Covering wallpaper with paint is a task that requires some preparation and specific materials to ensure a smooth, long-lasting finish.
While painting over wallpaper is generally not the best practice, removing the wallpaper, patching holes, and painting on a clean, prepped surface will give you the best result, there are situations where painting over wallpaper is necessary or more convenient.
If you are wondering what kind of paints are used to paint on wallpaper and which are the best, here is a list:
Oil-based Primer: The best first layer over wallpaper is an oil-based primer, oil-based primers adhere well and will help seal the wallpaper, reducing the chances of the paper peeling away after you paint.
They also prevent water in the paint from soaking through the wallpaper and loosening the adhesive.
Latex (Water-based) Paint: Over the primer, you can use latex paint, these paints are easier to work with and clean up than oil-based paints.
Alkyd Paints: These could also be an option, they’re generally oil-based and have similar adhesive properties to oil-based primers.
What are the best brands of paints for wallpaper coating?
You’ll want a good primer, many people swear by Zinsser’s Cover Stain or KILZ’s oil-based primer. These are great at sticking to surfaces and will seal the wallpaper so it won’t peel later on.
Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore also have reliable primers you might want to look into.
After you’ve primed the wall, it’s time for the fun part, painting! If you walk into a paint store, you’re probably going to see a lot of options. Brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams are often top picks.
Benjamin Moore’s Aura and Regal Select lines are really popular, especially if you’re looking for a wide range of colors. Sherwin-Williams’ Emerald and Duration lines are also highly regarded, so you might want to check those out.
If you’re at Home Depot, you might come across Behr’s Premium Plus Ultra, which is a good all-around choice for walls. Valspar, which you’ll find at Lowe’s, is another versatile option, and their Signature line is worth a look.
If you’re in the UK or want something a bit more high-end, Dulux and Farrow & Ball offer some excellent choices as well.
What Types of Wallpaper Can Be Painted Over?
So, if you’re thinking about painting over wallpaper, the first thing you’ll want to know is whether your wallpaper is a good candidate for it. The kind of wallpaper you have can really make or break this whole endeavor.
Traditional wallpapers, especially the ones that have a smooth finish, are generally easier to paint over. That’s because the smooth surface allows the primer and paint to adhere better.
On the other hand, if you’ve got vinyl wallpaper, you might face some challenges. Vinyl is a bit tricky because it’s designed to be washable and water-resistant. So, it can be tough for the paint to stick to it.
You could use a special primer for that, but it’s generally more work.
Then there’s textured wallpaper, while you technically can paint over it, the texture will show through. If you don’t mind that look, go for it! But if you want a smooth finish, painting over textured wallpaper might not give you the result you’re looking for.
Wallpapers with metallic or glossy finishes are another beast altogether, these types are particularly hard for paint to adhere to, and even a good primer might have difficulty sticking to the surface.
So, if you’ve got one of those, it might be worth reconsidering your plans.
Last but not least, if you’ve got really old wallpaper that’s peeling or discolored, it’s best to remove it rather than paint over it. If it’s already in bad shape, painting on top of it won’t make it any better; you’ll just be covering up problems that could become bigger issues down the road.
How Does Wall Condition Affect Paint Choice?
The condition of your wall can be a game-changer when it comes to picking the right paint, you see, if your wall is smooth and in perfect condition, you’ve got the luxury of focusing on just the color and finish of your paint. But let’s be honest, how often is a wall ever perfect?
If your wall has a lot of imperfections like dents, scratches, or uneven texture, you might want to go for paint with a flat or matte finish. These types of finishes are more forgiving and don’t reflect light in a way that highlights flaws.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a high-traffic area where you’ll need to clean the walls frequently, you might be tempted to go for a gloss or semi-gloss finish since they’re easier to wipe down, it’s a bit of a trade-off.
Now, if you’re painting over wallpaper, that’s an extra layer of complexity. You’re not just dealing with the wall itself, but also with the texture and condition of the wallpaper.
If it’s peeling or bubbling, you’ll want to fix those issues first, either by re-gluing the loose bits or by removing and patching up the problematic sections. Because no matter how good your paint is, if the wallpaper underneath isn’t solid, you’re setting yourself up for problems.
And then there’s the issue of moisture. If the wall you’re painting tends to get damp, that’s going to affect your paint choice as well. You’ll probably want to look for paints that are specially designed to resist moisture and mildew.
So yeah, the condition of your wall can make your paint choice a little more complicated, but taking it into account upfront can save you a lot of time and hassle down the road.
Are There Specialty Paints for Covering Wallpaper?
The paint world is full of specialized products for all kinds of situations, and yes, that includes painting over wallpaper.
Now, you won’t necessarily find a paint labeled “For Wallpaper” but you will find paints that are better suited for the challenges wallpaper presents.
For instance, some paints come with primer built-in, which can be a real timesaver, especially if you’re not keen on doing multiple coats, but keep in mind, while these paints are convenient, they might not always be the best choice for wallpaper.
The specialty here would be a strong primer, especially oil-based ones that can grip onto tricky surfaces like wallpaper.
And then there are paints designed for high-humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens, these paints are mildew-resistant and can hold up well against moisture.
If the room you’re working on has any moisture issues, these could be a great option.
Now, if you’re dealing with textured wallpaper or want to add some texture, there are paints specifically designed for that too, these are thicker and can add some depth to your walls.
Just remember, textured paint over textured wallpaper might be texture overload!
You can also find eco-friendly paints with low VOCs if you’re concerned about fumes and indoor air quality, these types of paints have come a long way in terms of performance, so you don’t have to sacrifice quality for health reasons anymore.
Can You Paint Over Textured Wallpaper?
You can paint over textured wallpaper, but there are some things you should know, first off, the texture is going to show through the paint, no matter how many coats you slap on there.
If you like the texture and think it adds character to the room, then great! Go ahead and paint away, just make sure you get into all those nooks and crannies so the original wallpaper color doesn’t peek through.
On the flip side, if you’re not a fan of the texture, painting over it isn’t going to make it go away, you’d probably be better off either removing the wallpaper or skimming over it with a layer of joint compound to smooth it out before painting.
Skimming is a bit of work, though, so it depends on how much you dislike that texture.
As for the type of paint to use, you might want to stick with something in a flat or matte finish, these types of paint are less reflective, so they won’t highlight the texture as much as glossy paint would.
But if you love the texture and really want it to stand out, a semi-gloss or even gloss finish can make those textured details pop.
Just like with any wallpaper, make sure you prime it first, a good primer will help the paint adhere to the textured surface and give you a more even finish.
And because textured wallpaper has all those dips and peaks, you’ll probably want to use a thicker nap roller or even a paintbrush for those hard-to-reach spots.