Blog

  • Home >
  • Blog >
  • Can I Paint Over Wallpaper? San Francisco Painting Advice

Can I Paint Over Wallpaper? San Francisco Painting Advice !

Can I Paint Over Wallpaper? San Francisco Painting Advice

Wallpaper can be an elegant and effective way to decorate a room, but what happens when you want to change styles? Or what if you buy a home, but it comes with old wallpaper that you don't like? Painting contractors all agree that the ideal solution is removing the old wallpaper before painting. Sometimes, however, that old wallpaper paste seems worse than superglue! Just five minutes of scraping wallpaper can lead even hard-core do-it-yourselfers to ask, "Can I paint over old wallpaper?"

Short answer: Yes! It is possible to paint over wallpaper. But...

When can I paint over old wallpaper?

You need to make sure the wallpaper isn't going to come off and ruin your new paint job. If the wallpaper is already peeling of its own accord, you should probably do the work of removing it (or have a professional painting contractor remove the wallpaper for you). Since it's already peeling, it hopefully shouldn't be too hard to remove.

So, if the wallpaper seems seriously adhered to the wall, and it's in decent condition, you can go ahead and plan to paint over it. But keep in mind that if you want to remove it later, painting over it will make that more difficult.

How do you paint over wallpaper?

Step 1: Clean! As with any interior house painting project, the first step is to clean the walls. You can use water with a little soap in it, but a solution of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) will usually cut the grime a little better. Don't soak the walls too much, since this will loosen the wallpaper paste. Don't leave soap residue either; wipe with a clean, wet cloth when you are done washing, and then wait for the walls to dry thoroughly.

Step 2: Repair! If there are any small areas where the wallpaper is peeling up, glue it back down so that it is smooth. If the paper has been torn completely away in any places, use spackle (also known as wall joint compound) in thin layers to fill in the irregularities in the surface. Also spackle any other scrapes or gouges.

Step 3: Sand! After the spackle has dried, use a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth down and level out any places that you applied it. Also sand the seams in the wallpaper so that they will not show through the paint.

Step 4: Prime! Use an oil-based primer, since this will not loosen the wallpaper glue. Paint a uniform layer over the whole wall, as this will seal the wallpaper and prevent it from peeling or absorbing water. You can have your paint store tint the primer so that you will need fewer topcoats to get good coverage.

Step 5: Paint! Once your primer is dry, you can paint the wall as normal. Painting contractors would typically recommend using a roller for most of the wall spaces, and just use a brush around the edges of the walls.

Before you begin, make sure you protect the room. Use tape and tarps to protect your floor, light fixtures, door knobs, and anything else you don't want washed and painted.

Professional interior house painting and wallpaper removal

For best results, a professional house painter is always your best bet. A quality San Francisco painting company like MB JESSEE will get the project done far quicker than a typical do-it-yourselfer, and with a smoother, more attractive finish. We are always happy to give a free estimate, and at that time we can help you decide whether it is a better plan to remove your wallpaper or to paint over it.

MB JESSEE, professional house painting services for San Francisco, East Bay, Contra Costa, Marin, Alamo, Berkeley, Danville and the surrounding communities.

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore

Related Tags

wallpaper

Request an Estimate

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area

Why People Hire Us

Background-Checked, Dedicated Team Members

Clear Communication

Experienced Oversight of Every Job

Fully Licensed & Insured

Exceptional Service & Attention To Detail

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Best of Oakland 2018 BBB American Society of Interior Designers ASID Nolan Summit Services Inc Leadsafe Certified Firm EPA Community Associates Institute NARI Member

Customer Reviews

“I had my wooden kitchen cabinets painted white. Anabal and Danielle were doing the job. I have nothing but praise for them. They came on time, cleaned up every day, were respective, friendly and helpful. If the rest of Jessee's crew are as great as Anabal and Danielle, this company will go far.”

