Wallpaper: To peel or not to peel?

This is a question we hear a lot.  We hear it from people who just moved into a house with wallpapered walls they don’t like.  The rumor you often hear is that you can’t paint over wallpaper, that you have to go through a massive stripping effort before paint can safely be applied.  This is only true in some instances.

If the wallpaper is peeling or showing other signs of adherence problems, you’ll have to determine if a good sanding job will solve the problem.  A full-scale stripping job might be necessary, but then it might not, so don’t automatically run out and arrange for this service.

In most cases, as long as the wallpaper is uniformly stuck to the walls, there’s no need to strip.  But you do need to take certain measures in painting over it.

Steps for painting over wallpaper:

Repair holes.

Sand well.

Clean the walls.

Caulk the edges.

Seal the walls.  Use an oil-based primer sealer (a must!)

Apply paint:

Note on paint: If you use a primer, you should have no trouble creating a great finished product with latex paint.  If you choose to bypass the primer, we suggest you paint with an oil-based paint.  Latex paint applied directly to wallpaper can loosen the wallpaper and lead to bubbling or peeling.

Leave a Reply