Painting over Wallpaper

Updated on July 24, 2008
L.G. asks from Lewisville, TX
14 answers

Our kitchen is wallpapered and I am interested in painting over it. I have removed wallpaper from other places in our home & just painted the walls, but the kitchen has no textured wall underneath the wallpaper. My question is, what can I do to prep the wallpaper before painting over it (i.e. covering the seams, etc.)? Someone told me to put drywall tape over the seams & primer the whole wall, then paint. Any feedback will be very helpful! Thanks!!!

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds like we had the same builder who liked to cut corners!

I agree with the previous poster, if you paint over it, it won't look so hot after a while. Most of these builders didn't use true wall paper in the first place -- it's more of a plastic-y, vinyl yuckiness that will not hold the paint. To do it right, you'll need to remove the wall paper and then go over the wall boards with stuff to finish it off right. Home Depot or Lowes should be able to point you to the stuff you'll need. It's a bit more work, but will improve the outcome.

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H.B.

answers from Dallas on

Here is a secret- a friend of mine works for sherwin-williams: windex! Yes windex (even generic) windex pulls wall paper right off the walls. I have done it. Our previos home had no textured walls and major wall paper. Came off oin large pieces! It was great!

Now, if you wp is on top of drywall- meaning the part of the wall that is prior to paint, it is just the powdery wall sheet itself.

I promise- do not buy wp remover- just buy generic windex and spray spray spray in the crease of the seam-spray an tear- you will be amazed!

I would not have believed it if I did not do it myself!

Good luck!

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

I have done the skip trowel texture over wallpaper and haven't had any problems. If the wallpaper is on really well - it shouldn't be a problem - and the skip trowel look seems to be the thing right now. It's pretty easy to do - a friend an I did her whole kitchen in a day. You just get the bucket of texture from Home Depot and use a trowel to apply to the walls. Then wait a few days before you paint. Or if you want a more traditional texture they have rollers you can buy that you roll the texture on with - then you paint over it. Good luck!

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L.B.

answers from Dallas on

I was told by Home Depot that if I wanted to paint over my wallpaper, I should seal it first with Kilz. This will seal it and prevent the water-based latex paint from soaking into the wallpaper and dissolving the glue. If you don't do that, the paper will eventually bubble up.

As far as texture, Home Depot sells a texture paint that my daughter used on a wall she had removed the wallpaper from and it worked great.

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J.L.

answers from Dallas on

We have used the paintable wallpaper you can get at Lowes or Home Depot. It comes in a variety of textures and looks really cool. Some people use it on their ceilings to give it the "antique tile" look. Good luck!

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N.F.

answers from Dallas on

I have done tons of texturing over wallpaper and unless you just want to add more time to your task there is no need to do anything outside of removing any loose pieces and perforating the paper. You can get a perforating tool at HOme Depot or you can use a trusty kitchen fork or utility knife (with a light touch). The idea is to get to the wall behind the paper to ensure your texture sticks and does not pull off the wall. If you are doing a mediterranean or skip trowel effect you can adjust your texture according to any spots that need special attention. Like I said, I have done this many times and I was given the instructions by an artist who does faux and mural work in high dollar homes!
Good luck!

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L.L.

answers from Dallas on

We painted over the wallpaper in our kitchen. Mostly because it had already been painted over before, and from what I understand, taking down painted wallpaper is a real chore. So we had it professionally done - they repaired spots, sanded down, etc., then painted. I have to say, I'm disappointed and wish we'd taken it down and painted the walls themselves. At the end of the day, it looks like "painted wallpaper".

Just my 2 cents. If I had the chance to do it over, I'd take it down. :)

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

We were told by my brother-in-law that the problem with painting over wallpaper is that eventually, the wallpaper will start to bubble. Then again, our house in Lake Jackson was full of wallpaper and being on the Gulf Coast with it's humidity doesn't help. My suggestion would be to get the wallpaper down before painting.

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B.F.

answers from Dallas on

First make sure your seams are glued down tight. If you can make a test patch behind the fridge. Use Zinzer primer over it and wait to see if the patch is going to bubble. If it doesn't you are good to go with the primer then paint. The seams will most likely still show after you paint. If its the texture thing that is bothering you, they have a great antaglypic wallpaper at Lowes that looks just like beadboard if you like that sort of thing. You could strip it and then put the wallpaper on or try it right over the other wall paper.
Good luck!

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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

Hi L.,
We painted over our wallpaper in the kitchen about 2 years ago and it still looks looks great...no bubbling or peeling. I don't believe we taped the seams, we just painted. Use a primer called Zinsor (it is made to paint over even ceramic and glass) and then paint. The primer helps to get a great coverage and covers the seams. We tried taking wallpaper off in another room and it was more difficult and time consuming...also impossible to get ALL the paper off. I would definitively say to paint over the wall paper. Good luck!

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

If you don't do anything to the seams, you will see them after it's painted, even if it's just a little noticable. I had the same delima, and here's what I did. Talked to the guy at Lowes and he said to prime the walls with an oil based primer. If you use a water based primer it could soak through the paper and start to make it peel, so use an oil based primer. Then I added a texture. I used sanded paint from lowes, rolled it on with a mesh paint roller, then used a trowel to knock down the peaks. Afterward, I primed it with latex primer (so that the new/colored paint wouldn't be absorbed by the sanded paint) and then painted. It came out great and wasn't too hard to do. If you don't want to do the sanded paint, you can use joint compound (maybe $10.00 in a huge bucket at Lowes/Home Depot) and hand trowel the wall yourself. You basically just slap joint compound on the walls to create a custom texture. I've done this as well. The key is to NOT go too thick. You don't have to cover ALL fo the wallpaper with joint compound, you just have to make some texture on it. That will cover your seam lines and give you a paintable surface. If you use the joint compound, it's still recommended that you use an oil based primer over the wallpaper so that it doesn't start to pull up where you have the joint compound. Final idea - hire a painter to do it! I had my jack & jill bathroom done for about $400. They supplied all the materials, prepapred & textured the walls, took down the fixtures that needed to be removed, put them back up when done, and painted the walls (I did provide the paint). I thought it was reasonable and well worth the $$ vs. my time to complete (I had already done the kitchen, master bath and 1/2 bath, so I just wanted it done!)

Let me know if you need the name of the painter or any other details on the projects.

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H.P.

answers from Dallas on

I've rarely seen paint over paper look decent. If you rent the machine from Home Depot, removal of the paper is a breeze. It slides right off!!

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi L.- Boy are you ambitious- sounds to me like a job I would contract out- i havve several remodeling service numbers- local painters- I think that's your best bet- they will know all the tricks to the trade.

D.
Party Angels Ltd.
www.partyangelsus.com
[email protected]____.com

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J.S.

answers from Dallas on

The advice you got was correct. You can just use joint compound to "float" the seams (instead of drywall tape), then use a kilz primer to cover your pattern well. Then paint or texture and paint....either way. If you have any seams pulling away from the wall before you start, then use a razor blade to cut them off so the remaining paper is flat against the wall. IF you cause the seams to buckle when you put the joint compound on them....then you need to remove the paper completely, which means you may have to trowel a texture on the walls before painting. This does not happen most of the time.

I am an interior designer. I have seen professionals do this in client's homes and I have even advised clients who were doing it themselves. Good luck.

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