Expert AdvicePainting & Staining

Painting Over Wallpaper

Q: I haven’t any idea what type of wall paper is on the wall, and instead of taking off the wallpaper I was wondering if I could put texture over it and paint it?

If not, how would you suggest the wallpaper be taken off and how hard would it be?

Would you use a texture paint if you were going to paint the wallpaper?

Would you suggest just trying the texture on a small area to see if the wallpaper comes off?

A: You can texture and paint over wall paper but there are several things to

consider. First, is the paper adhering well to the wall? Second, does the paper have a texture? Third, is the paper dark in color? These issues will be addressed throughout this response.

If there are any loose sections or bubbles in the paper, they will have to be glued. The best way to do this is to use Elmer’s Glue and a syringe so the paper does not have to be pulled. If there are many areas that are loose, I would suggest removing it.

Usually, if the paper is removed, some of the drywall paper will come off too. These areas will have to be floated with joint compound, sanded, or washed, and primed with a sealer, like Kilz, before texture is applied.

Use the premixed compound and be sure to stir it up to make it smooth and workable. I prefer washing drywall floating in an occupied home because of the dust. Any large sponge and a bucket of water will do. You simply rub the area with the wet, almost dripping wet, sponge until the compound softens. With a little practice, you can smooth the compound very easily. Depending on the wall damage, you may have to apply more than one coat of compound.

There are commercial paper removers available at many rental stores that include a roller with pins on it to puncture the paper. You simply roll this all over the wall to fill the paper with holes. The system also includes an “iron” attached to a steam generator to inject steam behind the paper. As the steam is injected, the glue softens so the paper can be scraped off with a 3 or 4″ putty knife. Care must be taken to avoid damaging the drywall. Ask the rental company for help before you begin.

If the paper is secure and small repairs are done, the first step is to float out the wallpaper seams with joint compound. You will have to sand or wash the compound after drying to give you a smooth wall. (See above for washing procedure) If the paper has a texture to it, you may have to float the whole wall. After you have the wall smooth, use a penetrating sealer, such as oil based Kilz, over the whole wall. If the paper is dark, you

may have to apply 2 coats of sealer.

You are then ready to texture and paint. The best say to apply texture is to blow it on with a hopper and air compressor. This will give you the best uniform texture. The roll-on textures are very difficult to make uniform. Be sure to mask and cover everything you don’t want to texture.

After drying, you are ready to paint. Any latex paint will do and many homeowners use an “eggshell” finish because it is easier to keep clean. The better paints will cost more but they will cover better and last longer.

Good luck with your project!

David Ratcliff, CGR, CR
MacKenzie Roofing & Remodeling, Inc.
240 Sherwood
San Antonio, TX 78201

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