There is a way to paint over wallpaper and have it turn out

So you’re looking to bring new life into your house. However, you want to get rid of this really old, dreary, outdated wallpaper that has been on those walls for decades. The problem is, you realize the cost of stripping the wallpaper is excessive. To make matters worse, you have a 70 year old plaster walls and are in danger of ruining them. What can you do?


There is a process to Paint Over wallpaper that’s very important to follow:

1) Checking the condition

Before starting to paint over wallpaper, take a look at the condition of the wallpaper. Are any seams sticking out? Are there air bubbles or torn pieces? These imperfections are going to stand out much more once the wall is painted, so it’s always good to make sure that they are taken care of before you begin to paint over wallpaper.

2) Fixing any imperfections in Wallpaper.

If you’ve found any imperfections, go over the imperfections with a layer of spackle, plaster, or joint compound. Once this is done, go over the filler with a 120-grit sandpaper to ensure a smooth wall before painting over wallpaper

3) Plaster all the wall seams

Wherever the wallpaper is joined and meet each other, there are tiny lines or seams that shows in between the wallpaper. Make sure you plaster these seams from ceiling to floor. Once the plaster is dry hours later, make sure you sand these seams smooth.

4) Look for hanging wallpaper or curling up seams.

If certain areas of the wallpaper are hanging or curling off, you need to repair these areas also, before getting to paint over wallpaper. If it’s minor, then simply glue those areas back with a simple wallpaper glue. If the areas are too big and starting to hang down, then you need to rip off that particular area, and skim coat plaster the entire seam to try to blend it in better. Once the plaster is dry, sand it down with a fine sand paper so you can blend it in better.

Scan the entire wallpaper area and continue this process until all wallpaper has been repaired.

5) Prepping the wall for painting.

You’ve taken care of all the major imperfections, so it’s time to prep the wall to paint over wallpaper. Go over the entire wall with an oil-based primer. It’s crucial to stay away from latex based primers as they may cause the wallpaper to come loose from the wall.

After this is done, check the wall for imperfections again. If any are found, repeat steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 until the wall is smooth.

6) Get Ready to Paint over Wallpaper !

Apply your wall paint according to the manufacturer’s specifications. See our blog on “how to paint a wall” for more details. Almost always, 2 coats are standard, but read the label.

Home Painters  Toronto TIP:

We usually discourage against using oil based paints, but it may be in your best interest to use an oil-based paint instead of latex-based. Despite the entire wall being oil primed, latex based paints sometimes can even find its way through the prime to cause the wallpaper to come loose from the wall.

Latex paints can work, but keep in mind if the bubbles do occur, you just need to repeat steps 1 to 5 until all the bubbles are gone.


In summation, if the budget and time is there, and the walls aren’t too old with plaster issues, it’s always better to strip wallpaper when you can.  Stripping wallpaper properly makes for a cleaner and more consistent finish. But painting on top of wallpaper is definitely a possible option when the existing conditions don’t allow that.

At Home Painters Toronto, we can paint over wallpaper for you. Please call us at (416) 494-9095 or email us at Brian@HomePaintersToronto.com to get a free quote on removing or painting your wallpaper. We look forward to meeting you!

Take a look at Home Painters Toronto Pinterest page

From The Owner & Founder


Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, we take our jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
I look forward to hopefully meeting you one day, as it brings me tremendous joy to make homeowner’s dreams come true.