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3 things to do before you paint over wallpaper

  • McClatchy-Tribune News Service
  • Published Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, at 12:18 p.m.

You may be considering painting over wallpaper, but should you?

Highly rated painters that the Angie’s List team interviewed recommend removing wallpaper before painting it. The extra work that removal requires is usually worth it, since painted wallpaper may bubble and seams may show. Sometimes, getting wallpaper wet with paint can even cause it to peel off.

On top of it all, painting over wallpaper will eventually create extra work for you or others, since it’s more difficult to remove. You might even damage a wall when removing painted wallpaper, especially if the paper was on the wall for years.

Be aware, though, that if you remove wallpaper, you may uncover the need to do extra prep work, such as patching or retexturing a now-bare wall.

If you’re determined to paint over wallpaper, consider these pro-recommended steps:

1. Apply an alcohol-based sealer over the wallpaper.

2. Spread a coat of drywall compound over the wallpaper seams. After the compound dries, lightly sand it. With textured wallpaper, you may want to spread drywall compound over the entire surface.

3. Apply a latex primer that’s been tinted to match your paint color. Then, apply two coats of latex paint and hope for the best.

If you’d rather not do painting or wallpaper work yourself, be smart about hiring. Get multiple bids from pros who have good reputations among your friends, family, neighbors or on a trusted online review site. Be sure to get a contract that spells out cost and all other important details.

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