Are you keeping the house? If so, strip the paper, then paint.
Even if you're not keeping the house, if your paper was properly installed,
it isn't that big of a job to remove it. On the other hand, if the wall
wasn't prepped properly for the paper, it is a nightmare removing the paper.
Try a test section in an unobtrusive location to see exactly what you have.
If you have paper over an unpainted (unsized) surface and if you're planning
to sell, it may be easier just to paint the area, although it is shoddy
The first step would be to re-glue any seams, then prime and add a couple of
finish coats of paint, *most* homebuyers won't be paying enough attention to
the walls to notice. Those who do will probably run away and hide.
On a poorly prepared wall, all the tools and adhesive dissolver in the world
won't make it an easy job...
I used all of those tools and a steamer on some non-sized paper in a house I
owned. A real nightmare - much of the paper came off in postage stamp sized
pieces and it made a huge mess out of the drywall behind the paper.
I'm with Kyle Boatright on this. If the walls weren't prepped properly
you'll hate every second of the paper removal process. Problem is, you
don't know how the walls were prepped until you pull some paper off.
I think it's better to remove the paper first. You can't depend on the
paper cooperating and never showing itself in some way [peeling,
Yeah, the pro is that it's easier. But the big con is that the paper
can shrink or pull away over time. It'll look like crap. Another con is
that you're just delaying the inevitable. At some point, my experience
tells me, you have to do something about that paper [besides paint over
it]. It's much easier to deal with when it's not painted.
Right now, in a bedroom, I'm removing 2 layers that were painted over.
That's 2 layers on the walls AND ceiling. Oh, and the walls are 50
year-old bare plaster. I'm hating every second of it, but I know those
walls will be done right.
Bob, you can't really tell how the walls are prepped until you remove
some of the paper. A reputable paper hanger will make sure the walls
are sized, or at least have some semi-gloss paint on them.
Paper hangers are like everyone else, they want repeat business.
Prepping the walls properly is as much for them as it is for the
A new thing I've noticed in new construction homes is that, if the
buyer wants paper, there's no prep. The paper is hung on bare drywall
and joint compound. I've done 2 kitchens where this was the case. No
more. Even with all the "worst care scenario" advanced warnings I could
think of, and a strict "time and materials" quote, the owners were
upset at the time, the cost, and how butchered the walls looked. It was
to the point that they were going to report us to the BBB and Angie's
Actually, one did give a bad report to Angie's List. We had to go to
the office and make our case before it was recorded. Thankfully, they
withheld the report.
i don't like losing customers, but some aren't worth having.
It is true paper over unprepped drywall or over a unsealed brown coat
can be worthless in removal. You have to try it yourself to see what it
is. 99.99% will remove but if it won`t cutting out everything loose and
oil primer is the first step. Then repair areas, reprime and paint.
Every job and house are different , but removal is best, eventualy paper
left will be noticable, seams will reapear even if skim coated.
It looks bad, but no more difficult to remove if you know how. I've
posted my technique a bunch of times; it always works unless someone
uses Elmer's in place of wallpaper paste. I would take it off. Messy
but not difficult. When I paint, I take pains with the prep work
because I don't want to do it again any time soon. I painted for a
neighbor who did not want the paper taken off - he had two layers, which
had torn and been patched with spackle. His reason: it was expensive
Wallpaper paste is water soluble. The trick is in getting water on it
long enough to dissolve it. Takes no chemicals. Coarse sandpaper,
GENTLY run horizontally across the paper to cut the surface. Spray with
warm water a couple of times, with 15 min. interval. Horiz. cut in
paper keeps water from running down the wall as fast; soaks in, softens
paste, start scraping GENTLY. Spray more until paper comes off easily.
This does not apply in your case. There are special embossed vynal
papers that are made to be painted. I used this in a kitchen and
bathroom. They look like old style metal cealings and with proper
prep prior to attachment will peal just like any vinyl paper.
Sounds like a good method. I have a ceiling with lathe and plaster,
then wallpaper, then several layers of paint, then skim coat, then a
sanded paint. What do you recommend in this situation? The skim coat
is cracking in many places, so it all has to come off.
To the OP, if you paint over the wall paper, a future owner will curse
you for it. :-)