How to Paint Over Wallpaper

Associated Expert

Paint Away Your Problems: How To Paint Over Wallpaper

So you've been living with wallpaper you've hated for ten years. But, you're finally going to DO something about it! Good for you!

Then you look around the room and see just how much wallpaper there is to remove. You've heard the rumors, the myths, the stories about how labor intensive removing wallpaper can be. Don't let that stop you, because we've got GREAT news: You may not need to remove it at all!

Painting over wallpaper is possible. In some cases, even the professionals will opt that over removing it. Good examples would be wallpaper that has been applied to plaster walls or over unprimed drywall.

Estimate Time: 3 to 5 hours, depending on wall size

 Shopping list & Materials:
  • Clean sponge
  • Plastic bucket
  • Lightweight surfacing compound (otherwise known as "Spackle") - you'll probably only need a small container unless there are a great deal of problem areas to cover.
  • One piece of 220 grit sand paper (also referred as "fine")
  • 2" Painter's blue masking tape (you will have to decide the number of rolls depending on the area you're working on. Just remember, it's a good thing to have around the house because you'll use it in most projects. So, I'd say - err on the extra side!)
  • Drop Cloths
  • Latex or vinyl gloves
  • Shellac-Based Stain-Blocking primer - tinted in a color close to your paint color
  • Wallpaper adhesive - small container
  • Paint
  • Rollers
  • Brushes
  • Paint trays
  • Paint stirring sticks (2) - optional

    Things you should already have in your home:

  • Clock radio or portable stereo
  • Screwdriver, flat head
  • Rag(s)
  • Utility knife or razor blade

Before Getting StartedBefore getting started: Make sure the surface is in good condition and is smooth. To get the best results, check to make sure the wallpaper is securely attached to the wall and that all the seams are close together and firmly attached. If it's not, you can use a bit of wallpaper paste (also known as adhesive, glue or our favorite - "stuff that sticks wallpaper to the wall") to stick it in place.

Next, paint a test patch area to see if the wallpaper will hold -

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