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If you have redecorating your home, you may find yourself wanting to replace your wallpaper with a paint job. You could hire a decorator to do this for you or you can choose to save yourself some money and do the job yourself.
You may find that the wallpaper can be easily removed with no problems which will then allow you to paint the walls with no problems; however, for those who are having issues removing the wallpaper, there are techniques you can apply to paint over the wallpaper in a way that can look seamless.
Bear in mind that doing the job yourself can take some time but by following this guide, you’ll feel such an accomplishment. Painting over wallpaper can save you the time and effort of removing the wallpaper although it can be difficult to conceal textures depending on what kind of wallpaper you have.
In this guide, we’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about painting over wallpaper including the advantages and disadvantages as well as step-by-step guidance on how to do it successfully.
Advantages of Painting Over Wallpaper
Painting over a wallpaper may be frowned upon by some, but there are plenty of advantages that you can benefit from. Here are just a few:
The first advantage that comes with painting over wallpaper is that it can be less time-consuming if you have decided to do the job yourself. The likelihood is that you’ll have more than one wall of wallpaper and even one room can take between one and two days when done correctly.
If you have wallpaper in every room in the house, you’ll be looking at a week’s work of removing the wallpaper. Therefore, some people forego removing wallpaper in order to save themselves time, especially if the wallpaper is stubborn and difficult to remove.
Can’t tell the difference
When painted correctly, you can’t even tell the difference between where the paint is covering wallpaper and where it isn’t. In some cases, painting over wallpaper can be the best outcome as stubborn wallpaper may end up damaging the wall if it is removed which will then be visible even when painted over.
If this does end up happening, you can skim coat the wall to try and cover the damage but this takes a lot of time and skill to do properly. Therefore, for those who struggle to remove their wallpaper and don’t have the proper skill set or time to do it properly, painting over your wallpaper can be the best choice as you don’t have to compromise on seamless results.
Since painting over wallpaper foregoes the stage of removing wallpaper, you’ll actually find that it is cheaper to paint over wallpaper because you don’t have to invest in removal tools as well as ensuring that you don’t have to worry about purchasing any products that cover any damage left by the wallpaper.
Most people who complete DIY projects by themselves are doing it to save money so for those on a strict budget and wanting to make the project as cheap as possible, this is the cheapest way to do it.
Disadvantages of Painting Over Wallpaper
Just as there are many advantages, there are also disadvantages that you need to bear in mind when it comes to painting over wallpaper. It’s important to know the disadvantages so you can know what to expect when you complete the project.
The main disadvantage that comes with painting over wallpaper is that you are risking the results. The less experience you have with DIY projects and decorating, the higher the chance that the results won’t look as sleek and professional as you would hope.
Naturally, if you have decided to save money from hiring a professional decorator doing the job for you, there is an element of risk involved when it comes to how the overall results will look.
How To Paint Over Wallpaper
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of painting over wallpaper, it’s important to learn the correct way to paint over wallpaper in a way that is going to better your chances of flawless results.
There are many different ways that you can follow to paint over your wallpaper but this way is guaranteed to minimize the risks of lumpy textures or uneven painting distribution. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to paint over wallpaper properly:
Removing the loose ends of the wallpaper
Before you even start painting, you have the prep the wallpaper. This will give you a higher chance of success. The first thing you will need to do is remove any loose ends on the wallpaper.
This can be done using a razor blade or similar tool and will ensure that the wallpaper is neat and tidy before being painted over. Make sure that any wallpaper that is extremely loose is removed and cut until you get to a point where the wallpaper is resisting the tear.
Skim coat all seams
Once you have removed all of the loose ends, you will need to skim coat all the seams using a Mus Compound such as Plus 3 Drywall Mud Compound. This is done using a 6” mud knife and you should always apply a generous amount that measures around 3” beyond all seams.
This will help to even out the edges and ensure that there is no unevenness on the surface when it does come time to paint over. Skim coating the seams is one of the more time-consuming parts of the process as you will have to wait for it to completely dry before progressing with the next step.
Depending on what Mud Compound you choose, it can take anywhere between one and four hours to dry. The drying time can also be dependent on the thickness of the compound as well as the humidity levels.
Sanding the mud compound
The next step is all about sanding the mud compound down so the surface is even. The best way to do this is by using a 3M medium grit sanding sponge which will make the surface smooth enough for the paint to be applied easily.
Although this step may seem simple enough, the sanding stage is where a lot of mistakes are made as those who are inexperienced tend to over-sand the compound which then results in the entire compound being removed from the wall. This means the surface isn’t going to be even when the paint is applied and may make it difficult to apply the paint in the first place.
The best way to sand the compound is by starting with the edges and working your way towards the middle of the compound. This will help you to even it out better and help to prevent you from over-sanding the compound. When applying the sanding sponge, make sure you are handling it lightly as too much pressure can remove too much compound quickly.
If you haven’t worked with a sanding sponge before then use it in a hidden area at first so you can learn how to do it without worrying about it affecting the overall results.
Spot priming the compound
For this stage, you will have to spot prime the compound which is the last step in the preparation stage. This will ensure that there is no flashing when you apply your first coat of paint and prevent any textures or colors from peaking through.
Some people think that this step doesn’t matter and skip to the painting stage but the results are not going to look good. You can use any primer as it will lock in the texture and colors of the wallpaper whilst also making the surface even and smooth to paint on. You won’t run into as many issues when you apply the paint.
