How To Paint Over Ripped Wallpaper

How To Paint Over Ripped Wallpaper

How To Paint Over Ripped Wallpaper

Understanding the Potential Issues with Ripped Wallpaper

Recognizing the problems with torn or ripped wallpaper is the first crucial step in learning how to deal with it appropriately. Ignoring these issues can lead to unattractive results and jeopardize the overall appearance of your room. Here are some key problems that you may encounter:

Degradation of Wall's Appearance

When wallpaper is torn, it disrupts the consistency of the wall's surface and affects the aesthetic appeal. Civilization on top of this could yield bumpy and uneven results, which may not be pleasing to the eye.

Misalignment and Inconsistencies

Another issue could be the misalignment of patterns or colour mismatches if a piece of wallpaper is ripped. Painting over a ripped wallpaper without repairing it first could result in visible inconsistencies that will draw attention for all the wrong reasons.

Damage to Wall Surface

Stripping wallpaper can often damage the wall surface beneath, especially if it is removed abruptly or without the right tools. If the wallpaper is torn or ripped, it could expose these underlying imperfections.

Humidity Issues

If the ripped wallpaper is located in a place with high humidity levels such as bathrooms or kitchens, the issue becomes more complex. As the damp can seep through the tear, making it harder to paint over and potentially damaging the wall's surface.

Sticking issues

Paint does not adhere well to surfaces that are variable in nature, something that is very common with ripped or torn wallpapers. This can cause uneven distribution of paint, leading to disappointing end-results.

The Presence of Adhesives

The presence of old adhesives can also pose a problem. Older wallpapers were often applied with adhesives that might not react well with new paint, leading to undesirable finishes.

Effort and Cost

Finally, dealing with ripped wallpaper requires effort and expenditure. Whether you choose to repair or replace it before painting, additional work and materials are needed. This factor should be considered, especially if you're working within a budget.

In dealing with ripped or torn wallpaper, understanding these potential challenges ensures you're better prepared for the task ahead.

Tools and Materials: Everything You Need to Paint Over Ripped Wallpaper

Successfully painting over ripped wallpaper requires more than just a fresh coat of paint. The correct tools and materials are critical to achieving a finished look that is smooth and professional. This provides a thorough breakdown of what you'll need.

_wallpaper Adhesive_

The first step in repairing ripped wallpaper is to secure the paper back to the wall. For this, you need a high-quality wallpaper adhesive. This can be either a ready-made product or a mix-it-yourself kind of adhesive. Make sure it is designed for the specific type of wallpaper you have, as different types may require different adhesives.

_Paintable Wallpaper Liner_

To ensure a smooth finish, a paintable wallpaper liner is highly recommended. This is applied over the existing wallpaper to conceal any texture or imperfections. Make sure to choose a liner that is suitable for the type of paint you're going to use.


Before applying paint, a primer is needed to ensure adhesion and durability of the paint. An oil-based primer is a good choice as it has excellent bonding and stain-blocking properties. It's also effective in sealing the surface, which can prevent any existing wallpaper colors and patterns from showing through your new paint.


After applying the primer, it's time for your chosen paint color. Opt for latex paint, because it's easier to work with and dries quickly. In addition, it is resistant to yellowing and has less of a paint odor compared to oil-based paints.


In terms of tools, you'll need scissors for cutting the wallpaper liner, a utility knife to trim excess liner, a smoother to ensure a flat finish without bumps or air bubbles, and brushes or rollers to apply the adhesive, primer, and paint.

_Wallpaper Scorer_

A wallpaper scorer can be handy if any part of the wallpaper needs to be removed. This tool creates small perforations in the wallpaper, which allows the removal solution to penetrate and loosen the adhesive.

_Safety Equipment_

Finally, don't forget about safety. While painting over ripped wallpaper, it is necessary to use gloves to protect your hands, goggles for your eyes, and a mask, especially if you're sensitive to the fumes produced by the primer and paint.


Make sure to prepare everything necessary before starting the task to ensure an uninterrupted process and an end result that looks professionally done.

Preparing Your Workspace for the Project

Before diving into the painting over ripped wallpaper process, you’ll need to prepare your workspace. The preparation stage is key in ensuring a smooth workflow and preventing unnecessary mishaps. This involves protecting the surfaces you don’t want painted and arranging your tools in a manner that promotes efficiency.

Clearing the Space

Begin by removing all furniture, wall hangings, switch covers and outlet plates from the wall. You can stash them in another room to prevent damage or exposure to paint. This also gives you ample space to move about while painting. If moving all furniture is impractical, simply push them to the centre of the room. Also, remove any dust or cobwebs from the wall and baseboards to ensure a clean painting surface.

Covering the Floor and Furniture

To protect your floor from paint splatters, cover it with a drop cloth. Ensure it extends about a foot beyond the painting area to adequately capture any paint that might drip off. You should also use plastic sheeting or old sheets to cover furniture that can't be moved out of the room.

Window and Doorway Protection

Cover windows and doorways with painter's plastic and tape to prevent paint from getting on them. This practice also ensures that no dust or debris interrupts the drying process. Masking tape is effective in keeping the plastic in place.

