Should I be Removing Wallpaper to Paint

Should I be removing wallpaper to paint?

Painting is a fast, easy, and affordable way to update any space in your home, and you don’t even have to hire a professional to do it for you. With just a handful of tools and materials, you can paint an entire room any color you like in a matter of hours. And you’ll be surprised by just how big of an impact this simple change can make.

Of course, many homes in our area have old or outdated wallpaper. So, you may find yourself in this situation and wonder if removing wallpaper to paint is necessary or if you can paint directly over it. And the best answer to that question is that it really depends.

There are several factors to take into account before making the decision whether to paint over wallpaper or remove it before you begin. And comparing the results you’re likely to end up with based on your particular situation will help you decide.

Painting Over Wallpaper vs. Removing It

While removing wallpaper to paint is sure to require more time and energy in order to complete your project, in many cases, it is the wiser choice. Typically speaking, you will receive a better result if you put in the additional effort now. But, of course, there are always exceptions to this rule.

Things to consider in the painting over wallpaper vs. removing it debate include:

  • The quality of wallpaper that was used
  • The current condition of the wallpaper
  • The texture, color, or patterns of the wallpaper
  • The visibility of the seams
  • The adhesiveness of the wallpaper to the wall

Even the highest-quality wallpaper is only designed to last about 10 to 15 years, so even if the wallpaper is high-end, the condition is excellent, there are no obvious textures, colors, or patterns that will affect the paint job, the seams are minimally visible, and the wallpaper is still securely attached to the wall, you may want to remove the wallpaper now as opposed to being forced to do it at a later day. The choice is really yours.

On the other hand, you may be tempted to paint over it if:

  • You’re short on time
  • You’re getting ready to move
  • You suspect that the drywall or plaster beneath it is damaged in some way

When making the ultimate decision about removing wallpaper to paint or painting over it, it really comes down to your personal preference and how long you expect the new paint job to last. And reviewing all of the factors listed above will help you determine which option is right for you.

How to Remove Wallpaper and Paint

Painting after wallpaper removal is known to create a better, more long-lasting result for many homeowners. And while it may seem like a tedious project upfront, removing even the most stubborn pieces of wallpaper really isn’t that hard when you gather the right tools and materials beforehand.

In fact, removing wallpaper to paint can be done in several different ways depending on the products you use, particularly those designed for removing wallpaper glue.

So, to help you remove wallpaper and prepare the surface for painting in the easiest and most effective way possible, we’re happy to share our favorite tips below.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Dropcloth
  • Putty knife or scraper tool
  • Wallpaper scoring tool
  • Sponge
  • Towel
  • Sandpaper or sanding block (120 or 150-grit)
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller and cover
  • Wallpaper stripper (optional)
  • Wallpaper steamer (optional)
  1. Prepare the Room
    Move any furniture, artwork, or home decor pieces out of the way and place a drop cloth down to protect your floors.
  2. Remove the Wallpaper by Hand
    Starting at the bottom of the wall or on a seam, peel as much of the wallpaper off in large sheets as you can.
  3. Run the Scoring Tool in Circles
    On stubborn, hard-to-remove areas, run the scoring tool around the wallpaper in a circular motion. This will put tiny holes in the wallpaper to help you remove it more easily without damaging the drywall or plaster underneath.
  4. Spray Chemicals or Steam the Wallpaper
    Spray a commercial wallpaper stripper onto the wallpaper or steam the wallpaper with a wallpaper steamer. No matter which option you choose, it’s best to work in small areas at a time and repeat the process as needed.
  5. Use the Putty Knife or Scraper Tool
    Let the chemicals or steam soak in then use a putty knife or scraper tool to remove as much wallpaper as possible. This will also help with removing wallpaper glue underneath.
  6. Wash the Walls Down With a Sponge
    Once all wallpaper and glue have been removed to the best of your ability, wash the walls down with a wet sponge. You may need to do this several times to remove any sticky residue.
  7. Sand the Walls
    Sand any rough spots on the wall with a sanding block.
  8. Wipe the Walls Down
    Wipe away any moisture or dust that remains on the walls with a clean, dry towel.
  9. Prime the Walls
    Prime the walls with an all-purpose interior primer. Follow the directions carefully when it comes to dry time.
  10. Paint the Walls
    Once the primer has fully dried, start painting the walls. In most cases, you will need two coats of paint.

How to Paint Over Wallpaper

While many homeowners prefer to remove any existing wallpaper before painting a wall in their home, there are some instances where you may choose to paint right over the wallpaper itself. And with a little prep work, you can receive some pretty impressive results too.

Simply follow the steps as indicated below, and your wall will have a new look in no time.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Drop cloth
  • Paintable caulk
  • Sandpaper or sanding block (120 or 150-grit)
  • Oil-based primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller and cover
  • Adhesive (optional)
  1. Prepare the Room
    Before you get started, remove any furniture or objects that will get in your way. Then, lay a drop cloth down to protect your floors.
  2. Apply More Adhesive as Needed
    If there are any sections of wallpaper that are not securely fastened to the wall, apply more adhesive and reattach the wallpaper as needed. Follow the directions for dry time before moving on to the next step.
  3. Caulk Any Seams
    Using paintable caulk, caulk any wallpaper seams and around the perimeter of the wallpaper near the floors and ceiling. Allow to dry thoroughly.
  4. Sand Seams
    Gently sand down the wallpaper seams so that they will not be visible after painting. Use a 120 or 150-grit sandpaper or sanding block to do the job.
  5. Prime the Area
    Prime the entire wall directly over the wallpaper with an oil-based primer. This will ensure that the adhesive in the wallpaper does not interact with the paint itself and it will smooth out minor imperfections before painting. Allow it to dry thoroughly per the instructions on the can.
  6. Paint the Wallpaper
    Brush and roll the first coat of paint, allow it to dry, then apply the second coat.

Removing wallpaper to paint or choosing to paint over it is entirely up to you. Keeping the current condition of the wallpaper in mind as well as the time, energy, and cost you want to invest, you can decide between the two options and get started. Plus, you can refer to our top tips at any time.    

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