Remember when applying the primer that applying a couple of thin layers is better than one thick layer. This will allow you to distribute the primer properly and also mean that the surface will be better to work with when you do paint over it.
- Applying the paint
Once the primer has fully dried, you have now completed the preparation stage and you can apply the paint. It’s best to apply at least two coats of paint and wait until the first coat has dried before applying any more. Paint how you normally would and try to make sure you are distributing the paint evenly and smoothly to give a better result.
Tips for Painting Over Wallpaper
Knowing how to paint over wallpaper properly will help you to get the best results but there are additional tips that you need to consider when it comes to getting the most out of the project.
When researching the topic online, there is a lot of information advice given that could actually compromise the final results. Here are some tips that are not advised and what you should do instead:
Applying tape over the seams
Applying drywall tape over the seams is another additional step that just makes the whole process a lot tougher. Some people think that this makes the result look tidier but drywall tape can be harder to remove than tough wallpaper meaning that you will end up wasting time before you paint over the wallpaper.
If you sand down your seams properly, then you won’t have to worry about the surface ending up rough or uneven in its texture. Leaving drywall tape on the wall means that you will have to add an additional layer of paint to completely hide it as well as risking the edges being noticeable when you have finished the job.
Gluing the peeling edges of wallpaper
This piece of advice may make sense and sound easy but it can actually be time-consuming and be difficult to successfully glue the edges down properly. This is because the edges of the wallpaper may already be peeling and will require super glue at a minimum. It is much better to rip the peeled edges off as dictated in the step-by-step guidance.
This is because gluing the wallpaper back down can end up making the surface lumpy and uneven if done incorrectly meaning that you’re not going to get the results that you want. Therefore, remove any pieces of wallpaper that are easy to rip off and leave the parts that are tougher to remove with force.
Painting over with oil-based primer or shellac
One piece of advice that is given time and time again is to paint over everything using an oil-based primer or shellac. The belief is that it will help to absorb any water-based paints; however, this isn’t actually the case.
If you complete the first step in the instructions and cut any loose ends properly using a razor blade, then you don’t even need to think about doing this. Painting over with primer or shellac also doesn’t guarantee an even or smooth finish which makes it a pointless piece of advice that should immediately be discarded.
Priming before applying the compound
Priming before applying the compound is another piece of advice that is often given but again, this is a pointless additional step that uses more equipment without actually benefitting the overall result.
This is because you will have to add primer after applying the compound anyway and the first priming layer makes absolutely no difference. Therefore, completely ignore this piece of advice.
Using oil-based paint
There is a belief among some decorators that you have to use oil-based paint when painting over wallpaper as they think that water-based paint is going to show the texture and colors of the wallpaper underneath as it has a thinner consistency. However, this simply isn’t the case.
Water-based paint can be the better option of the two as it is better for the environment whilst also allowing you to apply thin layers until you get the color to a thickness that you want. If you want to use oil-based paint then you can use it also but be aware that it contains more chemicals and is less friendly to the environment.
Washing the walls with a wet rag
This last piece of advice that is often given is to wash the walls with a wet rag but this often contradicts other information provided in the article. As mentioned in the point above, a lot of decorators make a point of using oil-based paints to prevent the wall from absorbing the moisture from the water in water-based paints; however, they then say that you should wash the wall with a wet rag.
This step doesn’t make any difference and won’t have a positive or negative effect on your overall result.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is painting over wallpaper a good idea?
Painting over wallpaper can be a great idea if you are wanting to change the look of a room and don’t want to waste lots of time carefully removing it.
If you do decide to paint over your wallpaper then follow the guidance in this article to ensure that you get the best results possible and have a smooth and even surface and is easier to paint on.
Can you paint straight over the wallpaper?
When it comes to painting over wallpaper, it’s important to bear in mind that while you technically can paint straight over the wallpaper, it is definitely advised to make sure you have prepped the wall beforehand in order to promote a smooth and even surface.
This will mean that you are reducing the chances of any lumpy texture or color from being noticed when you do paint over it.
Why should you not paint over wallpaper?
Painting over wallpaper is something that some people do not recommend, simply because there is a risk that you may end up having uneven texture or color appearing beneath the surface. However, by following the step-by-step instructions given above, you’ll be able to get the best results.
Can you paint on textured wallpaper?
You can paint over textured wallpaper although this may pose a bit more of a challenge and is definitely recommended for those who have some experience with painting projects already under their belt.
You may find that you have to spend more time in the preparation stage to make sure that the textured doesn’t come through the surface unless you want it to.
Is primer necessary for wallpaper?
Primer is definitely necessary for painting over wallpaper as this will ensure that the surface is ready to be painted on by making the wall smooth and even.
It will also lock in the color and texture of the wallpaper, no matter how thick it is, so you can have a higher chance of completing a paint job that will look unnoticeable once dried. Primer can also make it easier to remove wallpaper in the early stages of the process if you find that there is a lot of loose pieces.
Painting over wallpaper can be done and is a great way to redecorate your house on a budget; however, it’s important to bear in mind that there are risks involved and steps to take to better your chances of success.
Therefore, make sure you follow the guidance provided in this article and you’ll be able to paint your house with the best results.
Jim Bettesworth well known for his can-do attitude and often takes jobs other companies were unwilling or unable to do. Experienced and educated in concrete construction and painting jobs. Read More.