— Anni S.
Oakland, CA

“M.B. Jessee painted the exterior of my Spanish house over 9 years ago, and they did such an incredible job that they are still getting referrals from me today. The paint is holding up perfectly -- there is absolutely no peeling chipping or any other deterioration. I still remember that my final walk-through list consisted of items written on one side of a 3x5 index card (and I'm REAL picky about my house!) However, when Matt and I did that walk-through over HALF the items were no longer an issue, as his team had noticed them first and they had already been resolved.”

— JoAnn Newcomb

“MB Jessee just finished our exterior and we couldn't be happier with our experience. The foreman (Pedro) and lead painter (Ricardo) were incredible to work with: they communicated scheduling clearly, Ricardo was a joy to be around every day, the showed up early every day, were incredibly tidy and did great paint work. The final walk through experience was incredible. Pedro pointed out items I missed demonstrating a clear desire to complete another quality project. I highly recommend them. As others have noted they definitely aren't the cheapest but you quickly realize that you're getting what you pay for. The 3 year guarantee is also a nice touch since there are likely touch up items that will show up after the job is done.”

— Joshua Jansen

“Julie,Just to let you know I am very appreciative of your crew catching the plumbing/mold problem. It was very astute of them. I wanted to let you know that again your crew has done excellent work here, please pass this along to Mr. Jessee. There are some bumps in the road here, but the painting and your crew has not been one of them. Their work is the only thing going right currently, and this crew is very nice and respectful. It is much appreciated. Thank you again.”

— Beth
Oakland

“Just had MB Jessee paint the interior of our house and they did a wonderful job. They tackled some crazy wallpaper as well as painted some very high ceilings and walls. The whole process was quick and they did a great job! We are very pleased. I was also very impressed by the crew. They were very personable, kind and actually took pride in the work they were doing. In one of our conversations with the lead Ricardo, he actually told me he was very proud of how the rooms had turned out. I agree sir! It turned out great and it's not often you hear someone thinking of your home like they would theirs, and putting that level of work and quality into it. That made a huge difference in how I viewed this company. Ricardo, you were fantastic and thank you for the great job, we will be using you again.”

— Jeff M.
Danville, CA

“I love the article in the paper on your company. Thank you for supporting our community by painting at the Claremont Middle School. Thanks!”

— Carla Banks

“It was a great experience working with MB Jessee. The crew was careful and thorough as they painted the house, sealed stucco cracks, repaired dry-rotted wood, stained the deck, etc. Robert, Gersson, Jose, and all of the people involved in the process from the estimate to the job completion were friendly and professional.”

— Mike C.
Livermore, CA

“The completed 'Client Satisfaction Survey' we sent in only modestly reflects our total satisfaction with the work. As a retired small business owner, I compliment you on setting 'best practices' that are consistently followed. Everything described in your marketing materials was a reality! The crew is a super bowl team and our neighbors commented on how quiet they were. We are very happy to be a client of MB Jessee.”

— Richard
Orinda

“The painters at MB Jesse are top notch! Cesar's team was super friendly and helpful. They were very polite and accommodating. Their expertise in everything painting related was evident in their attention to detail and efficiency painting tricky spaces. The apartment looks brand new!”

— Adam Swisher

“Richard and crew have been great, for sure. As much as I look forward to having the job done and my house back in order, I really enjoyed having them around. You should feel really good about how they represent your company.”

— Jessica Dodson

“Thank you for the support you have given the Women's Cancer Resource Center over the past year!”

— Margo - Director Women's Cancer Resource Center

“Matt, We are very happy with how all of the painting worked out. We were extremely impressed with the quality of the work in the bathroom. I liked working with Victor, he and Marvin were extremely conscientious about doing a great job, not just the minimum. I know the front door took a lot longer than you'd expected. But they did it PERFECTLY. We never thought it could turn out like that! Thanks again for the great work. We'll be calling you again in the future!”

— Craig
Alameda, CA