple coats of paint, especially if the new paint to cover the wallpaper is lighter in colour.
  • Do you have the necessary skilled labour and material to get the job done? Or is the option to peel and re-paint more accessible to you?
  • Are you looking for a long-term or a short-term solution? For a more permanent solution, it is better to peel the paper off. But if it’s for a short duration (in case of a rented home, for example), you can consider painting the wallpaper.

How should you go about painting wallpaper?

Follow these steps:

Step 1: Fix the problematic areas/spots

  • Use adhesive to seal off peeled portions of the wallpaper as well as the edges all over.
  • Replace damaged sections with leftover rolls of wallpaper — it always advisable to keep an extra roll of wallpaper with you for this reason.

Step 2: Prep the surface

  • In case of textured wallpapers, apply a layer of gypsum joint compound to even out the surface.
  • Sand down the edges and joints gently to make them less visible.
  • Apply a coat of oil-based primer to the entire surface. This is an important step that will protect the wallpaper from the paint’s moisture.

Step 3: Paint the wall

  • Paint the entire wall in your desired shade of colour. Preferably, apply an oil-based paint. The number of coats required will depend on the texture and the shade of the wallpaper.

What about wallpaper over a painted wall?

The short answer is: Yes, without a doubt, wallpapering over painted walls is possible.

But wondering how to install wallpaper on painted walls? Here’s how:

  • Ensure that the surface is even. Therefore, get any leakages or dents in the wall fixed before applying the wallpaper.
  • Once the surface is evened out and all major issues fixed, apply a layer of primer before gluing the wallpaper.
  • If the wall is in a great condition, gently sand the surface and apply a layer of primer to the wall before layering it with the wallpaper.

wallpapering painted walls

So, we hope that, with this post, we have been able to answer one of the most pertinent questions most home owners and renters tend to ask.

What’s Coming Up Next?

In our next post, as part of our guide on wallpapers, we’re going to tell you how much wallpapers cost (with a list of wallpaper prices) and where you can find them.

Until then, if you haven’t read our first post on Wallpaper Vs Paint: The Better Choice, do give it a look. And tell us which one did you choose eventually!

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