When professionally installed, wallpaper can last upwards of 15 years, bringing unique textures and patterns to your home and creating a finished wall surface. However, at some point throughout those 15 years, the wallpaper may become outdated as you gather new furnishings or your personal style changes. A fresh coat of paint provides a quick solution but raises the question - should you remove the wallpaper or simply paint over it?
Removing wallpaper can be time-consuming and potentially create bigger, more harmful problems in your home. Horror stories include taking off dozens of layers of wallpaper only to find more or peeling away one layer along with the drywall or plaster behind it. Removing wallpaper before painting will always yield the best results with fewer long-term problems however so follow these tips to help decide if you should remove the wallpaper or start painting:
- When to remove wallpaper before painting: Anytime wallpaper is loose, ripped or has holes, it should always be removed as these are the signs the wallpaper is beginning to fail. It's also best to consider your future plans for staying in this home. Wallpaper that has been painted over is excruciatingly difficult to remove and will create bigger problems when you decide to redecorate again.
- When to paint over wallpaper: Painting over wallpaper will ensure one thing - your drywall or plaster walls WILL remain intact, avoiding any dreadful horror stories. It's also much easier and less time consuming to start painting right away, rather than removing wallpaper and adhesive, then painting. If you decide to paint over wallpaper, make sure to add adhesive in loose areas and replace damaged sections. Before painting, add a coat of spackle so the wallpaper's texture won't show and use an oil-based primer to seal the adhesive in the paper and away from the moisture in the paint.