Painting over wallpaper tips and advice from THAT Painter Lady(s) Debra Conrad and Tawn Gale.
Why would you put paper on your walls when paint has so many options?
Do you want to start a new theme in a room and think wallpaper is a good starting place?
Do you just love to strip wallpaper or do you paper over wallpaper?
What do you do if you can’t get the wallpaper off the wall without damaging the wall?
Would you love to know how to Paint over Wallpaper?
Before you get in to How to Paint over Wallpaper… let’s make sure you know the downside of this little operation.
Paint is liquid and when liquid is added to wallpaper, the paper might just come off the wall. It may come down in sheets or just bubble up in some interesting places. If your wallpaper is stuck, I mean really stuck and it’s going to be damaging to the wall to take it down, then you may want to paint.
- Make sure the surface is in good condition. Take a small putty knife or blunt kitchen knife and go along every seam and the ceiling and base cuts and see if you can lift even the tiniest little bit. Any tears or lifting needs to be glued down. If you have wallpaper paste this will work, I have also used white glue. Use a pin to prick any air bubbles and try to get the glue in and stuck down. Go over the entire wall with you hands, you will feel even the slightest imperfection that the eye will gloss over… Until you paint it that is. Some of the tiny tears or imperfections can be sanded with a light hand giving a smooth transition from paper to wall.
- Paint a small area of the paper to see if it will hold. Wait until it is fully dry and test to see if the paper is really still stuck to the wall. Try this in several areas including the seam area. If the wallpaper starts to fall off the wall, you have no choice but to strip. If it comes of in just a few areas, tear it off and you can repair those areas in the next few steps.
- Clean the walls. I know what you are thinking… Yuck, washing walls. But, if the paper has been up awhile you need to get off dust, fingerprints, food and any soap or glue residue. Start with the cleanest possible surface for good results.
- Remove all the switchplate and outlet covers. Cover all the exposed areas with painters tape to protect you from a shocking experience. You should think about turning off the power to these walls before painting. Just to be safe.
- Spackle… Every joint and every repair. I have used caulk to seal the bottom and top cut edges to give a clean finish. You may need to repair those impossible tears with joint compound more than once. Dampen all the imperfections to prime the area before appling spackle or joint compound. Let all this dry… I mean dry. Then sand it smooth. Trust me, you do not want to skip this step. After all is sanded, wipe – wipe and wipe again. No dust remember?
- Now you must prime. All the big box stores carry good primers. You may need two coats if the paper had a dark print or the print bleeds. Get the primer tinted – It’s free and will cut down the coats of top coat you will need to apply. Wait 24 hours for the primer to dry. Wet wallpaper takes longer to dry.
- If anything bubbles up overnight, slit it open and repair with glue. Make sure to clean the surface and let that dry also.
- Here comes the tricky part… by now you will see the texture of your wallpaper. If it’s smooth, then nothing is stopping you from getting your color on. If it has texture, and it’s a problem (ugly) then one option is to faux paint the wall. This is simple and will give you a professional looking wall instead of a messy painted wallpaper wall. Faux painting is easy to learn and fast to accomplish. Faux finishes cover up a lot of problems.
- Tape off all the areas that are not to be painted. Including the ceiling and adjoining walls. Protect your floors and furniture, paint has a way of migrating to some very unusual places.
- After you have all the walls looking perfect…now comes the cherry on top. Those outlet and switchplate covers need to be customized. Nothing says amateur more than white covers on a great custom colored wall. Sand, prime and paint your covers. Let dry 24 hours and then seal with a clear coat or two. Let dry again and install.
Have fun and Lets Go Get Our Paint On!
If you decide that Stripping The Wallpaper is a better idea… 🙂 This little steamer is a sure bet. I love it!
AND, don’t forget this tool for perforating the wallpaper so the steam get in there good!