Organizing Your Painting Tools

Keep your painting tools in a designated area in the workspace. This could be a tray or a small table covered with a drop cloth. Doing so enables you to easily access what you need, keeps your tools organized, and prevents paint from spillage or drips from marring the rest of the space.

Setting Up a Step Ladder

If you're painting over a large area, you may need to use a step ladder. Ensure it is stable and set at an appropriate distance from the wall. Always maintain three points of contact (either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand) on the ladder.

Safety Considerations

Prioritize safety during the workspace preparation phase by wearing protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a mask. Also, ensure your space is well-lit to help prevent accidents and ensure you see small details and imperfections during the painting process. Preferably, open the windows for ventilation to avoid inhaling potentially harmful fumes from the paint.

Like every other home-improvement project, preparing your workspace for painting is essential. Taking the time to do it properly will not only make the project go more smoothly but also lead to a higher-quality end result.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fixing the Rips in Your Wallpaper

Repairing torn wallpaper is not nearly as difficult as you might think and doesn't always require professional assistance, especially when the rip is small and precise steps are followed. Take note of the steps below.

Identify and Evaluate the Damage

Before you can rush into fixing the problem, you need to assess the situation. Check the ripped wallpaper, how big is the tear, is it a corner that's peeling off, or is it near a seam? By knowing what kind of repair you're going to do, you can better set your strategy for repairing the wallpaper.

Gather Your Materials

You'll need a few basic items to get the job done. This includes a sponge, a bucket, adhesive for wallpaper, utility knife, seam roller and a paint brush. Make sure to have them on hand before starting.

Prepare the Ripped Area

Ensure the area is ready for fixing. Gently clean the area around the rip with a lightly damp sponge to remove any dust or dirt that might interfere with the adhesive.

Apply the Adhesive

Gently lift up the torn wallpaper and apply a generous amount of wallpaper adhesive underneath it using the paintbrush. Try to coat the entire underside of the torn paper.

Position the Wallpaper

Smooth the wallpaper back into its original position. Make sure it aligns perfectly with the surrounding wallpaper.

Smooth Out the Wallpaper

Using the seam roller, gently roll over the area where the wallpaper was torn to ensure that it blends in smoothly with the rest of the wall. Be careful not to roll too hard as this might squeeze out all the adhesive, rendering your repair work useless.

Wipe Off Excess Adhesive

Failing to wipe off excess adhesive could result in shiny patches that make the walls look uneven. Use your sponge to clean off any excess adhesive that seeps out from the repaired area. Leave the area to dry.

Paint Over the Wallpaper

If necessary, paint over the fixed wallpaper. Choose a colour that's a perfect match to the rest of your wallpaper and apply sparingly to avoid making the patched area obvious.

And just like that, you can transform your old, ripped wallpaper into a seamless wall. With care and patience, you can extend the life of your wallpaper for many years to come.

Choosing the Right Paint and Primer for Wallpaper

Selecting the appropriate paint and primer is an essential step in the process of painting over ripped wallpaper. This choice can make all the difference between achieving a smooth, professional finish and having the wallpaper ripples or patterns continue to show through the paint.

Finding the Ideal Primer

First and foremost, it's necessary to choose a high-quality primer. A solid base is key to ensuring the paint adheres properly to the surface and providing a smooth, uniform appearance. Always utilize an oil-based primer rather than water-based when painting over wallpaper. Water-based primers are far more likely to soak into the wallpaper and cause it to bubble or peel. A good primer also seals the wallpaper, preventing it from absorbing the subsequent layers of paint.

Choosing Quality Paint

After priming, the next step is picking the right paint. Latex paint is often the go-to choice. It's flexible and highly resistant to cracking, so it's perfect for concealed wallpaper. Opt for a finish that suits the room's needs - a semi-gloss or gloss finish for rooms that require frequent cleaning like kitchens and bathrooms, and a flat or eggshell finish for less-trafficked areas.

Considering the Color

The color of the paint is also an essential factor. Lighter colors may require more coats to fully hide the wallpaper underneath, especially if the wallpaper is in dark hues. If you want to use a lighter color, consider using a tinted primer to provide a stronger color base. A color swatch test is advisable before painting the whole wall.

Protective Top Coats

Last but not least, a protective top coat can be applied once the paint has dried. This creates a protective barrier and gives the wall a polished professional look. There are different types of top coats, from clear acrylic finishes to polyurethane. They make the surface easy to clean and resistant to wear and tear, but are not always necessary— it depends on the room usage and the finish of the paint.

Shop Around

It’s wise to shop around when choosing your primer, paint, and top coats. Prices can vary quite significantly between brands, and more expensive doesn't always mean better quality. Test a few and choose the best fit for your specific project.

Applying Primer Over Wallpaper

Prior to beginning the application of primer over wallpaper, you'll want to smooth out any rough patches to ensure a professional-looking finish. Should there exist any indentations or ripped sections in your wallpaper, it is beneficial to repair these damages before you start the priming procedure. It is worth noting, however, that some minor imperfections might still show through after the primer is applied, particularly if the wallpaper has a highly textured design. Even so, a decent primer-and-paint combo can hide many issues.

