Painting Over Wallpaper

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I asked about this before and everybody said don't do it. I've had four painters come here, plus a wallpaper person, and they all said you can't remove wallpaper that was installed 30 years ago without tearing up the wallboard because they didn't do wall prep back in those days. Then I recalled that I did have someone try this many years ago in another room and he ruined the walls so that I had to have them re-mudded. Now I would like to hear from someone who has painted over wallpaper successfully, if there is someone like that. Pat
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Clean paper with tsp. Cut out loose areas of paper and any loose seams or bubbles. Go to a paint store get a proper bonding primer oil base or maybe alcohol. is better so it wont reactivate the glue , repair bad areas with compound, sand spot, prime and paint. If walls were primed first paper may come off without damage, test an area
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Go to Sherwin-Williams for PrepRite ProBlock primer. If the wallpaper has a strong pattern, add gray tint to the ProBlock to increase the chance of hiding the pattern. I have done this for hire -- it is not speculation. -B

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I have a related question. I recently purchased a large older home that I plan to rent out. Most of the rooms have wallpaper that is well-secured to the walls, except for 1/8-inch (at most) along some of the seams. Some of the wallpaper has an embossed/raised pattern. Rather than paying to have all of the wallpaper removed, I would like to just have a painter paint over the wallpaper for now so I can get it rented out quickly without investing too much money. I figure I can always go back in the future and re-do a room at a time by removing the wallpaper and repainting if needed.
So, here's my question. What's the easiest way to try to re-glue or glue down the 1/8-inch seams that are coming up before having the rooms painted? I am thinking of some kind of glue mixture (like Elmer's Glue-All) and just brushing it across the seams to get it under each side, then pressing the seams down.
Anyone ever tried that, or does anyone have any other ideas or suggestions?
Thanks.

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RTLP Once you paint it ,it is permanent, Planing future removal is impossible. If its embossed id remove it. Do it right when you do it.
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If the wallpaper can come off, take it off and then prep the walls and then paint. The reason to paint over the wallpaper is if you find that it will not come off at all. If you paint it and it could have been peeled off, the water in the paint will make it fall off.

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B wrote:

Very likely to happen if it is old, plain paper and not vinyl coated. My mom put latex paint over paper like that, and the paper started falling off a couple hours later. She somehow kept at it, as the paint dried before the softened paste dried, and kept brushing the paper back in place until it stayed. Got it to stay on :o)
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I guess you're right that if it comes off easily enough, I should just remove it first. I'll have to do a test area and see what happens.
But, from the other posts here, it seems like the removal process can be really time consuming and not that easy, and that's what I want to avoid. So, if it turns out that removal is going to be too difficult, I'll probably just re-glue the seams and have someone paint over the wallpaper.
Thanks for your thoughts and ideas.

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m Ransley wrote:

No more difficult to remove after painting, if you know how :o)
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clipped

It rarely works. Wallpaper seems to become less flexible after it is on a wall. My only experience with stuff made to refasten loose seams is that it didn't work well, and doesn't dissolve in water, which made later removal much more difficult. The stuff, when dried, looked similar to Elmer's.
You would likely be better off either leaving it as is, doing the removal now, or getting (requires some luck) a tenant who is willing and able to do it, and do a good job. Elmer's is a really bad idea.
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Just an observation from a renter's perspective you may want to consider because I was a renter at one time:
IMO, any landlord who's so cheap or lazy (sorry, but that's how I feel) that he just paints over wallpaper wouldn't bode well for my future renting experience(s). If he's so cheap or lazy to just paint over wallpaper, how cheap or lazy is he going to be when I have a real problem, like when his pipes are leaking and ruining all my stuff?
If you have the time and money to re-do it later (and inconvenience an already-bitchy renter unhappy with peely walls and the paint smell that will certainly follow from the re-do because the unit is already occupied), why not just take the time and money to do it the right way *now*, when the unit is empty, and just be done with it?
Maybe it's just me, but seems there's a difference between being frugal and being miserly.
AJS

