What Kind Of Paint Do You Use To Paint Over Wallpaper

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use To Paint Over Wallpaper

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use To Paint Over Wallpaper

Introduction to Painting Over Wallpaper

When it comes to home renovations, painting over wallpaper can be a viable option for those seeking a fresh, updated look without the mess and effort of removing old wallpaper. Generally, the type of paint suited for wallpaper is the same as that used on drywall. The determining factors of the type of paint to use include the wallpaper's design and material, as well as the desired finish of the paint job. In this section, we will delve into the details of painting over wallpaper, providing practical guidance on paint types, preparation procedures, and expert tips for a flawless finish.

Perks of Painting Over Wallpaper

Instead of stripping old wallpaper, a task that can be daunting and time-consuming, painting over wallpaper is a shortcut that many homeowners and decorators take advantage of. This approach saves significant time and resources. Furthermore, painting over wallpaper can also create visually engaging textures that add more character to your walls.

When to Paint Over Wallpaper

Not all wallpaper is suitable to be painted over. It is mainly recommended when the wallpaper is too hard to remove or when peeling it off would damage the underlying surface. Besides that, if the wallpaper is in good condition and firmly adheres to the wall—with no signs of peeling or lifting—it can serve as a suitable canvas for painting.

Type of Paint to Use

Acrylic or oil-based paints are commonly chosen for painting over wallpaper due to their excellent adhesion properties. Semi-gloss or satin paints are also an option as they provide a washable surface that is ideal for high-traffic areas or rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is water-based. It dries quickly, provides a good covering over the wallpaper, and is easy to work with. This type of paint is also resistant to moisture, making it a suitable choice for humid areas of the house.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint, although harder to work with and slower to dry than acrylic paint, can offer a smoother and more durable finish. It's a good choice if the wallpaper has textured or embossed surfaces as it can better adhere to such substrates.

Preparing Wallpaper for Painting

Before the actual painting can commence, considerable care needs to be taken in preparing the wallpaper. This includes cleaning the wall, making repairs if necessary, priming the wallpaper, and ensuring that seams are well-sealed. Following these procedures will ensure the best possible end result.

The Importance of Assessing Wallpaper Before Painting

Prior to the painting process, it's absolutely necessary to conduct an in-depth assessment of the wallpaper's condition and type. This doesn't just guarantee a smoother painting process, it also ensures the longevity and durability of the final results.

Examine the Condition of the Wallpaper

Frequently, the necessity to paint over wallpaper is due to its deteriorating condition. You should thoroughly check the wallpaper for signs of damage such as peeling edges, bubbles, creases or tears. If the wallpaper is extensively damaged, painting over it could lead to unsatisfactory results, therefore, removal may be the best option.

Type of Wallpaper

The type of wallpaper can also affect the outcome of the paint job. For example, painting over textured wallpaper can result in a paint layer with uneven surfaces, while vinyl or foil wallpapers may resist the adhesion of paint. In such cases, primer application or further preparations may be required.

Color and Pattern of the Wallpaper

While many may not realize, the color or pattern of the existing wallpaper can potentially show through a fresh coat of paint, especially if the paint is of a lighter hue. A stain-blocking primer can help to create a neutral base, preventing any undesired transmission of the underlying wallpaper's features.

Check for Moisture Damage and Mold

A common issue with older wallpapers is the potential for moisture damage and mold growth. This can not only compromise the final look of the paint job, but it can also pose health risks. Before painting over the wallpaper, it's vital to make sure that any underlying issues are addressed to prevent further damage.

Wallpaper Adhesion

Verify if the wallpaper is secure and strongly adhering to the wall. If it is loose in any areas, applying paint can cause it to peel and curl. In such cases, wallpaper adhesive can be used to secure it before painting.

The Importance of Testing

After checking and preparing the wallpaper for painting, it's advised to do a small patch test to ensure that the paint adheres well and the results are satisfactory. This can help identify potential problems before full-scale project execution begins, saving both time and resources.

Risks of Skipping Assessment

Skipping these necessary steps of assessment can lead to uneven paint coverage, visible wallpaper designs, or even paint peeling along with the wallpaper. The time invested in this step ensures a professional and high-quality paint job even when working with pre-existing wallpaper.

Types of Paint Suitable for Painting Over Wallpaper

Painting over wallpaper requires careful consideration of the type of paint used to achieve an elegant, smooth, and durable finish. The performance of the paint significantly depends on its formula, finish, and bonding ability, adhering to the wallpaper's surface. Here are some of the best types of paint suitable for painting over wallpaper.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is an excellent choice for painting over wallpaper due to its superior adhesion capabilities. This type of paint can stick to almost any existing surface, including glossy and textured wallpaper. It leaves a hard and durable finish, which is highly resistant to chipping, cracking, and peeling. However, oil-based paint tends to have a high level of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which may pose health risks and thus requires good ventilation during application and drying.

