How To Paint Over Vinyl Paper Wallboard

Paper wallboard is meant for wallpapering. This kind of surface does not let paint and primer adhere well without adequate prepping. If your room is in need of a renovation, and you would rather paint than replace the wallpaper, then you would have to exert some effort in painting over the wallboard.

Painting over vinyl paper wallboard would require several steps, which involve sanding, priming and painting. If you have existing wallpaper, you might also want to remove it by peeling, although you can paint over it as long as you prep it well enough.

What you need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Orbital electric sander (optional)
  • Wood putty and putty knife
  • Water based primer
  • Epoxy paint
  • Paintbrushes and paint roller
  • Work clothes and mask
  • Old newspapers, masking tape, plastic sheets

Roughen the surface. Paper wallboard is intended to be an adhesive surface for glue. However, paint is a different matter, and so you will need to prepare the surface for priming. This basically involves sandpapering. You can use rough sandpaper (about 60 grit will do) to scratch the surface of the vinyl paper wallboard. If your wall has wallpaper, you might want to remove this first, as painting over wallpaper would often result in peeling. However, if you are confident with the adherence of your wallpaper, then you can roughen the wallpaper’s surface directly.

If you have an electric sander, then this will make your job easier. At this point, you should also fix any imperfections on the wall, such as nails that are sticking out, holes and dents. You can pound nail heads inside, and you should be ready with wood putty to flatten the surface.

Apply primer. Make sure to thoroughly clean the surface to be primed and painted. As with most wood projects involving paint, you will need to apply primer to the surface. Let the first layer dry for about four hours. Then apply a second layer. Just be sure than when you’re applying primer, it already adheres well to the wall and ceiling.

Apply the paint. Once the primer has dried, you can now apply the first layer of paint. Epoxy based paints are best for these purposes. Let the first layer dry for about four hours, or depending on the specifications by the paint manufacturer. Apply a second layer of paint, then let this dry for about the same time. You can apply a third layer if the primer is still showing.

It’s best to use thin coats of paint when painting over vinyl paper wallboard. For best results, you might have to wait overnight before adding layers.

Follow safety notes. Remember to wear safety equipment when painting. Wear overalls or any work clothing. Open doors and windows to ensure adequate ventilation, and wear a mask to avoid suffocation. Before doing any sanding and painting, it’s a good idea to move your furniture toward the center of the room and cover the floor and any area not to be painted with newspapers or a plastic sheet held firmly in place with masking tape.


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