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How to paint over wallpaper

paint over wallpaper

Can you paint over wallpaper? Yes, but you need to follow these rules for it to be successful and the paint to stay on properly.

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Can I simply paint over an old wallpaper? Although this depends on the individual case, it is quite possible in most cases. However, you should always check the substrate critically in advance.

Does it make sense to remove wallpaper and is it better to re-wallpaper? If you want a flawless solution, you should first remove the old wallpaper before tapethering or plastering the wall again. However, it is much easier and cheaper to achieve solid results by brushing over the wallpaper.

What accessories do I need to coat the wallpaper? In any situation, you should have a flat brush, a paint roll, a wiper container and painter’s crepe in addition to the appropriate color. In addition, you usually need a small step ladder to implement your ideas.

When it works, most do-it-yourselfers face the big problem of how to proceed. Especially with already existing wallpaper, the question arises whether overpainting is possible or whether it should be better to re-wallpaper.

We show in which cases the respective methods are more useful and give tips that you should pay attention to when painting the old wallpaper.

In terms of time and cost, it seems extremely tempting to paint over an old wallpaper. However, don’t just let these two aspects affect you, but keep in mind that this will significantly limit your options.

Before you reach for the color roll, first check the old wallpaper with regard to holes, cracks and bumps. Certainly, not every dowel hole is a problem. However, not all areas can be easily covered,so the removal of the wallpaper as well as re-wallpapering can be worthwhile.

If you paint over a wallpaper, you save time and money.

In a next step, you’ll look at the processing. If the previous owner or previous tenant has worked well and no edges and bubbles can be detected on the wallpaper, there is nothing against the overpainting.

However, you cannot compensate for coarser bumps by the color treatment. Poorly glued wallpapers will still be recognizable as such even after painting. On the other hand, you can eliminate minor bumps with a cutter knife and a slightly suitable repair filler.

In a final step, check how many layers of wallpaper the previous owners have left behind.
This can be easily checked in a hidden place by cutting the wallpaper with a cutter knife.
With one or two layers of wallpaper, you can buy paint without hesitation.
If, on the other hand, several layers of wallpaper stick on top of each other, the adhesive strength suffers. In the long run, this usually causes the color to become brittle faster.

Tip: Smooth wallpaper is excellent for overpainting. For patterned wallpapers, the color should have a high opacity to mask the color differences.
You can easily check whether the respective color adheres well in a later invisible place.

In general, most standard wallpapers are suitable for overpainting:

  • Rough fibre wallpaper: Rough fibre can be found in many rental apartments, as the simple wallpaper can be easily painted several times. Replacement, on the other hand, is much more complicated.
  • Paper wallpaper: In the past, very thin paper wallpapers were often used. This makes it very difficult for you to remove, but it makes overpainting quite easy.
    Especially with dark wallpapers, which are now to be lighter, you have to swipe at least twice.
  • Acrylic wallpaper: Also Acrylic is often over-swipeable. However, you must bet on a color with high opacity. However, unlike paper and rough fibre wallpaper, you can easily detach wallpaper from the wall. Therefore, consider whether it is not worth the step to do this.

Good to knowIf you discover mold on the wallpaper, you should not overpaint this area, but get to the bottom of the cause.

If you want to coat a wallpaper with a strong structure, a latex color is a good way to add a latex color. However, this affects the indoor climate. It is therefore not always a good option.

However, you face slightly bigger problems, as a protective film ensures that the new paint adheres worse. This is therefore a good way of priming.
The primer improves the connection between wallpaper and wall. The new wall color is therefore less easily detached.

Attention: Special wallpapers made of fabric or metal are not suitable for overpainting.

In most cases, less is more when it comes to the color design of the room.

Do not reach directly to the color roll yet, but clean the wallpaper first. The walls should be largely dust-free.

If you want to coat over a greasy wallpaper, a primer is a good way to start. This prevents an uneven swipe result.

If you still want to fill holes, now is the last chance. However, be sure to smooth thedamage laterso that it is no longer visible after you swipe.

Now remove all items from the room or cover them well.

Then mask the room with a painter’s crepe. In particular, this applies to door frames, windows and sockets (unscrew the covers before swiping).
However, with old wallpapers, make sure that the painter’s crepe does not adhere too much. Otherwise, the wallpaper tears easily when later peeled off.

Now you can start painting the wallpaper. It is best to start with the corners and edges. Swipe them with a flat brush. However, do not work directly throughout the room, but only in a small area.

Then take a large roll of paint and paint the wall. Always work in one direction and spread the ink evenly on the wall using printing.

Work your way through the room step by step.

As a rule, you need another coat of paint to cover the color correctly. However, wait until the paint has completely dried before using the color roll again. Depending on the structure of the wallpaper, this may take several hours.

Tip: Do not save on paint, brushes and rolls. The additional costs are definitely well invested.