Remove or paint over wallpaper?
There are lots of things that you need to consider if you are planning to paint over your old wallpaper. A question homeowners ask when painting over wallpaper is whether they need to remove the old wallpaper before painting.
You don’t need to remove the old wall paper to paint your interior walls a new color. Removing wallpaper, especially when you have a very old paper on your walls, is time consuming and a very messy task. It may even cause unexpected damage to the walls if not done properly. If you have wallpaper which is in good condition and shows no signs of adhesion failure, there is no reason to invest a lot of time and labor to remove it before painting your walls.
Here are some things to keep in mind when painting over wallpaper.
Preparing the Surface:
Start by checking how well the wall paper is affixed to the walls. If there are loose areas, you need to remove them by using a utility knife. Remove all the nails and switch plates from the walls. Tape off the baseboards and any window and door trim. Protect the floor by using a drop cloth.
Applying the Primer:
Priming is essential when you are painting over your old wallpaper. You need to make sure that you use a primer that is oil-based. If you use water-based primer, it can take off the wallpaper or cause it to bubble because it is adding water to the surface. Oil-based or shellac primer dries very hard ,and will bond to the paper much better.
Repairing the Walls:
Once the primer is dry, the primed surface will still show all the damages in the wall. Using spackle cover all areas that show damage. At this point, you can even cover the seams between wallpaper so they don’t show. This may take a bit of skill to cover the seams properly. Start by applying a small amount. Let is dry, sand and then repeat the process until it disappears.
Applying the Paint:
It is best to use an eggshell or a washable flat paint when applying over wallpaper. These types of paint give a much lower sheen than other types of paint and will show less flaws when the light reflects on to it.