How To Paint Over Wallpaper Seams

How To Paint Over Wallpaper Seams

How To Paint Over Wallpaper Seams

Introduction to Painting Over Wallpaper Seams

Decorating your interior walls provides a unique opportunity to revamp any space and your personality shine. One aspect to consider in this process is the possibility of painting over wallpaper seams. Whether you're considering a new color palette or need a cost-effective solution to hide unpleasant wallpaper, painting over wallpaper seams can accomplish both.

Understanding Wallpaper Seams

The term ‘wallpaper seams’ refers to the juncture where two strips of wallpaper meet. In most cases, these seams are barely visible and merge seamlessly into the overall pattern. However, over time, they can become more apparent, causing a blemished look on your wall. Before painting, it's essential to understand the nature of these seams and prepare them adequately for the new paintwork.

Importance of Preparing Wallpaper Seams

Preparation is key when it comes to achieving a professional-looking finish when painting over wallpaper. Without proper treatment, wallpaper seams can create raised lines or bubbles under the paint, detracting from the overall appearance. Therefore, spending some time preparing the seams can significantly influence the end result.

Prepping the Seams

Prepping the seams involves securing any loose edges, using joint compound to minimize seam visibility, and sanding down the area for a smooth, even surface.

Securing Loose Edges

Loose wallpaper edges can cause visible defects in the painted surface. Therefore, double-check the wallpaper seams for any loose or peeling areas. Secure them with a strong adhesive to ensure a smooth foundation for your paintwork.

Applying Joint Compound

Joint compound is a popular product used in wall repair and preparation. Applying a thin layer over the seams can help to reduce their visibility. Once applied, allow time for it to dry thoroughly.

Sanding the Seams

Smooth out any rough spots from the dried joint compound using sandpaper. This creates a level surface, ready for the application of primer.

Priming the Wallpaper

Once the seams are prepped, the next step is to apply a primer. This will not only help hide the seams but further ensure a smooth paint application. It's advisable to use an oil-based primer, as it adheres well to the wallpaper and provides a good base for your paint.

Painting Over the Wallpaper Seams

After primer application, you are finally ready to paint. Choose a quality paint and apply uniformly for best results. Painting over wallpaper is a unique process, as the pattern and texture of the wallpaper can add depth and dimension to your chosen paint color. With detailed attention and patience, your walls can have a stunning transformation.

Understanding Wallpaper Seams and Why They Show Through Paint

Wallpaper seams are visible when the edges of the wallpaper do not line up precisely or when the glue used during installation seeps out from behind the paper. Despite the best efforts to install wallpaper seamlessly, slight imperfections can often be noticed, particularly after painting over the wallpaper.

What Causes Wallpaper Seams?

Several factors can cause visible wallpaper seams. Poor installation is the most common cause. When wallpaper is not aligned correctly, noticeable seams can be seen where the edges meet. Additionally, if too much or insufficient adhesive is applied, this could lead to raised edges that create unsightly lines on the wall.

Seams and Paint Application

Applying paint over wallpaper may not cover these seams as one might expect. Instead, paint may accentuate them even more. The reason is that paint, unlike wallpaper adhesive, does not contract when dry. Consequently, the thick layer of paint on a wallpaper seam may highlight it instead of hiding it.

Seam Visibility After Painting

Upon the application of an initial layer of paint, wallpaper seams may not seem conspicuous. However, with each successive coat of paint, the seams become more apparent, with the paint highlighting the height difference between the wall and the seam.

Paint Types

The type of paint used can also play a significant role in how visible the wallpaper seams are after painting. High-gloss paints may highlight imperfections due to their reflective nature, making seams stand out. On the other hand, using a flat or matte paint can help mask seams as these types of paint do not reflect light.

The Right Equipment

Using the right painting tools can make a difference in how noticeable the seams will be. A thicker roller that can better distribute and blend the paint over the uneven surfaces will help in reducing the visibility of seams.


