Should You Remove Old Wallpaper or Simply Paint Over It?

In the past the rule of thumb was you always had to remove old wallpaper before repapering or painting. Often this became more expensive and more time-consuming than the homeowner anticipated. Ready to do some redecorating? Keep these tips in mind before you begin.

  • While removing old wallpaper will leave a smoother finish, you might be unpleasantly surprised once it’s gone. Wallpaper can hide a multitude of problems that once uncovered may result in expensive repairs. In older homes, often wallpaper is the only thing keeping that ancient plaster from crumbling; while the top layer of drywall can peel off along with the wallpaper. Also, there is the biggest surprise of all: layer after layer of different wallpaper patterns.
  • No matter how carefully the wallpaper was installed, there are going to be seams. An expert hanger will be able to minimize the seams so they aren’t visible to the naked eye. But unless the wall is properly primed before painting, those seams may become visible and even start lifting once covered in paint.
  • You are 100% sure the wallpaper isn’t textured or embossed…until you begin painting. Then every image from seashells to flowers, stripes to geometric shapes will show. It is imperative that you are completely certain there is no texture to the wallpaper before beginning, unless you WANT the pattern to be highlighted.
  • Not applying the correct primer before painting may cause the wallpaper adhesive to bubble and become loose. And when the wallpaper begins to peel and pull away from the wall, it takes your paint with it!
  • In many of today’s new homes, wallpaper has been installed directly to the drywall with no sealer. This makes the adhesive very difficult to remove and could cause damage to the wall if attempted. If you believe this is the case, then it might just be worth the extra time and effort to properly prep and paint the walls rather than try to detach the wallpaper, or at least hire a wallpaper professional for the job.

From repairs to renovations, general upkeep to new construction punch lists, Closing Contractor is here for all your home maintenance needs. Contact us online or by calling 864.326.2640 today.

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