Many homeowners love the look of wallpaper because it adds unique patterns or textures to walls, covers imperfections and created a finish wall surface. Quality vinyl wallpaper when installed properly can last up to 15 years with very little maintenance. However some people see that durability as an issue. This is because many patterns and designs go out of style and many homeowners like to change the look of their home often. Paint often is cheaper and easier to apply and can be changed easily often.
It can be tempting to paint over old and outdated wallpaper. Many experts however suggest that wallpaper always be removed before painting when possible because it will lead to a better result and less problems in the future. However for some people stripping the wallpaper may not be an option. This is because the walls themselves beneath the wallpaper are not in good enough shape or removing the paper will cause more problems.
Wallpaper generally is applied in rows, so when it is painted over, the seams of these rows will show through the paint. Also most wallpaper is textured meaning those patterns and textures may show through the paint too. Also the moisture from the paint itself can loosen the adhesive of the wallpaper, which will cause bubbling and detachment from the wall.
However there can be many problems that arise when removing wallpaper altogether. First the work is difficult and can be quite time consuming. This ultimately depends on how and when the paper was first applied. Those who are doing this work in older homes may find several layers of paper and each one will be more difficult to remove. The plaster or drywall underneath can be damaged or crumbled with the wallpaper being the only thing holding it together.
Any wallpaper that has holes, is ripped or is loose should always be removed before any painting occurs. This is because it is certain that the paper will come apart and painting will waste any effort and money in the long term.
Always consider your future plans for the space you’re working on. Any wallpaper that is painting over is difficult to remove. If you plan to stay in your home for a while, it is better to remove it now instead of making it more of a bother in the future.
Painting Over Wallpaper
There are a few instances where painting over wallpaper is a beneficial option. First, this makes sure that the plaster walls and drywall stays intact during the project. By leaving wallpaper in place, there is no damage to the walls. Also, it keeps walls staying in their current conditions. Secondly, leaving the wallpaper intact allows you to paint your walls more quickly and in an easier fashion.
If you opt to paint over wallpaper, you must prep your walls carefully to make sure the best results occur. Start by securing the wallpaper. Remove and replace any damaged sections adding adhesive to loose pieces to reduce the chance of the paper from crumbling or falling. Next add a thin line of clear caulk around the walls. This will help seal any edges and keep the wallpaper from peeling after painting has occurred.
Next, take some time to prep the walls. Cover any heavily-textured wallpaper with a thin coat of spackle. This will help smooth out the painting surface so the texture won’t show through the paint. Sand down the seams of the wallpaper so they are less noticeable. Next, apply an oil-based primer to the entire surface of the walls being painted. This will help to seal the adhesive in the paper to stay away from the moisture in the paint, which can loosen glue and cause peeling or bubbles. Now the surface is ready for painting.
An oil-based paint is the best option as it will go on smoother and helps to hide wall imperfections the best. It also has a smoother texture, which will help hide the texture of the wallpaper underneath (if applicable). Some disadvantages to this type of paint however is that it needs to be touched up often. Also, it does yellow over time and doesn’t resist mildew well (which should be taken into consideration if being used in a bathroom). Also bubbling is probable during the painting process, which makes prepping the wallpaper thoroughly before painting that much more important. Latex paint has too much moisture in it, which will promote wallpaper from unhinging. Apply two coats of paint for the best results. Wait one full day in between coats and lightly sand the first cost for the best overall result in your space.