Painting Over Wallpaper and Paneling is Possible!
Painting over wallpaper is considered to be a big no-no in most remodeling circles. The general advice is to always remove the wallpaper first. But there are some circumstances where you may want to consider this as an option.
In my case, there were 3 rooms in my house that were wallpapered that I knew that I wanted to convert to paint. I first tackled my guest bedroom, where I completely removed the wallpaper before painting, per all the advice I had read. In the end this technique was a bit of a nightmare since our walls are not in the best of shape and there was a LOT of wall repair to be done once the wallpaper had finally been removed. Because we removed the wallpaper.
So instead of removing the wallpaper from the other rooms, I decided to let sleeping dogs lie and paint over it. In the case of my kitchen, I actually painted over (very) old paneling rather than remove it. The bottom line is that this can be done, it’s not a quick or easy option because you really have to make sure you prep the walls properly and well. Or it just won’t look good.
If this is something you’re considering, here’s how to do it.
TOOLS & MATERIALS
ammonia or TLC
paint tray (for soaking the strips)
primer (this link is oil-based but you can use water-based primary if your walls are in good shape when you are done)
mineral spirits and dishwashing detergent (for cleaning oil-based primer)
Gather your tools & materials so they’re all handy. Pick a spot to start. I like to work from right to left so I usually start at the right side of a long wall.
Use a damp (not wet) sponge and either ammonia or TSP mixed in water (I used ammonia on the walls in my stairway and TSP on the kitchen walls). Wash the walls down. If you use TSP you’ll need to wait 24 hours for them to dry.
Once the walls are dry, rinse them off with a clean sponge and clean water. Again, don’t soak the walls, just use a damp sponge.
The first thing you want to do is to cover the seams with a thin layer of joint compound. You don’t want the seams to show after you’ve painted over them.
Then examine the walls and decide where you need to repair. Spackle any small holes. Check all edges and seams and use a strong adhesive to glue down any that are not perfectly flat.
Sand down the walls, paying special attention if you have a textured wall paper. You want the surface to feel as flat as possible. Then one last rinse with a damp sponge to get the dust off.
Apply a layer of primer. We used an oil-based primer because our walls were in tough shape. If you have a newer wall, consider a water-based primer (it’s easier to clean and doesn’t smell as bad). Some paints are both a primer and paint in one. If your walls are in really good shape, consider those and you can skip right to the painting.
Once the primer is dry (we let the oil-based primer dry overnight), you’re ready to paint your walls with one or two coats. That’s it – you’re done!
How about you?
Do you have a wallpaper removal tip or adventure to share? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!