Removing wallpaper can be a major ordeal. Sometimes it comes off easily by simply beginning at a corner, and other times the backing seems to become one with the adhesive and comes off in tiny strips. Wallpaper removal products are available, but they do not always work as promised and they can be quite costly. For some it is easier to paint over wallpaper than take it down, and the results can be outstanding - if the wallpaper is firmly attached and in good condition. Consider the following information before deciding to paint over wallpaper, and if it is secure and in good shape you can begin changing the entire look of a room or space without having to remove the old wallpaper.
Potential Problems and Methods of Prevention. Wallpaper that is damaged cannot be primed and painted because the damage will show. Inspect all papered areas before getting started, especially corners and seams, and if the paper is coming loose along the edges, secure it using the appropriate wallpaper adhesive. Allow the adhesive to dry completely according to product label instructions before beginning. If the paper is damaged, opt for removal rather than painting. Otherwise you are likely to end up with a rough uneven finish and unsatisfactory results.
Getting Started. Latex paint will not stick to shiny unprimed surfaces. If the wallpaper you intend to paint is vinyl you will have to coat it with two layers of oil-based stain-killing primer. This will enable the paint to stick to the surface and block out any patterns or colors that would otherwise show through. Wallpaper that is not shiny or vinyl can be coated with two layers of water-based stain-killing primer. This will help block any patterns from showing through and also prevent colors bleeding from the wallpaper and into the paint. Follow product label instructions for best results, and allow the primer to dry completely before continuing.
To help hide seams and raised patterns, consider adding texture to the paint. Visit your local paint supply store and you will discover a variety of textured granules that can be added to the paint before it is mixed. From fine sand-like grit to knobby granules, the walls can be easily textured and painted at the same time. Best of all, if you ever decide you do not want textured walls, the textured paint will come off with the paper.
After coating the wall covering with two coats of stain-killing primer, inspect the walls for evidence of seams. Look for seams in various levels of lighting from all angles. Once the primer has dried completely any seams that show can be lightly sanded away with a fine-grit emery board.
Painting over Wallpaper. After priming the wallpaper in preparation for painting, apply the paint with a high-quality roller with the appropriate nap for the type of paint. Allow the first coat to dry completely, and apply a second coat if necessary. When properly prepared for painting, the wallpaper beneath should not be visible, and the finished job should look outstanding.
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