How to paint over your wallpaper

Are you tired of your old or peeling wallpaper? You can easily paint over the wallpaper. Here’s how to paint over your wallpaper.

Paint over Wallpaper: How and why you can paint over Wallpaper

Do you want to change your room’s aesthetics and improve beauty with paint, but you have wallpaper on your walls? Worry no more! You can apply paint over the wallpaper to obtain an excellent room aesthetic.

No doubt, wallpapers help to beautify your apartment, but they can get old (out of fashion), fade-out, or peel off. When this occurrence happens, you might need to replace them or paint the wall.

Painting is one of the logical moves to improve your room aesthetic if your wallpaper is out of fashion or you’re tired of it. Ideally, experts will advise you to remove the wallpaper before painting the wall. But wallpapers are challenging to remove and may cause damage to the wall. Such damage will require extra effort and money to repair the wall before painting.

Alternatively, you can paint over the wallpaper to obtain an excellent result on the wall. Painting over the wallpaper isn’t as easy as rolling the paint roller on the wallpaper. It requires some basic steps to obtain a good result. This guide will discuss whether you can paint over wallpaper and how to paint over wallpaper.

Can I Apply Paint Over Wallpaper?

Yes, you can apply paint over the wallpaper. If you ask experts, they will probably tell you it’s best to remove the wallpaper and repair any wall damage before applying paint on the dry wall.

But removing the wallpaper and repairing walls (if damaged) is stressful and may lead to extra costs. Therefore painting over the wallpaper is your best shot to improve your room’s aesthetic.

However, you can’t apply paint over some wallpaper. This wallpaper includes fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper and those that peel on multiple surfaces.

But it’s interesting to know that wallpapers of these characteristics are easy to remove and cause little or no damage to the wall. In fact, it’s often believed that wallpapers bad for painting over are easy to remove with minimal damage, and those that allow painting over are difficult to remove.

Hence, before you decide to remove or paint over your wallpaper, you must consider the factors mentioned above. So let your success with the information determine whether you can paint over your wallpaper or not.

So, yes, you can apply paint over your wallpaper, although you have to make some considerations before making the painting decision.

Step by Step guide to Apply Paint over your Wallpaper

Painting over your wallpaper is a simple ‘Do it Yourself’ task you can do without help from experts. If you wish to paint over your wallpaper, you’ll need the following supplies to get the job done:

Below are the steps you will follow to obtain an excellent result when you paint over wallpaper.

1.     Clean the wall covered with wallpaper with diluted TSP or mild detergent

When preparing your wallpaper wall for painting, you need to wipe away all forms of dirt and dust from its surface.

It would be best to use a soft, damp cloth to remove the dirt and avoid soiling the wallpaper with water. If the surface is greasy, clean the surface with a damped cloth immersed in diluted trisodium phosphate (TSP) or mild detergent. The TSP or detergent acts as a solvent to dissolve the greasy substance on the wallpaper surface.

TSP is a strong chemical that you must dilute with water in the correct ratio to clean the wallpaper surface efficiently. Follow the manufacturer’s direction of use to dilute the chemical correctly.

You may use a paint brush to apply the diluted TSP or mild detergent on the wall and allow it to dry. After drying, use a soft, damp cloth to clean the wallpaper surface to remove the chemical with dissolved grease from the surface.

Note: Ensure the soft cloth is not dripping wet to prevent soiling the adhesive below the wallpaper and soften it.

2.     Repair any fault on the Wallpaper

Now, after cleaning the wallpaper, you should check for peeling edges or loose seams of wallpaper and repair them. You can use wallpaper adhesives or gums to fix wallpaper loose ends or peeling in corners/edges by reattaching the loose fragments and seams to the wall.

Also, if the wallpaper peeling is large and easy to notice, you can use the drywall spackling. The drywall spackling levels the peel, and you proceed to sand it when dried with sandpaper—the sandpaper help to smoothen the surface and make it even for painting.

In addition, you can cut off any peel and loose edges and proceed to fill it with drywall spackling to create a level, smooth, and even surface after sanding.

Moreover, you may sand the whole surface of the wallpaper until smooth if its texture is undesirable to you. After sanding the surface, you should clean the surface with a damp cloth to remove dust.

3.     Tape off sections you don’t want to apply paint

With the painter’s tape, tape wall sections such as wainscot, molding, door and window trims, and baseboard that you don’t want to apply paint.

4.      Rub the Wallpaper Wall with Primer

Primers are liquid substances used as painting preparatory agents on wallpaper walls to prevent the absorption of paint by the wallpaper and efficient sticking of paint on the wallpaper.

While preparing to paint your wallpaper wall, you need an oil-based primer irrespective of the type of paint you will use. Unlike the water-based type, the oil-based primer does not soak the wallpaper nor weaken its adhesives.

Use a painting roller to apply primer on the wall and a painting brush to access tight corners on the wall.

After applying the primer, allow it to dry off according to the time given by its manufacturer. Also, ensure good ventilation in the space to aid proper drying.

5.     Top Coat the wall with Paint

Once you finish cleaning, repairing, taping, and priming the wallpaper wall, you can then proceed to paint over the wallpaper as you will on ordinary walls.

It would be best if you double Coat the wall with paint. The double coating is necessary if you want to paint over a dark-colored wallpaper to mask the patterns below it.

If you’re double coating your wall, ensure the first painting dry thoroughly before painting it the second time.

Note: After total drying, ensure you remove the painter’s tape before paint curing. You can check the manufacturer’s instructions to know when the paint will start curing.


Painting over your old or peeling wallpaper is possible, although sometimes you might need to remove the wallpaper before painting the wall.

Nevertheless, painting over your wallpaper is an easy home improvement technique you can do yourself. Simply follow the steps above to obtain a good painting result.

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