Preparing the wall correctly before painting it cannot be overemphasized. Proper wall preparation, which includes cleaning the wallpaper, repairing any noticeable seams, and priming the wall, can significantly help in hiding these seams.


In conclusion, understanding what causes wallpaper seams and why they show up through paint is the first crucial step towards making them less noticeable. Additionally, by selecting the right paint, using appropriate tools, and correctly preparing your wall before painting, you can significantly mitigate this wallpaper seams visibility.

Preparing Your Room for Painting

Prior to painting over wallpaper seams, it is crucial to adequately prepare your room to ensure a smooth and efficient process. This involves clearing the room, protecting the floors, and adequately treating the walls and seams.

Clearing the Room

The first step in preparing your room is to clear it. Remove any pieces of furniture that can be taken out of the room. For large and heavy items that cannot be moved, place them in the center of the room and cover them with a drop cloth to protect against paint splatter.

Protecting the Floors

Next, you should take steps to protect your floors. Lay drop cloths or old sheets on the floor to protect it from potential paint drips and spills. If you're working in a carpeted room, consider using a plastic sheet underneath the cloth for extra protection.

Removing Wall Fixtures

Before starting the painting process, ensure all wall fixtures are removed. This includes light switch and outlet covers, curtain rods, and any wall art or decorations. This will prevent them from being accidentally painted on and make the task of painting the walls much easier.

Pre-Treating the Walls

Once your room is clear and floors protected, the walls need to be pre-treated. Dust or vacuum the walls to remove any surface dirt and debris. Then wash your walls with a mixture of mild detergent and warm water. After washing, allow the walls to dry fully.

Dealing with Wallpaper Seams

It is also important to properly treat your wallpaper seams. If the seams are peeling or loose, apply seam adhesive. Following this, prime your walls to help the paint stick to the wallpaper seams. Once your primer dries, lightly sand the seams to level them with the rest of the wall.

Taping Off Areas

Lastly, you need to tape off areas that you do not want to paint. Use painter's tape to protect the edge of the ceiling, moulding, and any other areas where you want a clean line. Make sure to press down firmly on the tape to prevent paint seepage.

With these steps, your room is now fully prepared for painting over the wallpaper seams, and you can look forward to achieving a flawless finish.

The Importance of Cleaning and Priming Wallpaper

To successfully paint over wallpaper seams, one needs to pay particular attention to the preparation process. Quality preparation is directly correlated to how smooth and professional the final results will look. An essential part of the preparation process is cleaning and priming the wallpaper. Before painting, you must get rid of any dust, dirt or grease that could affect adherence. The process of priming, meanwhile, ensures optimal levels of adhesion, stain blocking and durability.

Cleaning the Wallpaper

Just like any other painting job, the first step in painting over wallpaper seams is to thoroughly clean the wallpapered surface. This is necessary because accumulated dust, grime, or grease can limit the effectiveness of primers and paints. Initially, a dry cloth can be used to wipe away the surface dust. However, embedded grime may need a light water and detergent solution. It's important to remember to use a non-soapy detergent, as it doesn't leave any residue that might interfere with paint adhesion. After the washing up, allow the wall to dry completely before proceeding to the priming stage.

Priming the Wallpaper

Priming is another crucial step in preparing your wallpapered surface for painting. The primer creates an intermediate surface that aids in the proper adherence of paint. Furthermore, it helps to mask any vibrant or dark colors and patterns on the existing wallpaper, ensuring that they don't show through the new paint. Select a high-quality, oil-based primer for optimal results. Oil-based primers are preferable because they prevent any adhesive or colors from the wallpaper from bleeding through the paint. It's also worth noting that if your wallpaper is textured, a thicker primer may be necessary to even out the surface.

