07:05AM | 05/01/01
Member Since: 05/02/01
4 lifetime posts
I have chosen to paint over wallpaper. The wallpaper is 52 years old and has already been painted over. Originally I thought the walls were painted, then after closer inspection, I could see the they were actually papered THEN painted. (I then found out that the paint was applied 40 years ago) It actually looks pretty good, especially for being so old. No peeling or bubbling. I couldn't tell until I inspected closely and looked in closets. I'm in a major time crunch and the ENTIRE house is in this condition, otherwise I'd try to get it off. I've weighed my options and for various reasons I have chosen to go with not taking it down.

My question is what primer do I use? I've heard that any primer will work, but I've also heard that some primers may soak through and disolve the glue. I have seen a clear shallac that claims to prime wallpaper for painting, any opinons on that? Please remember that there is already paint on this paper and it has held up like a charm for 40 years.


Jay J

05:37PM | 05/02/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi Haystacka,

You're not going to like this but if you're in THAT much of a hurry, your job is going to look REALLY bad since the 'right' thing to do is to remove the paper.

DIF can do this job very easily. Your paper and glue is VERY old so it will do wonders! The important part is to read the Directions at least TWICE. Keep the water hot and use a Paper Tiger.

I guarantee that if you paint over wallpaper, you're going to regret it. I'd be interested in what others have to say too.

My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator


01:00PM | 05/03/01
Member Since: 05/02/01
4 lifetime posts
Hi Jay.

Thanks for the reply. You are not the first person to tell me I'll regret it! I have to wonder though, after all these horror stories I've heard, why then does the painted wallpaper currently in the house look fine? What was supposed to have happened to make it look so bad? If this wallpaper was painted 40 years ago and it still looks like painted drywall, shouldn't I be able to put another coat of paint on? I just don't understand if it's supposed be such a bad idea, then why is this paper still holding up after all these years? I honestly could not tell the walls were papered. I saw paper in the closets and that's what sparked further investigation. After closely searching, I found some barely visible seams that proved that the walls were indeed originally papered.

I understand it is not the "best" option, but doesn't this case prove that it is "ok" to paint wallpaper?

What do you think? Is this case an exception?


Jay J

05:33PM | 05/03/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi haystacka,

It's hard to tell why the job went so well. I can't say what type of 'material' the wallpaper is. I don't know exactly when they were 'invented' but there are vinyl, paper, and 'cloth' type wallpapers. The most common problem with painting wallpaper is that the paint usually gets absorbed by the paper, and when it dries, it shrinks and cracks. If you can determine if the paper is a vinyl or cloth type, you may be OK to paint it w/o any problems. BUT, if it's paper-paper, then you're flirting w/trouble.

I will admit that it isn't that costly to paint. If it works out, then you did the 'right thing'. IF it doesn't, then you're simply out the time and $$$ (which again isn't that much on both accounts.)

I do wish you well. My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

PS: Keep your eye on this post to see if anyone else has something to say ...


03:53PM | 05/05/01
Member Since: 04/03/01
40 lifetime posts
Hi you two!
I'm voting for painting the paper - if it's in that good of condition, after having previously been painted, what harm is there in painting it again? I have had great success with Kilz (even the latex based, for easy clean up!!) for priming before painting. However, I can't say I ever used it over wallpaper. The worst that can happen, is, IF the painting doesn't work - THEN you can remove the paper and paint again. But I think it will hold up fine. good luck! let us know what happens!
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