Asked on Jan 14, 2015

What can u do with the walls when someone paints over wallpaper?

by TMc1007823
I bought a house and just noticed that someone had painted over the wallpaper. What can I do to get the wallpaper down?
  14 answers
  • Shoot they might have just helped you, easiest way to see is to use a knife to get below the layer of wallpaper (easier for me is to pull a piece of trim, but...) & see if you can peal it away. In some cases the paint helps break the layer of glue underneath & as the paint bonds to the wallpaper it can help you pull it off in full strips. If that doesn't work - you have your traditional means of removal though the paint is going to make it a lot tougher to get to the adhesive underneath. With that, why do you want to remove the wallpaper now?
    • See 3 previous
    • Kay Cecil Kay Cecil on Nov 07, 2018

      I just bought a house where the previous owners painted over the wallpaper with a water base paint in the bathroom. Now the paint AND the wallpaper are breaking loose from the wall in " bubbles". I was told a long time ago that if you were going to paint over wallpaper to use an oil base paint ( yeah, a PIA I know and stinks) but using a water base paint on wallpaper will often make the adhesive break loose, and especially in a bathroom

  • Debbee Anthony Carlson Debbee Anthony Carlson on Jan 14, 2015
    @SLS Construction & Building Solutions LLC - I'm just a housewife but I've dealt with this myself. The best thing to do to get the nicest looking finish is pull out the trim and completely remove the wallpaper. Hopefully they used the correct base so it doesn't destroy the sheetrock. If not you may have to replace sheetrock but it would have to be really bad for that to happen. Best of luck with your project!!!
  • L. L. on Jan 14, 2015
    If there is a spot of the wallpaper that you can lift or tear off, and the walls under are painted, spray the wallpaper with hot water wait until the paper absorbs the water and then peel it off( with a scrapper,( I used one of those plastic bowl scrappers from Betty Crocker I purchased at the dollar store or dollar tree) or use a hand held steamer once you have a torn out piece. It is very time consuming and sort of messy so you may want to put plastic or old towels on the floor to catch the excess water and have a couple of garbage bags for the wallpaper, but it does a good job and like I said as long as the wall underneath is painted. it should lift off fairly easy and not damage the wall underneath it. Good luck and hope this helps you.
  • CK CK on Jan 14, 2015
    You basically use the same method of wallpaper removal you'd use any other time. I've found the best way to remove wallpaper is to use dish soap in hot water in a spray bottle. First I pull off the top layer (very easy) then use the water/soap mixture. Spray it on the 'base' of the paper, let it soak in awhile.It usually comes off very easily with a little bit of scraping. If your walls are drywall, this works. If they're plaster, you may have to do another method.
  • PeterBe PeterBe on Jan 15, 2015
    There are tools available to break away the waterproof surface of the paint that resemble cowboy boot spurs on a handle. Simply roll over an area and then spray with hot water & soap or wallpaper adhesive remover.
  • Rosemary Kelly Rosemary Kelly on Jan 15, 2015
    I've actually just painted over it. Sand slightly, prime and then paint. I was afraid of ruining the drywall. It was paper and the glue was insane. I steamed and tried every product in the book. That was 30 years ago and it still looks fine.
  • Joanie1051 Joanie1051 on Jan 15, 2015
    I've had to do this before, too. :( If it is vinyl wallpaper, you're in luck. Start at the bottom and peel up on the paper to see if the vinyl layer will separate from the backing layer. If so, just pull up on the paper to strip it from the wall, leaving you with the paper backing layer glued to the wall that you can remove with the spray bottle of water/putty knife method. You also might have lucked out with it being self stripping wallpaper. Peel up on some of it from the bottom and see if it peels away easily. If so, you're home free, as it will all just peel right off the wall just pulling upwards on it. If it's regular old paper wallpaper, it's a bigger job. Get the scoring tool that Peter Banga referred to to score the wallpaper (You have to get holes punched through the paper to get moisture behind it to loosen the glue to get it off the wall.) Rent a wallpaper steamer to get enough moisture through the paint and under the paper to get it moist enough to get it scraped off the wall. Any way you do it, there will be a lot of washing the wall and rinsing cloths out to get all the glue wiped off before painting again. Sorry I don't have better news. Good luck!
  • Teri Boelk Teri Boelk on Jan 15, 2015
    This happened to my house as well. I used the opportunity to resurface the walls with plaster in a rough finish. Trowel on the plaster then either brush it one way with a broom leave it rough. It looks great!
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 16, 2015
    Lots of experience in a 100+ year old house with many layers of paper and paint. A wallpaper steamer has been the best thing I ever invested in. Score the surface of the paint, and then wet down with warm water. Keep the surface wet and hold the steamer on it. Then gently peel off the paint-wallpaper with a putty knife. Wash down with vinegar water and one of those textured sponges/scrubbies for cleaning pots as you go to remove any glue residue. My steamer even lifted contact cement that had been used on seams of one layer of paper..
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jan 16, 2015
    We have also had to tear it off, use a steamer. If the wall wasn't sized think I smell that right, but anyway we did thin layers of drywall mud, sanded it down smooth. The walls look great. It takes time and it is a mess, we also threw down plastic. If you have wood floors the dust will take the finish right off the floor.
  • April H April H on Jan 16, 2015
    We found the same thing when moving into a new house! Who does that? Don't they realize you can see the seams? Used the same method as taking off all of the rest of the wallpaper in the house. Pulled off the top layer of paper in big sheets. (Tip: be sure to pull at an angle) Scored with a paper tiger the backing that was left, wet it with plain water, and used a scraper to scrape off. It usually came off in long strips. Actually came off easier than the wallpaper, wallpaper over wallpaper, and three layers of border. We tried steam which was a hassle. Tried DIF gel wallpaper remover which was a big mess and found plain old water was the easiest thing to use.
  • Adrienne Adrienne on Jan 17, 2015
    I have the problem similar to removing painted wallpaper; the associated condition that often results about which I don't know what to do. Once it is off and the wallboard is uneven if not actually damaged,--but uneven enough that wallpaper can't be reapplied, is there anything to do short of having the walls skim coated? Over the years I have stripped and repaired acres of plaster in Victorian houses. I had no idea wallboard was the pain it is. Please suggest best way. Thanks.
    • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 18, 2015
      @Adrienne Think a skim coat will give the best results. Have had some plaster walls skim coated, too.
  • Adrienne Adrienne on Jan 18, 2015
    I was afraid that I would have to accept that as the only real solution. Thanks to all. ABBB
  • Judy Judy on Jan 19, 2015
    This can be a real pain to get the paper off that's been painted over....don't ever paint over wall paper!!!! Use what's called "a Paper Tiger" to score (make little cuts) in the wall paper. Then get ready for the work. I mix half liquid fabric softener (cheapest) and half warm water in a spray bottle and spray all over the paper to really dampen it. Then, hopefully, it will start peeling off. You may have to do it multiple times to get it all off....and if you ever wall paper again be sure to use SIZING on the walls before you paper. When you're ready to take the paper off again it just pulls right off..