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Can you paint over wallpaper?


Spending more time at home has caused Brits to become picky about their interior design. If you’re desperate to get rid of that dated wallpaper in the living room, you might be wondering whether you can just paint over the wallpaper. Express.co.uk chatted to Abby Hesketh, Product Manager and Paint & Colour Specialist at Graham & Brown to find out.

Can you paint over wallpaper?

You can paint over wallpaper with a few licks of paint, but the final look will vary depending on the type of wallpaper you’ve got on the walls.

Abby said: “The short answer is yes, you can paint over wallpaper as long as the wallpaper is well attached to the wall and in good condition.

“The type of wallpaper itself will affect the overall finish of the paint, for example, if the paper is textured, don’t expect the topcoat of paint to feel or look smooth.”

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If you have vinyl wallpaper Abby recommends using a primer before painting over it to ensure “the adhesion of the paint”.

If you’d rather strip your wallpaper first, you can do that but the methods vary between different materials.

For example, Abby said with paste-the-wall wallpaper you can simply find a corner and peel it off the wall.

However, traditional wallpaper is much harder to strip and often requires steaming the wall before using a scraper to remove it.

Abby warns against using cheap emulsion as a base coat and suggests you use a wall primer or mist coat instead.

She explained: “My biggest tip is to avoid using a cheaper emulsion as a base coat, this is a big no-no if you’re then using premium paint as the topcoat.

“A cheaper emulsion will absorb the water out of your paint potentially leaving a patchy finish.

“Instead use a wall primer or a ‘mist coat’, a coat of your paint diluted with water, to help promote an even finish.”

Painting the walls can feel like an exhausting task and you might be tempted to take lots of long breaks or even do one layer a day, but don’t!

You should always keep a ‘wet edge’, according to Abby. She said: “Always ensure that the last roll does not dry before you overlap it with the next.

“This is important to achieving a flawless finish. Therefore, avoid cutting in a full wall before moving to the centre.

“Instead, work in 1m squared areas or a roll width at a time, cutting in as you go.”


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