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Can You Wallpaper Over Textured Walls?

Posted on: June 11, 2018

If you have a house full of textured walls, ones that you’d love to cover over with wallpaper, you may be nervous to do so. Textured walls and wallpaper are definitely not two things that go very well together.

While you should never wallpaper over any surface that isn’t perfectly smooth, there are some steps you can take to transform your textured wall to a smooth wall. Wallpapering directly over textured walls will result in some very unattractive, bumpy wallpaper.


The best way to smooth out your wall is by skimming it with a joint compound. If done right, this step will fill in the all the unevenness in the wall, creating a nice smooth surface your wallpaper can adhere too.

A variety of approaches to skimming can be taken including rolling on compound that’s been diluted to the consistency of pancake batter, then evening it out with a trowel. Or, you can apply the compound directly to the wall with a trowel. Whatever method you choose, take your time so that your wall can be as smooth as possible. Any unevenness in your walls will show through your new wallpaper once it’s hung.

Depending on the condition of the wall, you may want to prep it before skimming it. Scrape off nail pops and other protrusions with a putty knife to make the skimming process easier. Some people recommend applying a sealer to the wall as well, so that the joint compound can more easily adhere.

Once you’ve completely skimmed your walls, and it’s been allowed to dry thoroughly, you can prime/seal your walls and then hang your wallpaper. If for whatever reason, you choose not to skim your walls, then an alternative to skimming is to hang lining paper.

Lining Paper

Similar to the wallpaper hanging process, lining paper is applied to the wall with a paste. But instead of going on vertically, liner is hung horizontally. Make sure to size or prime/seal your walls first before applying the liner paper.

The adhesive used with liner is the same as the one used for wallpaper, so it will react to an unprimed wall in much the same way, possibly damaging the wall and making paper removal much more difficult. You’ll also need all the same tools you would need for hanging your wallpaper, such as a brush, squeegee, razor, putty knife or straight edge, adhesive (if needed), and water.

Hang your paper with a 1mm gap in between sheets so as not to create a ridge from overlap. You’ll also want to measure your paper out a little longer than the wall width and then score and cut the overlap off once you’ve applied it to the walls. Once all your liner has been hung and allowed to set and dry completely, you’re ready to hang your wallpaper.

Whether you choose to skim your walls or use lining paper, ensuring your walls are absolutely smooth is essential for a proper finished wallpaper look.

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