The Importance of Wallpaper Removal Before Painting


If you have wallpaper in your home but you're ready for a change, it's crucial to remove it before you begin the painting process.

While wallpaper can be stubborn, make sure you practice the proper wallpaper removal techniques. This will ensure a smooth, seamless look.

Read on to discover the importance of removing your wallpaper before you paint in order to get the results you want.

Wallpaper Leaves Seams and Bumps Behind

Most wallpaper is installed in sections with each piece connected at the seams. Although these seams might not be visible when your wallpaper is installed, they're definitely noticeable when you paint over the wallpaper.

In addition to the classic seams, some wallpaper may also have unusual textures. Applying paint directly over textured wallpaper will leave weird "bumps" and uneven marks behind after a layer of paint is applied.

Grasscloth wallpaper is extremely difficult to paint over. The tiny nooks and crannies can make it hard to get the paint into every small dip and crevice. 

Unattractive seams and textures are just one reason why you should remove wallpaper before painting. A smooth, even surface is always best when it comes to applying a fresh coat of paint on your walls.

Another reason why it's crucial to choose wallpaper removal before you paint is that the paint may start to bubble or crack. The moisture in the paint can cause the wallpaper adhesive to come loose, which can cause the paint to warp and the wallpaper to loosen over time.

Painting Over Wallpaper Can Damage Your Walls

Removing wallpaper is a time-consuming and intensive process, but painting over it can often do more harm than good. When you paint directly over wallpaper, it will make future removal even more difficult.

Peeling or scraping off wallpaper with paint over it will be much more difficult than removing it in the first place. As you remove the paint-covered wallpaper, it will likely take some of your drywall or plaster with it.

If you remove painted wallpaper, prepare to make some serious repairs before you repaint. You may need to apply a compound to dents and scratches, smooth it over, then sand it down first. If you don't, your new paint job will leave lots of visible marks behind.

When it comes to saving time and effort, it's best to remove the wallpaper entirely before painting. Otherwise, you could end up spending much more time repairing your walls in the future when you want to do things right.

Proper Wallpaper Removal is Crucial

If you've never removed wallpaper before, it's important to follow the proper steps depending on the type of walls and wallpaper you have. Find out whether your walls are plaster or drywall before you begin the process.

Most homes over 50 years old have plaster walls that can be quite solid and dense. Drywall is more common in newer homes, and it's a lot more delicate and prone to damage.

You'll need to know which type of wallpaper is on your walls before you attempt to remove it. Each type requires specific tools and processes to ensure easy removal that won't leave a sticky mess or damaged walls behind.

Removing Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Most new wallpaper styles can be removed without the use of water or chemicals. This "peel and stick" wallpaper can be physically pulled off your walls and should not leave much of a mess once it's gone.

Start at one corner and slowly pull at an angle to remove the peel and stick wallpaper. Take your time, and avoid ripping each section off the walls too quickly or you run the risk of taking some of the walls with it. 

Removing Vinyl Wallpaper

Traditional wallpaper is typically made of vinyl and requires water to dissolve the adhesive. A special wallpaper removal solution mixed with water can be applied to help make the removal process easy.

Take your mixture and spray it on a section of the wall, allowing it to soak for approximately 15 minutes. Next, slowly start peeling the section away using your hands. Try not to use a scraping tool since it could damage the wall underneath. If you're noticing that the wallpaper isn't coming off easily, it might be best to call in the pros.

Removing Adhesive Wallpaper

Some wallpaper styles have a coated backing that's designed to keep moisture out. While this is a great feature, it can also make removing your wallpaper extremely difficult to do on your own.

You can try the same methods that you'd use with vinyl wallpaper, but you will also need to perform an extra step. As the removal solution and water mixture dry, use sandpaper or a scoring tool to further loosen the wallpaper from your walls. 

Hold a wallpaper steamer against each section for around 15 to 20 seconds and then start lifting the wallpaper away from the wall with your hands. This process is time-consuming and may require someone who has the proper skills and knowledge regarding adhesive-style wallpaper. 

Prep Your Walls the Right Way

Although wallpaper removal is an intense process, it's crucial if you want your newly painted walls to look beautiful. Consider hiring a professional who can ensure that your old wallpaper comes off smoothly.

With the right surface prep, the new paint should cure and dry to a smooth, beautiful finish.

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