Applying the Primer

When applying the primer, start in one corner and move your way across the wall, painting in “W” patterns for an even spread. Make sure to allow the primer to dry completely according to the product’s instructions before you begin painting. Drying times can vary depending on the primer brand and the existing temperature and humidity levels. Once the primer is thoroughly dry, you're ready to take on the painting process with confidence that your new color or design will adhere smoothly and cleanly to your primed wallpaper seams.

The Role of Cleaning and Priming in Longevity

While cleaning and priming may seem like added work, it also plays a role in the longevity of your paint job. Without proper cleaning and priming, your paint may peel or chip prematurely, leading to an unprofessional finish and additional repair costs down the line. Quality preparation, including thorough cleaning and priming, is the key to a beautiful and durable painted surface that will stand the test of time.

Techniques for Filling and Smoothing Wallpaper Seams

When dealing with wallpaper, one of the challenges often faced is the visibility of wallpaper seams. These seams, if not addressed leading to a less than attractive finish. However, by employing various techniques, these seams can be adequately filled and smoothed out, presenting a seamless and aesthetically pleasing wall decoration.

Selecting the Right Filling Compound

The type of filling compound you select can significantly impact the effectiveness of your seam concealment. A good choice is a joint compound because of its easy workability and smooth finish. The joint compound is a type of plaster used to finish drywall and masonry works and can fill in the seams between pieces of wallpaper with relative ease.

Applying the Filling Compound

Application is a fundamental stage when filling wallpaper seams. Firstly, ensure the wall area is clean. A good compound spreader comes in handy for this job; it allows you to apply just enough compound to the seams. Push the compound into the seams using the spreader, ensuring it fills the seam entirely.

Allow for Drying Time

Patience is key. Allow the joint compound to dry completely before moving on to the next step. Drying times can vary based on factors such as brand and room temperature, but typically, a period ranging between 12-24 hours will be adequate.

Sanding the Walls

Once the joint compound is completely dry, smooth out the area around the seams using sandpaper. Fine-grit sandpaper is most appropriate for this task as it effectively reduces the volume of the dry joint compound while smoothing out any rough edges.

Checking the surface

After sanding, wipe away any dust and check the surface for any imperfections. Remember, the goal is to achieve a surface smooth enough to paint over. If any dents or scratches are found, they should be filled and sanded once more.

Priming the wallpaper

Priming the wallpaper with a sealing primer will ensure that the wallpaper and compound are sealed off from the paint, safeguarding against any potential problems that could arise when painting directly onto the wallpaper.

Painting over the wallpaper seams

Once the primer has dried, it's time to paint over the wallpaper seams. Depending on the type of paint used, multiple coats may be needed to achieve a seamless, flawless finish. Remember to allow enough time for each coat to dry before applying the next.

By following these techniques, one can effectively fill and smooth wallpaper seams, leaving a sleek, attractive wall ready for painting.

Choosing the Right Paint and Tools

Choosing the right paint and tools is a crucial part of the process when painting over wallpaper seams. The type of paint and applicators you use can significantly affect both the quality of the finish and the ease of application. Let's delve deeper into the choices and considerations you need to make.

Type of Paint to Use

Most times, an acrylic or latex paint with a satin or semi-gloss finish will work best for this purpose. These types of paints adhere well to wallpaper and provide a smooth finish. The finish type will give the painted wallpaper a slight sheen that helps to conceal the seams and other imperfections.

Selecting the Right Tools

When painting over wallpaper, it's significantly critical to have good quality tools. Invest in a good quality paintbrush – a medium to a thick-bristle brush about 3 to 4 inches wide is usually sufficient for the size and type of work involved.

We also advise choosing a 9-inch roller with a medium nap for larger wall areas. The roller will help to give an even application of paint that will result in a smooth finish.

Prepping the Wallpaper

Before applying the paint, there are a couple of tools that can help in prepping the wallpaper. Firstly, a seam roller can help to flatten the wallpaper's seams and ensure they adhere fully to the wall. Secondly, using an oil-based primer will seal the wallpaper and prevent the glue from reacting with the water in your paint. This reaction could otherwise cause the wallpaper to peel.

