Remove Wall Paper Before Painting

remove wall paper before painting

Stripping wallpaper is one of those projects that everyone dreads. They know it can be a tedious and messy process. It is only human nature to explore any options that will avoid this daunting task. As a result, one of the most common questions that I am asked is, “Can I paint over wallpaper?”

The process of stripping wallpaper is fairly easy if all of the wall prep was done correctly before it was applied. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing until you actually get into the process. Therefore, our tendency is to avoid opening that can of worms. A seemingly logical solution is to leave it alone, pretend it isn’t there and paint over it. But, there are the risks you run by attempting to paint over wallpaper.

Here is the “scientific” explanation why painting over wallpaper is not a good solution. Wallpaper paste is water based. Moisture from paint products will seep in around the edges and along the seams, compromising the integrity of the glue and weakening the adhesion. As well, in some cases, adding liquid will actually cause the paper to shrink. At this point, all of the laws of physics are against you. Ultimately the bond between the wall and the wallpaper will begin to fail. It is sneaky and may not happen immediately. A week, a month or even a year from now, signs might make it apparent that the original glue has been stressed. Seams may become more visible or corners will start to give way. At this point, you have a bigger mess on your hands as well as wasted time and money spent painting.

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