Our best pricing of the year is here!

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

“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 walkthrough 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 J.
Oakland, CA

“High quality work from a pleasant and qualified staff. Thank you!”

— Paul Markovich

“Edy and crew are hard at work. They are doing a great job. Very professional outfit you have. Your crew is a delight. You may use me for a reference!”

— Heidi B
Walnut Creek

“Hello Matt,Just another notice of thanks to your wonderful crew, Rigoberto, Javier and John. They did fantastic work, with Rigo providing meticulous and conscientious attention to the details and excellent woodwork finishing, as evidenced by the beautiful fireplace. Javier did a fantastic job in the bathroom especially, it looks "brand new," and John always does quality work, both with the interior and exterior. I can tell they care about what they do. Rigo's "punch out" was very thorough, too. I will call again when I need some more work and will definitely recommend your company and fine crew. I also felt as a homeowner, I could leave my house in their good hands during the day and that took a lot of worry from me, they were honest, prompt and reliable. They were also very kind, respectful and clean in their work, very professional. Thank you.”

— Beth Marx & Melissa Kirsch
Oakland

“I can't say enough about how courteous and professional my foreman was. He was on time every morning and arrived cheerful and ready to go. He is highly organized and very thoughtful. He was extremely careful and respectful when moving my belongings - a mature professional.”

— Nora Robinson

“Awesome work by highly experienced, professional painters. They were: Conscious about the amount of time it would take. Ours had a lot of pre-work and took 3 weeks. Accommodating when we added a few last-minute changes Understanding when a heatwave hit and we remove some of the plastic sheeting over windows, which they had to put back up the next day. Accessible, especially the on-site crew (Hi Jose & Victor!) -- always answering questions and checking in. The end result is a perfect paint job that makes our 94-year-old house look brand new. I would definitely hire MBJ again”

— Stacey R.
Oakland, CA

“I cannot imagine finer painters--and I have worked with many. They work exceptionally hard. It is a joy to see their workmanship!”

— Alicia R.
Oakland

“Dear Matt,You must be so proud of your men! They were fantastic to have around. Polite, courteous and hardworking. I am so pleased with the outcome of our home--in fact, I couldn't be any more pleased than I am!”

— Mrs. S
San Leandro

“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

“Everyone I dealt with was nice, helpful, and very professional. The price was reasonable! (I didn't feel like I was getting the "San Francisco price." The attention to detail and work quality was excellent. They did what they said they would do in the exact timeframe they said they would do. Highly recommend!”

— Tim Tyson

“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

“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