Yes you can paint over wallpaper….. Whether you are a century home owner or buyer, you may have inherited wallpaper which is not to your liking.
I do like wallpaper, however, I find it very dating to a home. If you are considering adding wallpaper a good idea is to apply it on one wall in a room, using it as a feature wall. Once it becomes dated, very easily removed. The only wallpaper I personally have used over the years is a textured-paintable paper, it adds texture and can be painted over and over again.
During showings of older homes to potential buyers, the question always arises “how do I get rid of all of this wallpaper?”. My answer is, “you can remove it….but other options are available; such as painting over it”; at this point I usually have a ‘gasp’ for a response.
Should you decide to strip off the old stuff, do be aware that some damage can occur when stripping off old wallpaper from plaster walls. Are you up for the task?… here is one recommended way to do it: fill a pump sprayer with five ounces of wallpaper stripper diluted with a gallon of water. Wet down the wall and scrape off the paper with a scraper blade. If this method is not producing quick results try renting a propane powered wallpaper steamer at your local home improvement center. Electric steamers are available but are not as fast as the gas powered models. When the paper is gone, spray the walls again and scrape off all paste residue with the scraper blade. Rinse with clean water and wipe down with a wet sponge until no paste remains. Give the walls 24 to 48 hours to dry before painting. Roll on an oil-based stain killing primer and finish with a latex top coat.
Is this too time consuming?…then do consider the following:
If the wallpaper was recently installed , it may be strippable and easily removed (a quick spray of water and a scraper could remove the wallpaper quickly).
If the wallpaper is in good condition without signs of adhesion failure, there is no reason to invest a lot of time and effort in removing it before painting your walls. If the wallpaper was installed in decades past, where adhesive wallpaper paste was used and it has adhered to the wall over time…you could be lucky to have the option of painting over it.
By leaving the wallpaper in place, your walls will stay in their current condition, and you will be able to start painting without delay.
It is vital to prepare your walls carefully before painting. Follow these simple steps to ensure the best results:
• Start by replacing any damaged sections and adding adhesive to loose pieces, such as curling corners and peeling edges, to minimize the chance the paper will fall.
• Add a thin line of clear caulk around the perimeter of the walls, at the joint seams where the paper meets the floor and ceiling. (I have used poly-filla, which worked just fine). This will help seal the edges and keep the paper from peeling after you’ve painted. Gently sand caulk or filler and wipe off residue before painting.
• For a heavily textured paper apply
a thin coat of joint compound (spackle). This material will help smooth out the surface so that the texture won’t show through the paint.
• Gently sand down the seams of the wallpaper so they’re not too noticeable.
• Apply a coat of oil-based primer , very important to use a oil base/alkyd primer, to the entire surface of the walls before painting. I have used BM Fresh Start® All-Purpose Alkyd Primer with great results.
• The wallpaper is now ready for painting. Latex can now be used.