Pros And Cons Of Painting Over Wallpaper

Do you have old, outdated wallpaper that needs an update? Should you remove the wallpaper and apply paint or just keep the wallpaper and paint over it? Luckily, we can help you with these questions because we've researched the proper way of doing this project.

Painting your existing wallpaper is not necessarily a bad idea. But then, there are still some advantages and disadvantages you must keep in mind. Here are the pros and cons of painting over wallpaper.


  1. Save Time
  2. Conserve Resources
  3. Protect Walls 
  4. Less Trash


  1. Paint Might Not Stick Properly
  2. Challenging Application
  3. Wallpaper Color Could React
  4. Prone to Mold

In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of painting over wallpaper. Keep reading to help you decide which option is best for your renovation project.

Pros of Painting Over Wallpaper

Hangged wallpaper in a wall of a room

1. Save Time

Instead of having to deal with the hassle of tearing down your existing wallpaper, you just need to focus now on the whole painting process. In this case, you can save time as you work with it faster than tearing it down first.

2. Conserve Resources

Another essential benefit of painting over wallpaper is to conserve resources and other materials. You do not use other equipment or chemicals to strip off the wallpaper. 

As a result, you can save money and resources by simply painting over the wallpaper.

3. Protect Walls 

Painting covering the wallpaper in the wall

Another interesting benefit of painting over your wallpaper is it protects from other damage. The paint creates a sealant layer that works as an additional layer of protection against different factors in the area, including excessive sunlight, fungal agents, and more.

Besides that, paint also helps seal off the wall's pores, preventing any dirt or dust buildup, which could be pretty tricky to remove regularly.

4. Less Trash

If you still tear down your old wallpaper, it will bring you significant debris. So, it requires you to dispose of them properly to prevent environmental hazards.

On the other hand, if you paint over the wallpaper, you can eliminate tons of trash, particularly the wallpaper and glue! You will not face any issue of putting them into the disposal.

Cons of Painting Over Wallpaper

1. Paint Might Not Stick Properly

One major problem with painting over wallpaper is how the paint will stick to the material. This could cause an issue as you apply paint to the existing wallpaper.

For example, the paint could quickly begin to peel off or produce bubbles in just a short time. So, it might bring more problems and lead to extra costs for you. 

2. Challenging Application

If you keep the wallpaper on the wall and start painting over it, it could damage your application process. Bumps, bubbles, lifting, ridges, or other uneven applications could worsen the situation. 

Other than that, it would be extra challenging to have smooth brush strokes if you keep covering the wallpaper. This issue could lead to frustration.

3. Wallpaper Color Could React

Applying paint directly onto your old wallpaper can even cause discoloration and stain build-up. This could be due to improper adhesion and absorption of paint to the paper itself.

In a worse case, you might not fully achieve the desired wall color after your finish painting over your wallpaper.

4. Prone To Mold

Another issue that you could encounter is moisture presence. It could cause mold and mildew growth between the paper layers which may cause further damage to the underlying wallpaper. 

If this happens, you are required to do the overall process again. Also, mold and mildew can pose other potential health risks by releasing toxic fumes. 

How to Know If You Need to Paint Over The Existing Wallpaper or Not?

worker removing old painted wallpaper from the wall. house renovation interior renewal

When painting overall your current wallpaper, you need to consider some things to achieve the best result.

Ensure Wallpaper is in Its Best Condition

It is vital to double-check if your wallpaper is still securely adhered to the wall. You also need to ensure that it is still in good condition for extra paint layering.

If not, you can also make some adjustments. For example, in some loose edges, you can remove them or re-glue them before painting over them.

On the other hand, if the wallpaper is in poor condition, including tears, discoloration, and visible scratches, it would be best to remove it. Painting over it would not be enough to hide the damage.

Consider the Type of the Wallpaper

Some old wallpapers are toxic to your health. So, you need to ensure that your wallpaper is one of them or not. 

Additionally, old wallpapers could have utilized glue containing harmful toxins.

If you have confirmed that the wallpaper and glue you are using are unsafe, it would be best to strip them off soon. Do not paint over toxic wallpapers or adhesives. Remember, making you and your family safe should be your first priority instead of keeping these wallpapers around.

To identify the current situation of your wallpaper, you can always reach out to professionals.

Check the Surface of the Wallpaper

Another thing to consider is the ease of painting your wallpaper. You can determine this if you know the type of finish and material constructed your wallpapers from.

For example, vinyl-coated and fabric-backed vinyl. papers can be extra challenging to cover with paint. 


Another essential factor to be mindful of is the overall cost of this project. If you wish to tear down your wallpaper, you could expect to pay around $3 per square foot and an additional $2.75 per square foot for replacing them.

But if you just need to paint over it, you can pay for the repainting. 

After considering these factors, you might decide to paint your wallpaper. See which one is best for your situation to finalize this project. 

Steps to Paint Over Wallpaper

Set of tools for painting wall at home, Pros And Cons Of Painting Over Wallpaper

If you plan to paint over your wallpaper, follow this guide below. Expect some challenges along the way, as you are not traditionally painting the walls.

To get started, here is the step-by-step guide to doing a DIY paint over the wall:

Step 1: Prepare the Wallpaper

It is better to clean your walls first to remove any dust or debris attached. You can use a vacuum, broom, feather duster, or other materials to wipe off the dirt.

Then, use a putty knife and sandpaper to score and rough up the surface area. This would be a big help to absorb the new paint easily. Clean these tools immediately afterward.

For prep work, you can also use cleaning solutions or chemicals like trisodium phosphate or TSP. Simply dilute them in water per the manufacturer's instructions. If using TSP, you can typically combine one half-cup of TSP for every two gallons of water. 

Before starting to clean the wallpaper, make sure to wear your protective gear and keep the room properly ventilated. 

Then, apply the TSP solution to the wallpaper and let it dry. Finally, use a damp cloth to remove the TSP from the wall. 

Get TSP cleaner on Amazon.

Step 2: Priming the Wall

Two painters are painting the exterior of the building on a dangerous looking scaffolding hanging from a tall building

After cleaning the wall, you can now prime or seal the surface to prepare for the best paint adhesion. A layer of primer will aid in moisture prevention to ensure your walls stay clean between the paint, wallpaper, and glue layers.

Oil-based primer sealer is best for this step instead of water-based products. It will also assist the finish, filling in those teeny, "roughed" bumps you'd created by scoring the wallpaper so that you'll have a smooth look to the painted wall.

See oil-based primer on Amazon.

Allow the oil-based primer to dry overnight before continuing the process. This will help to prevent any moisture from seeping through into the newly painted wall.

Step 3: Paint the Wallpaper 

Once the primer is completely dry, you can now proceed to paint the wallpaper. But ensure to put painter's tape along your edges and trim lines.

Then, apply the desired layer of latex or oil-based paint. You can use a roller or brush to apply the paint, depending on the area you are working on.

Let it dry, and if needed, you can always apply a second and third coating for the finish you desire.

Order latex paint on Amazon.

Final Words

Set of tools for painting wall at home

When it comes to deciding whether it is better to paint over wallpaper or remove it first, there are many factors mentioned above that you keep in mind. You can also reach out to experts to know the best course of action. By having enough details and ideas on the pros and cons of this project, you can easily know what to do next.

For more home decoration tips and recommendations, keep following our posts below:

Can You Paint Solar Shades? [Yes! Here’s Which Paint Is Best!]

Pros and Cons of Painting Tile Flooring

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