Latex Paints

Latex paints, also known as water-based paints, are another option for painting over wallpaper. They are generally easier to work with than oil-based paints and produce less odor. These paints dry faster and have excellent color retention. They are less likely to yellow over time, making them ideal for areas that receive lots of light. When dealing with wallpapers, it's advisable to use latex paints with a primer to improve their adhesion.

Alkyd Paints

Alkyd paints are a type of oil paint that provides a robust, hard surface and excellent adhering properties. These paints are high in VOCs like traditional oil paints but offer a smoother finish. Thanks to their excellent durability, alkyd paints are suitable for high traffic areas and surfaces that require frequent cleanings, like kitchens and bathrooms.

The Choice of Finish

Regardless of the type of paint you choose, it's essential to select the right finish. Paint finishes come in different categories, including flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. For instance, high-gloss paints are durable and easy to clean, making them perfect for high traffic areas. On the other hand, flat paints hide imperfections, yet are harder to clean. The choice of finish will depend on the condition of the wallpaper and the desired aesthetics.

In a nutshell, painting over wallpaper opens up limitless possibilities for home decoration. But for the best results, take time to pick the right paint type and finish. Preparation also plays a crucial role, so don't forget to prep your wallpaper properly before painting.

The Role of Primers in Wallpaper Painting

When it comes to painting over wallpaper, primers play an indispensable role. Using the right primer can drastically transform your project and ensure a prolonged lifespan of your fresh paint. But what is a primer, and why is it so important?

What Is A Primer?

A primer is a preparatory coating put on materials before painting. It ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases durability, and provides extra protection to the material being painted. While many believe that painting directly onto wallpaper gives satisfactory results, including a primer in the process offers multiple significant advantages.

Importance of Using Primers

The main purpose of primers is to provide a surface to which paint can adhere properly. Primers have excellent adhesion properties that allow them to bind to surfaces like wallpaper effectively. Furthermore, they help in creating an even surface so that paint goes on smoothly and uniformly.

Sealing Porous Surfaces

One of the key reasons to use a primer when painting over wallpaper is to seal any porous surfaces. Wallpaper, especially older types, can be quite porous. This means it absorbs the paint, which can lead to an uneven finish or the need for multiple coats of paint. A primer seals these pores, resulting in an even coat of paint.

Providing a Neutral Base

Another critical role played by the primer is to provide a neutral base for your paint. Without it, the original color or pattern of the wallpaper can potentially show through, disrupting the colour consistency and aesthetics of the new paint.

Hiding Stains and Imperfections

Primers also help in hiding stains or imperfection on your wallpaper. The ability to cover such disadvantages is crucial because these imperfections can become glaringly obvious once the layer of paint is applied, even with several coats.

Choosing the Right Primer

Now that you understand the role of primers in painting wallpaper, the question remains, which primer should you use? Generally, oil-based primers or those specifically designed for wallpapers are preferred as they stick well to surfaces and provide excellent stain concealment. While primer selection may largely depend on the wallpaper material and the paint you're planning to use, consulting a professional can always help you make an informed decision.

Step by Step Guide to Painting Over Wallpaper

Painting over wallpaper is a convenient way to save time when redecorating a room, however, this requires a particular process to get a clean and even finish. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of painting over wallpaper effectively.

Step 1. Assess The Wallpaper Condition

Before you start, make sure the existing wallpaper is firmly adhered to the wall. Look for any loose ends, and if there's any, consider removing the wallpaper, instead of painting over it. Moreover, avoid painting over the wallpaper if it has a textured or metallic finish.

Step 2. Repair and Prepare

If the wallpaper is in acceptable condition, begin repairing any visible damages. Use a utility knife to cut away loose or torn sections, then seal them using adhesive. Smooth out bubbles with a wallpaper roller. Any remaining noticeable imperfections can be filled with a quick-dry filler or dry wall mud. Once dry, sand the patches to create an even surface.

Step 3. Clean the Surface

Cleaning the wallpaper is integral for a successful paint project. Use a sponge and soapy water to wipe down the walls. The aim is to remove any dust, grease or soap résidue that could interfere with the paint application.

Step 4. Use a Primer

Applying a primer is a crucial step when painting over wallpaper. It's designed to help the paint adhere better and more evenly. Generally, an oil-based primer is recommended to prevent the moisture from the paint soaking into the wallpaper and causing it to peel off.

Step 5. Select the Right Paint

You can use either latex or oil-based paint over your primer, but latex paint is more user-friendly and easier for cleanup. Choose satin or semi-gloss finish for best results. Avoid using high gloss paint as it can make any wallpaper textures more visible.

Step 6. Applying the Paint

Begin painting from the top of the wall, applying the latex paint with a roller for the large surface areas and a smaller brush for the detail work, such as corners and edges. Apply a second coat of paint, if necessary, once the first has completely dried.

