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How to Paint over Wallpaper

Written by David | March 11, 2022

How do you paint over wallpaper? Can you paint over wallpaper? Yes, you can.

Why would you paint over wallpaper? The biggest reason is that the existing wallpaper will not come off.

Removing wallpaper is easy IF the previous wallpaper installation was done correctly. When the wallpaper will not come off the wall, then your options are limited. You can get new drywall or go over the existing wallpaper, which is what we have done here.

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It won’t come off!

We tried removing the wallpaper from this small space. As you can see we were not very successful. This one wall took over 2.5 hours! So we stopped.

There are other ways to paint over wallpaper, however, this is the method that has worked best for us.

You will need the following materials before you start:

  1. 220 grit sandpaper
  2. Gardz wall primer
  3. Paint brush
  4. Paint tray
  5. Drop cloths
  6. Drywall repair supplies (to fix holes or dings in the wall)
  7. Paint rollers
  8. Paint

The first thing we do is give a quick sanding to walls. This will remove anything and makes sure it is a smooth surface.

Next, apply one coat of Gardz primer to the walls. Please, keep a window open since it does smell. One thing about putting a primer like Gardz over wallpaper is that is will reveal any problems such as loose paper- you will see bubbles, and it will adhere better than glue! Make sure you let the primer dry 2 hours, then you can fix any nicks, holes, dings etc.

Take a look at these two pictures of the primer applied and fixing some spots that look bad. After you make the repairs, you need to sand the wall again and apply one more coat of primer.

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When that the primer is dry and the repairs were made, we used a tinted primer to hide the wallpaper color and pattern that was printed.

Tinted primer on the wall starting to dry.

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Once the primer is dry, then start painting over wallpaper. Here, we used two coats of matte finish paint. (Sherwin Williams Cashmere Low Luster.)

Here are the walls painted!
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You can see the start of the process via video. Here is another video where we installed wallpaper over wallpaper.

Finally one more video on what not to do... This house has several rooms that we did in fact remove wallpaper, but this powder room was a mess!! Someone started to remove the wallpaper, then stopped, then just painted over everything. You see old paper, the walls are rough from old paper and glue being rolled into the paint, so we have our work cut out for us to get it looking right.  

Do you have questions about removing wallpaper, how to fix a wallpaper removal gone bad or how to just paint over the wallpaper because it wont come off? Feel free to give us a call!

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