Other Essential Tools

Besides brushes and rollers, consider investing in other essential painting tools such as painter's tape, a paint tray, a small spackle knife, and some lightweight spackling. These will help to fix any small holes, cracks or joint lines in the wallpaper before painting.

Remember that a little extra time, effort, and money spent on getting the right paint and tools can make a big difference in the final result when painting over wallpaper seams.

Step-by-Step Guide for Painting Over Wallpaper Seams

Painting over wallpaper seams is a task that may sound complicated, but can actually be achieved with relative ease by following a few essential steps. The process involves prepping your wallpapered walls, sealing the seams, priming, and finally, painting.

Get the Necessary Materials

Before you begin, gather the necessary materials. You'll need a seam adhesive, a small brush to apply it, a seam roller, a good quality primer, the paint of your choice, and a variety of paintbrushes or rollers.

Preparation is Key

Start by cleaning your wallpapered walls. Any dust or grime might affect the way the paint applies and appears, so it's essential to start with a clean surface. You can use a mild soap and warm water for this. Ensure that the wall is thoroughly dried afterwards.

Fix the Seams

Next, the seams of the wallpaper need to be addressed. Use a small brush to apply a seam adhesive to any peeling or visible seams. Then, use a seam roller to press the wallpaper back into place. Wait for about 15-20 minutes to let the adhesive dry thoroughly.

Tips for Sealing the Seams

When rolling the seams, always work from the center outward for best results. Be patient, and don't rush the drying process. Make sure the seams are completely dry before moving onto the next step.

Application of Primer

Once the seams are secured and dry, apply a good quality primer over the entire wall. This is an important step, as the primer provides a suitable surface for the paint to adhere to and helps to conceal wallpaper patterns and colours.

Choosing the Right Primer

When choosing a primer, select an oil-based or shellac-based product as they have better adhesion and seep-proof qualities than water-based primers.

The Final Touch: Painting

After the primer has thoroughly dried, you can finally paint your wall. Use a roller or brush to apply the paint, ensuring to cover all areas evenly. Two coats are typically recommended for the best coverage and finish.

Let the Paint Dry

Following painting, leave your wall to dry for the recommended time on the paint can. Once dry, your previously wallpapered wall will have a beautiful, fresh finish and the seams will be a thing of the past.

Tips for Maintaining a Seamless Painted Wall

Once you've successfully painted over wallpaper seams, the goal is to keep the wall looking its best for as long as possible. Follow these tips to maintain a seamless appearance on your painted wall.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is one of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain a seamless look on a painted wall. Dust can accumulate on the wall surface, making the seams and wallpaper underneath visible over time. Wiping down the wall with a dry or slightly damp cloth every other week can prevent this. Avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals which may cause the paint and wallpaper to peel off.

Avoid Excessive Humidity

High humidity creates conditions that may cause the wallpaper to peel or bubble, revealing the seams underneath. To prevent this, try to regulate your indoor humidity levels. Using a dehumidifier in rooms with high moisture, like the bathroom or kitchen, can help protect your paint job.

Check for Damage Periodically

Periodically check the wall for any damage or issues. Look out for peeling, blistering or cracks in the paint work. If any issue is identified early enough, you can do a touch-up paint job on the affected area, which can prevent the problem from becoming more severe and harder to cover.

Use Quality Paint

Using high-quality paint is critical in maintaining a seamless painted wall. Low-quality paint may not adhere well to the wallpaper or it may fade over time, revealing the seams underneath. Although high-quality paint might be more expensive up-front, it can save you repair costs and effort in the long run.

Consult a Professional if Necessary

If maintaining the wall becomes challenging, don’t hesitate to consult a professional. They can provide expert advice and practical solutions to ensure your painted wall stays seamless and beautiful for longer.