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Paint over wallpaper?

Discussion in 'Repairs & Maintenance' started by GreenGoblin, 23rd Aug, 2015.

  1. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    We have an old IP (late 60s) with wallpaper in one of the bedrooms. Our old tenants very kindly painted another bedroom before moving out, but left the wallpapered room, which is looking tired. I know it's preferable to remove the wallpaper rather than paint over it, but the interior walls are fibro-masonite, so contain asbestos. As it's interstate, we had a handyman quote for the work; he suggested painting over the wallpaper as he didn't want to remove it with the bare wall underneath. The wallpaper's in fairly good condition - just paint over it given the fibro-masonite?
     
  2. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I've painted over wallpaper before, quite successfully. If it is glued down well you'll be hard pressed to notice. Your handyman may need to glue any edges down. It is not ideal, but for all the reasons you've suggested, it is a good idea.

    Also, you may find trying to remove it is next to impossible. I've tried to remove wallpaper before that was glued on so well it would survive a nuclear explosion.
     
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  3. GreenGoblin

    GreenGoblin Well-Known Member

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    Wylie, you are a gem with all the tips and experience you share - thank you. I reckon you're right about the wallpaper glue - I tried removing old lino and glue from the edge of one of the bedrooms, and that was pretty much bomb-proof!
     
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  4. jaybean

    jaybean Well-Known Member

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    If I had the time I would do it properly and remove it. But Wylie is right - it's hell on earth to remove.

    If you do, make sure you buy a steamer. We spent days tearing it down the old fashioned way with warm water, wallpaper remover solution etc, until we realised that these days steamers are cheap. We picked up a German made one for $99 at Bunnings. We had always assumed it would cost many times that. Worth every penny.
     
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  5. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    Be fine, suggest he gives it a good wash with sugar soap then let dry while he does other jobs, perhaps a light sand prior to a primer coat.
     
  6. Samten

    Samten Well-Known Member

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    And it will always look like painted wallpaper. You are going to have to it properly one day so why not now?
     
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  7. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    If you read the first post again, there are good reasons why not.

    In one house where I had painted over the wallpaper once (maybe twice) I finally decided last year to get it off properly. It took me one whole day to do a single half wall. It was NOT going to let go that wall easily. I swore a LOT and ended up running a blade down at the corner and stopped there, took the steamer back and painted over it once more.

    In another house, we had so much trouble (even with the little pin-prick roller and a steamer), that we ripped out the plaster and replastered.

    For an old house that has asbestos, a handyman who doesn't want to touch remove it, interstate IP... all good reasons to just paint it again.
     
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  8. Angel13

    Angel13 Active Member

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    Hey GreenGoblin

    What if you put some removable wallpaper over the top of the wallpaper? It's pretty much thicker vinyl contact paper. You could order a sample and try it first but don't see why it wouldn't work.

    Here is a link to where I got mine from https://www.thewallstickercompany.com.au/categories/WALLPAPERS-AND-MURALS/

    Note I put mine straight on plasterboard and it came up brilliant.

    If you decide to get some make sure you shop around as these guys are on the expensive side. I just wanted to send you the link to give you an idea.
     
  9. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Also, just a few months ago, hubby, son and I went over to a friend's place, ripped off the top layer and tried to get the paper under layer off with a steamer. It was asbestos beneath and took a bit of scraping. I wasn't prepared to keep going as it was not coming off easily. There were plaster repairs over top of the asbestos, and that was coming off with the liner paper, but mostly it was just not budging and I wasn't prepared to sand the walls. So, we ripped off what we could and very lightly sanded the actual paper lining so it was not so obvious, and just painted over the top. It bubbled but we just kept going. We did two coats in a day (just one room) and when the paper dried, it went flat again.

    This house is where this lady is living after being left with nothing in a divorce. It is her mother's house and will be likely be sold and then knocked down one day for townhouses, so she just wanted something nicer than floral wallpaper. It looks so much better than it did. An interior decorator would be horrified, but she is very happy with it. So, you can even paint over the under layer if you need a cheap and cheerful quick job.
     