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Thanks for your perspective on this.
For me, it's really not about wanting to be cheap or miserly. I am not known for having either of those characteristics. In fact, I am known for being the opposite. And, of course, if painting over the wallpaper will end with a crappy job or peeling paint, I wouldn't go that route. But, I am just not sure that's what would happen in this case, and given the type of wallpaper that is there (embossed?), I think it could actually come out looking better painted than if it were removed -- at least that's what my more artistically-inclined friends tell me. I am also going to be taking up all of the carpeting and redoing the hardwood floors because everyone tells me that would look better.
.
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I am the original poster asking the question and I had yet another person out today who does wallpapering as well as painting. Just like the others, she told me the second coat of paper will come off fairly easily but the first coat won't because the wall wasn't primed first. She muds over the seams, then sands them before putting on the primer. Pat
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Thanks. That's good to know.
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Gosh! I am glad I didn't know that painting over wallpaper was an issue before I did it!
I painted my bathroom wallpaper a few years ago and it's fine. I used Kilz first. The walls were smooth and the wall paper was in good condition, so that wasn't an issue. I have also used the kind of wall paper that is thick and embossed to cover up a terrible wallpaper job and painted that and it looks great.

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You were just lucky that the wallpaper was bonded to the wall so well. There was an equal chance that the wallpaper would have fallen off when you painted it.

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Patscga wrote:

If done right, it will come off without damage. Tearing it off, resulting in paper surface of the wallboard coming off, suggests they did not try to soften the paste - just started ripping. I've take out painted-over wallpaper, two layers, without damage. It is messy, time consuming, but not difficult from the technical aspect. No contractor would likely quote a job to take it off the painstaking way :o) The stuff I took out had torn and been patched (sloppily); even the intact areas were not attractive.
All wallpaper paste in use 30 yrs ago would be water soluble unless they used Elmer's Glue :o) Some folks like steamers, some like "Paper Tigers". I used very coarse sandpaper, scored horizontally enough to make close cuts in the paper to absorb water. Careful not to use enough pressure to cut into wallboard. Then, spray with warm water, let it soak in, spray again, soak in again (about 20 min each time), then use a scraper carefully and start lifting the stuff off. Scoring horizontally allows the water to soak in more, rather than run down. Lay newspaper at base of area, an old towel to soak up water.
I then usually spray and scrape again, as the loosening will be spotty. Wash off remaining soft paste with an old towel or similar. Wait a day or so to do the final wash to get the rest of the paste, to avoid soaking into the surface of the wallboard. If you are going to paint, try to light the wall from low angle to try to spot remaining paste; leftover paste can telegraph texture through the new paint. Works for me.
Just heard they found Saddam down a rat hole - how perfectly appropriate for Iraqis and the coalition to see him for the first time being checked for head lice :o)
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I just removed all the wall paper from my bedroom, then painted. The guy that put it up some 20 years ago used wall paper paste from hell. Water, sponge, putty knife, and several towels. Sponge on water to an area near a seam or corner. Get it wet, wait 5-10 minutes, or before it dries and repeat. You will be able to pull the paper off with your hands. It took me 3-4 hours a wall, bedroom is 17x24 x 8 high. Time consuming but it was better than the alternative for me.
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wrote:

BTDT, many times over. Let this and similar experiences forcibly impress on everyone the value and importance of proper wall preparation for wallpaper: sizing!
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I asked about this before and everybody said don't do it. I've had four painters come here, plus a wallpaper person, and they all said you can't remove wallpaper that was installed 30 years ago without tearing up the wallboard because they didn't do wall prep back in those days. Then I recalled that I did have someone try this many years ago in another room and he ruined the walls so that I had to have them re-mudded. Now I would like to hear from someone who has painted over wallpaper successfully, if there is someone like that.
Pat
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