Can I Paint Over Wallpaper?

Yes you can, but be careful if you are a do-it-yourselfer.  If your wallpaper is peeling, you may want to use some wallpaper adhesive and stick it back to the wall.  If you don’t, your newly painted walls will continue to peel as the the wallpaper gets older.  After you have glued back the wallpaper, you have a few of options:

  1.  You may choose to go over the seam lines with joint compound.  If you do so, you will need to come back and sand those joint lines after they have dried.  This can add time to your project.
  2. Another option is to texture on top of your existing wallpaper.  You can use a spray hopper (if you have access to one and have experience using it), use cans of spray texture, or add the texture to your primer and roll it on with a paint roller (this is probably the easiest way to do it).  The “roll-on” texture is sold in a box and usually covers a couple hundred square feet of wall area.  I would recommend caulking all the corners, trim and baseboards to give you a finished look.  You will probably want to use an oil based primer rather than a latex based primer.  Latex based primers are water based and can loosen the wallpaper and make it soggy.  Now you are ready too paint over your wall paper. Make sure you apply at least two coats of paint.
  3. The last option is to removed the wall paper with a special chemical, wallpaper remover, to help removed the wall paper.  You also need a wallpaper scraper to help get some of the wallpaper.  Once removed you can apply texture as stated above and then prime/paint.

We normally remove the wallpaper when we are remodeling a house because we are professionals and have the techniques to do it properly.  Sometimes there isn’t just one layer of wallpaper on that wall, but several.  If the wallpaper doesn’t come off easily, it will normally tear some of the sheetrock off during the removal process.  That is when we need to use a skim coat of mud on the wall.  If you haven’t done it before, it can be a little tricky.”–Danny Garcia, owner of Rhino Design Build, in San Antonio, Texas.

Please keep in mind that after you have painted over the wallpaper, it will be more difficult to remove later.  The paper will harden over time and will stick to the wall more so than before.