Step 7. Final Touches

After the paint has dried, survey the walls for any uneven tones or patches. If needed, apply an additional coat. Once you are satisfied with the appearance, you can proceed with hanging pictures or adding other final touches.

With this guide, You can get a whole new look for your room - without the time and the mess of stripping down old wallpaper.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Painting Over Wallpaper

Considering painting over wallpaper? While this could be a quick fix to changing the look of your room, there are a few potential pitfalls to watch out for. It might look easy to flick a layer of paint over old wallpaper, but if you don't plan correctly, you're likely to face problems. Here are some common mistakes people often make, along with tips on how to avoid them.

Not Preparing the Wallpaper Properly

One of the main mistakes made by beginners is neglecting to prepare the wallpaper surface before painting. The colour and design of the wallpaper can bleed through the paint if the surface isn't primed properly. Applying a high-quality primer is a must. Additionally, all wallpaper seams should be smooth and any loose ends needs to be removed or re-adhered before painting.

Using the Wrong Type of Paint

Just as critical as prepping the wallpaper is choosing the right kind of paint. Not all types of paint adhere well to wallpaper. We recommend an oil-based paint or an acrylic primer followed by latex paint for smoother application and longer-lasting results. Always avoid chalky paints, as they are far more likely to peel off.

Failing to Test a Sample Area

Before you commit to painting the whole wall, trial a small section first. This will help you identify potential issues before you've painted the entire wall. You'll see if the colour bleeds through, or if the paint peels off once dried. If such issues arise, it's time to reconsider your primer or paint type, or possibly remove the wallpaper entirely.

Ignoring Moisture and Humidity

Another commonly overlooked factor is the impact of moisture and humidity on the wallpaper and paint. High levels of humidity can cause wallpaper to peel, blister or bubble, which in turn affects the finish of the paint. If your wallpapered room is in a moist environment, it might be better to strip the wallpaper instead of painting over it.

Skipping the Clean-up

After painting over wallpaper, it may feel like the hard work is done. Though, it's important to follow through with a thorough clean-up. Any stray paint drips on the floor, windows or furniture should be removed before they dry and become more difficult to eliminate.

Maintenance Tips for Painted Wallpaper

After working hard to paint over wallpaper, you'll definitely want to ensure that the end result lasts a long time. There are few maintenance tips to keep your painted wallpaper looking fresh and vibrant.

Regular Dusting

The first thing you should do is to keep the wallpaper dust-free. Accumulated dust can make the paint look dull. Regularly clean the surface with a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.

Avoid Moisture

Primarily in bathrooms or kitchens, steam and moisture can damage the paint over time. Try to keep the painted surface as dry as possible. If moisture is unavoidable, try to ventilate the area well to speed up the drying process.

Touch up Repairs

As with anything, painted wallpaper can get damaged over time. If peeling or chipping occurs, touch it up with paint immediately. It's a good idea to keep a small amount of the original paint for these small fixes.


For cleaning, mild soapy water often works best. Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive materials as they can damage the paint. Always test a small area before applying any cleaning solution to the entire surface.

Prevent Direct Sunlight

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the paint color to fade over time. If possible, use blinds, curtains or other window coverings to protect the wallpaper from excessive sunlight.

Avoid Hanging Heavy Objects

If possible, avoid hanging heavy objects on your painted wallpaper. Even small nail holes can cause problems over time, such as peeling or tearing. For wall hangings, consider using adhesive hooks that won't damage the wallpaper.

By following these simple maintenance tips, your painted wallpaper can retain its stunning appearance for many years. As with any home maintenance, a bit of preventative care can go a long way to avoid larger issues later on.

Enjoying your Newly Painted Wallpaper

Once the paint is thoroughly dry, it's time to admire your work. The use of the proper paint type over wallpaper not only transforms a room, but can also add a personalized, creative touch to your home. Painting over wallpaper is a practical way to refurbish an otherwise outdated or unattractive room, bringing new life to the walls without the hassle of removing old wallpaper.

Choosing the Right Paint

When painting over wallpaper, it's important to use an oil-based primer first followed by the paint of your choice. Oil-based primers are best because they prevent the wallpaper from peeling and create a sealed surface for the paint. You can then choose from water-based, latex, or oil-based paints depending on your desired finish. Latex and water-based paints are ideal for low-traffic areas, while oil-based paints are more robust and suitable for high traffic areas.

Maintenance of Painted Wallpaper

Maintaining your newly painted wallpaper is key to extend its lifespan. Regular dusting and occasional gentle washing with mild soap and water can help keep your walls looking fresh and clean. However, harsh cleaners should be avoided as they can damage the paint and wallpaper underneath.

Refreshing Your Space

Painting over wallpaper is a great way to refresh a room without the cost and effort of a full renovation. The new coat of paint can dramatically change the ambiance of the room and even improve your home's value. Remember, no matter what paint you choose, preparation is the key to a successful outcome, and choosing the right paint can be a major factor in enjoying your newly revitalized space for years to come.