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What I Wish I Knew Before Painting Over Wallpaper

What I Wish I Knew Before Painting Over Wallpaper

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Old Faded Wallpaper That is Tattered in Places.

Old, out-of-date wallpaper can bring down your home’s aesthetic, clash with your style preferences, and even negatively affect your mood. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons, essential preparation steps, and best practices to achieve a great looking result. Whether you’re tackling this project yourself or considering hiring a professional Sonoma residential painter, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need.

Pros and Cons of Painting Over Wallpaper

You may be excited at the thought of finally painting over your old, drabby walls, but don’t grab your brushes and rollers just yet! Let’s go over some of the pros and cons of painting over wallpaper:


Painting over wallpaper has its upsides:


Removing wallpaper can be extremely time-consuming, especially if it’s been on the walls for many years or if you’re inexperienced with removing wallpaper. Painting over wallpaper eliminates this step, saving you significant time and effort.

Avoids Wall Damage

Stripping wallpaper can sometimes damage the underlying drywall or plaster, leading to additional repairs. Choosing to paint over the wallpaper altogether eliminates this risk.


Skipping the removal process can save you money on labor and materials needed for wall repairs.


Consider the following before painting over your wallpaper:

Potential for Peeling

If the wallpaper was not properly adhered, painting over it may cause it to peel away from the wall, resulting in an uneven surface and the potential for more work down the road.

Seams and Texture

Wallpaper seams and textures can show through paint, affecting the final appearance of your home. Proper preparation is essential to minimize these issues but without removing the wallpaper before painting, you may still see them.

Future Removal

If you or future homeowners decide to remove the wallpaper later, it may be more challenging with the addition of paint on top.

Essential Preparation Steps

If you’re going to paint over your wallpaper, keep the following in mind:

Evaluate the Wallpaper Condition

Ensure that the wallpaper is in good condition and firmly adhered to the wall prior to painting. If it’s peeling, bubbling, or otherwise damaged, it’s better to remove or repair those sections before painting.

Clean the Wallpaper

Clean your wallpaper thoroughly to remove any dirt, grease, or dust buildup. Use a mild detergent solution and a sponge, then rinse with clean water. Make sure to let it dry completely before you start painting.

Repair and Smooth

Make sure to patch any holes or damaged areas with spackle or joint compound. Sand the patched areas until they are smooth. You should also lightly sand the entire wallpaper surface to create a better adhesion for the paint.

Prime the Surface

Applying a high-quality primer is crucial when painting over wallpaper. Use an oil-based or shellac-based primer to seal the wallpaper and prevent any adhesive from seeping through the paint. This also helps to cover the wallpaper pattern and provides a uniform base for your paint.

Best Practices for Painting Over Wallpaper

If you choose to paint over wallpaper, here some tips for getting the best result:

Use High-Quality Paint

Opt for a high-quality paint for the best results. Choose a satin or semi-gloss finish for easier cleaning and durability.

Apply Multiple Coats

Depending on the color and pattern of the wallpaper, you may need to apply two or more coats of paint to achieve full coverage. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Pay Attention to Seams

Use a fine brush to carefully paint over the seams and edges of the wallpaper. This helps to ensure that the paint adheres properly and covers any visible lines.

Maintain Good Ventilation

Proper ventilation is important to help the paint dry and to reduce fumes, especially when using oil-based primer. Open windows and use fans if necessary.

When to Consider Professional Help

While painting over wallpaper can be a DIY project, there are situations where hiring a professional painter is advisable:

Extensive Damage

If the wallpaper is extensively damaged or the walls require significant repair, an experienced professional can provide the expertise needed for a flawless finish.

Complex Patterns

Covering intricate patterns or dark colors may require specialized techniques and additional coats of paint, which a professional can handle more efficiently.

Time Constraints

If you’re short on time or prefer a guaranteed result, a professional painter can complete the job quickly and effectively.

Beautify Your Home with Mike Chavez Painting

If you’re considering painting over wallpaper and want to ensure the best results, trust the experts at Mike Chavez Painting.

Our team of professional painters has the experience and skills to handle all your painting needs, from preparation to the final coat.

Contact us today or give us a call at (707) 623-5850 for a free consultation.