You’re faced with a dilemma. You want to refresh your walls with new paint but you don’t want to go through the difficult task of removing the old wallpaper that's already there. One look at that old 30-year old wallpaper and you cringe thinking about what it would take to remove it!
So, you ask yourself “ why not paint right over it?” -And you wouldn't be the only one. We get emails every week from homeowners asking us if they can just hang new wallpaper or paint over preexisting wallpaper.
The short answer is yes, you can paint over old wallpaper, though officially not recommended by wallpaper purists.
In an ideal situation, you would remove the old wallpaper first, re-seal the walls with new primer and then paint or hang new wallpaper. However, there is a way to do it if you want to just paint over the old stuff.
Fair warning: Painting over wallpaper can result in a very bad looking job. If there are long edges of the paper unrolling, or air bubbles present, the end result will not look pretty. However, if the wallpaper is in fairly decent shape- flat to the wall, no air bubbles, intact edges, you can prepare it properly to receive new paint.
Apply the Zinsser Oil-base primer first on the entire area you want to paint. Let it dry for 4 hours. This will block out any air bubbles.
Next, apply the Behr Stain Blocking All in One water-based primer on as a topcoat. It’s best to choose the Matte finish because it will show less wall imperfections. Let this primer dry overnight.
The first primer seals the old wallpaper, and blocks out the air bubbles, and 2nd not blocks out the wallpaper pattern and makes for a smooth surface to apply to paint.
Your walls are now ready for paint. Make sure it’s completely dry before you begin. Start with a hidden area, such as behind furniture, and see how it does. Remember, flat paint hides imperfections better, but glossy paint is easier to clean.