Tools Needed

  • Quality Bonding Primer or High-Adhesion Primer
  • Paint Roller or Paint Brush
  • Paint Tray

Acquiring high-quality tools and supplies is an aspect that shouldn’t be neglected. A bonding primer or high-adhesion primer is usually the best choice for painting over wallpaper due to the adhesive properties that help the primer stick effectively to the wallpaper.

Steps to Apply Primer over Wallpaper

  1. Prep the Walls: Begin by cleaning the surface of the wallpaper to remove dust and grease that may interfere with the primer’s adhesion. If necessary, do minor repairs on rips and tears on the wallpaper.
  2. Apply the Primer: Pour your primer into a paint tray. Using a paint roller or brush, apply an even coat of primer over the wallpaper. Be sure to start at the top and work your way down for the most even coverage.
  3. Let it Dry: Allow the primer to dry completely before proceeding with any painting. The drying time will depend on the particular primer you're using, check the primer’s instructions to know the exact drying time.

Tips for Applying Primer Over Wallpaper

It's important to not saturate the wallpaper with too much primer in one go, as this can cause the wallpaper to bubble or peel. If the wallpaper starts to peel after applying the primer, allow it to dry and then carefully trim away the peeled wallpaper with a utility knife before continuing.

Finally, if the wallpaper has a dark pattern or color, you might want to consider applying a second coat of primer before painting to avoid any of the patterns showing through.

Painting Over the Wallpaper: Techniques for a Seamless Finish

When it comes to painting over your wallpaper, the key is in ensuring the preparation has been expertly executed. Giving ripped wallpaper an impressive, neat, and seamless appearance after painting may not be easy, but with the right knowledge, you can achieve spectacular results. Here are a series of recommendations and techniques for achieving an impeccable finish.

Make any necessary Wall Repairs

Before any serious painting can occur, you need to repair any damaged areas. You can’t paint over ripped wallpaper without treating it. Applying a universal wall covering primer that can stick to wallpaper is the best option to begin with.

Smoothing Wallpaper Seams

Seamless finishes are determined by how well your wallpaper seams are smoothed. Applying a thin layer of drywall joint compound along the seams and letting it dry is a fantastic way to handle this. Once it's dry, sand it until it's smooth for the best results. While painting, use long, even strokes to minimize the appearance of any kind of wallpaper texture.

Priming the Wallpaper

Once your walls are smooth, prime them with an oil-based primer. This is a critical step, as it helps prevent the wallpaper from peeling when you apply your paint later. It's important to let the primer dry completely before moving on. This could take up to 24 hours depending on the product.

Applying your Chosen Paint

Now, you're ready to apply your paint of choice. It's highly recommended to use acrylic latex paint. Apply at least two coats to ensure you fully cover the primer. Keep in mind to not rush the drying process between coats. Also, avoid using dark colors as they can highlight any imperfections.

Final Touches

After finishing with the painting, examine your walls carefully for any missed spots, bubbles or uneven colors. A quick touch-up can correct these issues and give your walls a truly professional finish.

With these steps carefully embarked on, you should have a seamless, impressive wallpaper that speaks style and professional crafting. Painting over wallpaper doesn't have to be a herculean task, and with the right techniques, you can transform your space in no time.

Care and Maintenance Tips After Painting Over Wallpaper

Once you've successfully painted over wallpaper, the next logical step is to ensure that your newly painted wall remains in good condition for as long as possible. By properly maintaining the painted wallpaper, you can extend the life of your paint job and reduce the likelihood of damage. Here are some recommendations for care and maintenance after painting over wallpaper.

Allow Ample Time for Drying

Paint over wallpaper needs time to dry correctly. It is recommended to give at least 24 hours before applying any form of pressure or cleaning the wall. During this time, keep the room well ventilated to speed up the drying process.

Cleaning the Wall

Cleaning the wall on a regular basis can help preserve the paint. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could scratch or damage the paint. Instead, use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with warm, soapy water and gently clean the walls.

Avoid Excess Moisture

Excessive moisture can damage the paint and the wallpaper below it. It's important to avoid situations that may cause the painted wallpaper to become overly wet, such as steam from hot showers or spillages.

Treat Scratches and Marks Immediately

Immediate attention to any scratches or marks can prevent them from becoming a significant issue. Use a small brush to apply a bit of paint over the damaged area. Be sure to use the same type and color of paint used initially on the wallpaper.

Regular Inspection

Regularly inspecting your wall for signs of peeling or bubbling can help you address any potential problems early. This proactive approach will allow you to repair any minor issues before they become more serious and harder to fix.

Use Protective Measures

If your wall is at a high risk of damage, due to high traffic areas, for instance, consider using protective measures. This could include installing chair rails or using furniture that doesn’t rub directly against the wall.

Remember, proper care and maintenance can extend the life of your paint job, letting your wallpaper continue to add beauty to your room.