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Published January 20, 2018

One of the more common questions painting professionals get from homeowners is if it is okay to paint over wallpaper or if they need to remove it.

Now, removing the wallpaper can be a labour-intensive job, if it wasn’t applied in the right way. It’s nearly impossible to tell how it was applied before you actually start to strip it off, so a lot of people are justifiably concerned that it will take a lot of time and effort to remove the wallpaper. They are looking for shorter, more effective ways to deal with the problem, and simply painting over the wallpaper is an attractive option for them.

While many homeowners will not see a problem with painting over wallpaper, there actually are some serious repercussions that can come if it.

The biggest problem is that water from the wallpaper can seep through the paint and cause it to bubble and warp. There may be seems and pattern lines from the wallpaper that show through on the paint, and it won’t matter how much paint you put on the wall to try to cover it up. It may still be visible anyway.

Now, you may look at the wallpaper in your home and say that it doesn’t look wet to you, but the paste that is used to apply wallpaper is typically water based. So it’s usually safe to assume that some water will soak through the wallpaper and affect the paint in all sorts of different ways.

You can’t predict whether that will happen or not. It all depends on how the wallpaper was applied, but in general, it’s not a good idea to take the chance with the wallpaper and paint over it. If the water from the wallpaper starts to affect the paint, then all the work and time and money you put into painting the wall will be for nothing. You will have wasted all that and need to redo it, if you want it to look proper.

Simply having wallpaper in your home as you try to resell it can be a negative factor for potential buyers. Painted walls are considered to be a much better value, since they will tend to last longer and fit more people’s tastes. So, if you have wallpaper on your home and you want to boost the home’s value, then you need to think about painting those walls instead.

newly decorated living room

Taking off the wallpaper can be a time-consuming process. How long it takes and what you have to do to remove it all depends on what was done to put it up in the first place. If you aren’t sure, what to do and how to deal with the wallpaper, then be sure to either look up a guide or ask a painting expert before you start your work. You don’t want to accidentally damage the walls. You also want to make sure that you prepare the surface of the walls before you do any painting, so that you will finish with the best-looking results.