Removing wallpaper to begin painting

What is the Best Way to Paint Over Wallpaper?

Answers to pro painter’s most pressing questions by Rick Watson

As a general rule, I try not to paint over wallpaper. Most often I recommend removing wallpaper, so you can start with a fresh wall. If this is not an option, then there are many issues to consider prior to painting over wallpaper:

  • The seams may not lie down properly.
  • Moisture from the paint could cause wrinkling, blistering or peeling.
  • Paint adhesion may be minimal over a heavy vinyl.
  • The texture from the wallpaper may telegraph through, causing a poor look on a solid wall.

Any of these things could cause a problem. For these reasons, we always recommend testing the system prior to taking on the entire job.

Keeping in mind the points stated above (and if removal of the wallpaper is not an option), the first thing you want to do is to clean the surface. Then lightly sand the seams to make them as smooth as possible.

Next, test a quick drying latex adhesion-promoting primer such as PrepRite® ProBlock® Latex Primer/Sealer.

If the primer dries without lifting, blistering or wrinkling the seam or the paper, then the surface is ready to be primed and then topcoated with a good quality latex paint.

Note that the seams may be visible in some areas.


This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of PPC magazine. Rick Watson, Product Information, Sherwin-Williams, answers contractor questions in the Ask Your ProPartner™ column of PPC magazine. Read more of his answers here.

Got a question not answered here? Stop by your local Sherwin-Williams store or contact your sales rep. Their employees are trained to have the product knowledge and application expertise to solve  your toughest coating problems. Find a store near you

If you don’t need an immediate answer to your question, you can also email your question to us at ppcmagazine@gmail.com. Questions submitted to PPC may be published in a future print and/or digital edition of the magazine.