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Can You Paint over Wallpaper?

Can’t wait apply a fresh coat of your favourite paint over the wall? Maybe you are a bit hesitant because of that wallpaper clinging to your wall for some time? So whether you are planning on painting over it, or after removing it, you should read this guide till the end to know what to do for sure. We will discuss if you can even paint over wallpaper or not, when is it practical do so and what you need to consider beforehand. So with that said, let’s jump right in:

So….Can you Paint over Wallpaper?

Yes you absolutely can. However, it won’t be practical to paint over it every time. This is only applicable to instances where it is not possible to remove the wallpaper so you paint over it to save time, money, and effort.

Since the wallpapers are pasted to the wall, it is not an easy job to get them off from the wall. You will need a few tools, some time and a practical guide to removing wallpaper. So since it involves time, effort and a little bit of money, some people might decide to just paint over it.

When can you paint over wallpaper?

If you are not happy with how the wallpaper, stuck on your wall, looks or if it has started to bubble or peel, then you should go for the removal route. However, there can be few instances when removing the wallpaper won’t be practical. Let’s see what those are:

  • You are on Rent: Nobody wants to spend unnecessary money and time on a property that belongs to someone else. However, if you are going to stay there for a long time, then instead of removing the wallpaper, you can just paint over it to make the walls more suited to your design and decoration preferences. Once you get the permission from the landlord, you can just go ahead and get your favourite colours, and paint them over the wallpaper to give the walls a fresh look.
  • Wall Damage: If your house has what is called dry wall, plasterboard or Gyprock depending on the part of the world you live in, then removing wallpaper from it can cause damage. Getting all the wallpaper off via steaming or scrapping can leave marks on the wall or even further damage it. Furthermore, if the wall had paint on it before the wallpaper then removing the wallpaper can cause it to come off too. Also, the wallpaper might come off but may leave a lot of glue behind which can also be very painful to remove.
  • Effort and Time: Whether you go for the scraping route or steam the wallpaper to remove it, it will take a lot of your time! If you are not going for the long term result like if you are selling the property or renting it out, then you would obviously want to upgrade its décor. However, the time, effort and money it will require would not be worth it. Removing the wallpaper and then preparing the walls for paint and then painting them will not provide you with the best ROI. So it is better to just put a couple of paint coats on the wall and be done with it.
  • You Like The Texture: Maybe you love the texture or patterns on the wallpaper but not just the colour of it? Well then you can just apply a thin coat of a shade of paint and preserve the texture in a new fresh colour. This way, you will not have to go through the tireless process of removing the wallpaper and then finding a new one with the same texture but with the colour that you like.  

What to Know before applying paint over Wallpaper

Now that you have read about the instances when you can apply the paint over the wallpaper, you might be tempted to do the same because you now know it is possible to paint over it. However, you need to know about a few things that can cause a problem when painting over the wallpaper.

  • Not For Short Term: You might think that for short term, I can get away with painting over the wallpaper, however, it is not always true. If you will be removing it in a few months or maybe a year, then know this; removing a painted wallpaper will be more difficult. Plus, you can end up scraping and scratching harder to get it off. Leaving the paint over the wallpaper for a few years loosens both which makes it a bit easier to remove, but it will be a pain for short term.
  • Wall Damage: Maybe your wallpaper is hiding some serious wall damages that you are not aware of? There can be cracks or holes in the wall. Or, there can also be mould behind it. You need to first inspect the wallpaper thoroughly by sliding your hand over it and seeing if you can feel any cracks, holes or dents.
  • Wallpaper Condition: If the wallpaper has been around for a very long time, it will start to get bubbles or may even start peeling. This means you will have to spend a lot more time in preparing it for the paint. Furthermore, moisture from paint can soften the wallpaper adhesive which can cause bubbles and lifts.

No matter how badly you want to paint over the wallpaper, it is always a good idea to thoroughly inspect it from every bit and then decide whether it is viable for you or not. We would suggest going for painting over wallpaper if you are not going to remove it for a few years and also if the wallpaper is in good condition. Otherwise, taking it off and painting on bare wall might be a more practical approach.

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