Is it Ever OK to Paint Over Wallpaper?

Color Therapy

Removing wallpaper just may be the worst home improvement job ever. Is it ever ok to paint right over it?

Sure you can—sometimes. Not over mylar or vinyl bathroom wallpaper, but especially yes, when it’s an apartment on Park Avenue that a) is a fixer-upper where b) you know that the new buyer is going to spend a million dollars on renovations.

My logic is this: if the paper is stuck on the wall so firmly that you can’t remove it, then it becomes something akin to the top layer of sheetrock anyway.

But, you need to splice off those peeling seems, and patch and repair as you would on any other surface. For this project I used Benjamin Moore Aura in Simply White OC-117, which is self-priming but still wanted three coats to cover up the ink evenly. Bubbles may appear, but usually shrink right back down when dry.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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