  10. Skuttles

    Skuttles Well-Known Member

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    I've tried painting over before, looked a shambles as you could see each join.

    New wallpaper over the old?

    Some of the very subtle ones don't look as dowdy as what was available when grandma put hers up.
     
  11. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    If the handyman has any concerns of lines etc showing up suggest he screws a rag or plastic shopping bag up, dip it in a bit of paint and blotch coat the wall. He could do this before the 2nd coat dries

    I did a design in my sons room (he likes Minecraft). I first put down the base coat, dried, applied tape for box lines, poured a bit of the base and white separately on a board, dipped a shopping bag into a bit of each, bagged it, pulled off the tape.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Bargain Hunter

    Bargain Hunter Well-Known Member

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    I have painted over wallpaper a few times.

    It's cheap and quick, and providing the wallpaper is in good nick and the colour neutral the effect is good enough for a lower end rental.

    When I went to sell I wanted a better finish but still was not keen to remove so I trimmed back the joints and removed any poorly fixed paper before applying a plaster skim coat where needed. The final effect was a standard plaster wall.

    Obviously this is not an option if the wallpaper is patterned/embossed.
     
  13. jaybean

    jaybean Well-Known Member

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    This. Don't underestimate how long it will take.

    It took 3 of us 2-3 days to remove it from 3 bedrooms. This was a good run, because the wallpaper was "easy" to get off. Another time it took 2-4 of us working in turns of 2 people at a time about 4 days to get it off ONE small bedroom. Emphasis on "one". Emphasis on "small". It's hell on earth. I could literally have painted two whole houses in that time with the manpower that we had. Buy a steamer or take your chances - but be prepared to lose days if not weeks on it.
     
  14. skater

    skater Capitalist Premium Member

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    That is not necessarily the case. The one we just sold had dark gold/brown wallpaper in the dining room as well as a lighter colour in one of the bedrooms. Once we'd finished with it, you couldn't tell there was paper underneath.:D
     
  15. shorty

    shorty Well-Known Member

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    All depends on the condition of the wallpaper. If it's well glued, go for it. If it's setting to peel, take it down and start again. I've painted over peeling wallpaper, makes it peel more and looks like crap
     
  16. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Thank you :)
    I like helping others and if I've done something and it has worked and saved me time, money and frustration I am very happy to share. I learn so much here from others who are equally happy to be helpful. Win/win :)
     
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  17. Mr Properties

    Mr Properties Member

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    Hi all this is my first post here although I've been stalking a while. I thought this would be a good time for me to chime in as I have a painting and plastering business and just wanted to say the the advice to paint over wall paper is not a great idea. There is a 50/50 chance the wall paper will blister badly as the paint will activate the glue under neath and you will have all sorts of problems. Defiantly try in a small section fist before rolling a whole wall as it might take 20 mins before your blisters show. If wall paper is installed properly and there is a sound sealer coat underneath there shouldn't be any trouble striping it. Where people go wrong is they do not soak the paper enough before trying to strip. This is the key to keep soaking(by rolling hot soapy water) first dry strip the top layer then keep soaking the bottom layer and more often then not it will fall off. Duct tape power points and turn power of first! Using a steamer is last resort it becomes a very slow job and will take 5 times as long as the continual soaking method. If the paper really won't budge which does happen you can either re-line the walls or scrape any thing lose and skim coat entire walls with plaster but these two solutions are not Diy. Re- lining might mean dis connecting power and remove/replace skirt and arc's.
    Hope I've helped.
    Cheers Steve
     
    Last edited: 27th Aug, 2015
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  18. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    Excellent first post Steve. Am about to embark on a wallpaper removing exercise too. Warm soapy water with roller. Gotcha. That's how we used to do it!
     
  19. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for chiming in @Mr Properties, great to have a tradie with knowledge in this area to advise members who help us all in other ways.
    Hopefully you'll no-longer be a stalker as that's just creepy ;)
     
  20. Greyghost

    Greyghost Well-Known Member

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    I feel a lot of pain reading this thread...