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operagost 06-13-2013 11:37 AM

Remove wallpaper or paint over top?
Scenario: one layer of non-textured wallpaper in very good condition, no peeling or tears. Was applied in the late 80s or early 90s. Have already purchased water-based paint and primer, which means it could cause the paper to loosen down the road but on the other hand, removing the paper now could damage the paper on the drywall and require hours and hours of spackling in addition to the adhesive cleanup.

Paint over the wallpaper or remove it?

joecaption 06-13-2013 11:42 AM

Remove it.
It's never a good idea to paint over wall paper.
It will make it far harder or near impossible to remove later.

operagost 06-13-2013 12:14 PM

Let's hope it's strippable; then it will be easy to pull it straight down. Any suggestions on ensuring it comes off smoothly, whatever kind it is?

joecaption 06-13-2013 12:19 PM

Removing wall paper is almost never easy.
Lay down a tarp to protect the floor.
I use hot water and a dash of liquid fabric softner.
Mist it down and let it soak in.
As your working keep it wet.

dougp23 06-13-2013 12:20 PM

I'd be tempted to paint over it! Removing it is such a PITA.
But Joe is right, remove it. Use lots of patience, take it slow, take breaks (otherwise you'll rush and damage the wallboard, been there-done that).

I have seen some painted over and you wouldn't know it.

operagost 06-13-2013 12:27 PM

I guess I'll at least try a top corner to see if it's peelable or strippable before I decide. Supposedly with those, you only need to break out the water and sponges to clean up any adhesive or paper backing once all the paper is off.

RWolff 06-13-2013 12:40 PM

Another option might be laying over new sheetrock and totally covering the mess and have a nice clean smooth fresh surface to work with, but this can be a lot of work too.

user1007 06-13-2013 02:21 PM

Nothing says "I am lazy and I don't really care about my home!" like painting over wallpaper does.

Read the many threads on wallpaper removal here. Use a tank sprayer and a wide drywall knife. Saturate small sections at a time to free the paste and then have at it.

Prime the stripped surface with Gardz to be safe. Skim coat if needed then prime the mud. Then paint.

operagost 06-13-2013 02:31 PM

I asked not because I'm lazy, but because there are several kinds of wallpaper as far as adhesion. Spraying it with water won't do any good if it's vinyl. We're also talking about my living room, in the middle of my house, with lots of furniture and built-in bookcases. Painting isn't a trivial process and repairing the drywall would not be straightforward. Besides, the work I recently did in my bathroom proves I am terrible at it.

user1007 06-13-2013 03:44 PM


Originally Posted by operagost (Post 1200562)
I asked not because I'm lazy,

Sorry! I did not mean to suggest you were. I was just sharing the general reaction most around me have ever had to painted over wallpaper.

Hopefully if you have vinyl you can get under a corner and wet the paste holding it from there. Or even better, perhaps it will come off easier than you think if you can just get a grip on a corner of it. I do hope whoever put it up did not use a vinyl adhesive and there is no reason they would have unless sticking what you have to existing vinyl.

chrisn 06-13-2013 04:44 PM

Just strip it

Never, ever, paint wallpaper, un less it is ABSOLUTLY necessary and it very rarely ever is.

ltd 06-13-2013 05:56 PM


Originally Posted by chrisn (Post 1200629)
Just strip it

Never, ever, paint wallpaper, un less it is ABSOLUTLY necessary and it very rarely ever is.

really, whats the big deal ?strip it

KD PAINTING 06-13-2013 08:01 PM

Remove wallpaper or paint over top?
Sometimes you could paint over wallpaper and it could look ok, but I suggest removing the wallpaper if you can. Removal requires time and patience, but you could always hire someone to help you with it.

Good Luck!

moorewarner 06-14-2013 02:23 AM

Scoring the paper to help get water behind can help, especially if it's vinyl.

Jmayspaint 06-14-2013 06:16 AM

1 Attachment(s)
About the only time I will consider painting paper is if its cheap paper hung over bare drywall.
It can bond so thoroughly with the Sheetrock paper, that taking it off inevitably damages the walls.
If I'm trying to make it appear to be a smooth wall instead of 'painted wallpaper, it takes as much labor to prep it as it would to strip 'strip able' paper. So don't not strip to save dry wall work. I treat the paper seams like dry wall joints, - tape. Unless you want painted wallpaper.nbd.
Try to pull the face of the paper off. It it comes off in sheets at all, it would probably be easier to strip it. If it comes off in little pieces or not at all, it might be 'hyper bonded to the Sheetrock paper.
Would like to hear of any tricks to remove paper in this condition. Soaking in chems or water always seems to break the bond in the wrong place and really damage the rock. I don't know if this qualifies as 'having to' paint the paper, sometimes it seems like it to me.

Ran into this recently in a college office building. Painting it this time wasn't an option, it was textured commercial vinyl.
The pic doesn't really do justice to the amount of wall damage. After repeated, lengthy soakings this area took about 16 man hrs to strip. And still have to fix the drywall.

Blows my mind that people will hang on bare rock, especially commercial. I see this a lot around here though, not even surprised by it anymore.

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