Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-02-2012, 11:29 AM
ethelbert ethelbert is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,168
Painting Over a Wallpaper Border

I am preparing my house to be sold. I have two rooms with wallpaper borders that I am painting. I removed the border from one room. The paper came down fairly easily (by which I mean it might have been worse). Then I went back to clean up the adhesive. I have been around the room three times (not counting taking off the paper). I used DIF, DIF gel, WP Chomp, and TSP. Finally I rented a steamer. That still did not remove everything, but I have decided to sandpaper what is left and paint it with Gardz first. I do not want to do this to the second room. Basically what I want to do is paint over the border. The border adheres to the wall very well. There are no loose spots. My plan is to feather the bottom edge of the border with spackle and sand it. I will use a primer.

Has anybody done this? Will this look good enough to pass a casual inspection or will it still be obvious that there is a border underneath?
Old 01-02-2012, 12:44 PM
UFC Is Sux UFC Is Sux is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Wherever my hat is.
Posts: 365
YMMV, but I've tried painting over wallpaper borders twice and got terrible results both times, even after feathering the edges and primering. In both cases, the moisture in the paint apparently loosened the wallpaper and whole sections bubbled up, making it obvious that I'd painted over it. If it were me, I'd bite the bullet and steam the border to remove it before painting.
Old 01-02-2012, 01:07 PM
Ibanez Ibanez is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Earth
Posts: 1,968
Sounds like a pain in the ass.

One option might be to leave it as is, or rent a belt sander sand the whole border, spackle, sand, prime (optional) then paint.
Old 01-02-2012, 01:49 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 82,741
One of the biggest problem with doing this is that the wallpaper will have a different texture than the rest of the wall. Depending on how old your house it, the sheetrock will be skip troweled (popular in the 70s), spray knock-down (popular in the 90s) or "old world" (popular recently). The wall paper may be smooth or textured. But it's unlikely to match the wall, and the spackling you do might be yet a third texture.

Without seeing a really good pic of your wall, it's impossible to tell how it's going to look. Generally speaking, though, it'll be noticeable.

Good luck!
Old 01-02-2012, 06:17 PM
Al Bundy Al Bundy is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,803
Paint is NOT the answer

They make a product exactly for this situation. Unfortunately. it goes on like wallpaper. It can come in wider form and go much quicker than wallpaper though. When you then paint over this product, it works and looks good. You will have a nightmare after painting over regular wallpaper.
Old 01-02-2012, 06:27 PM
chiroptera chiroptera is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 5,146
I've done this (I'm a painting contractor.) You'll get pretty good results if the walls are smooth; not so good if there's any texture on the wall.

1: Prime with solvent-based primer (like Original Kilz.) Water-based primer or paint is likely to loosen the border in spots.
2: Use a 6-8" drywall knife and joint/topping compound (not spackle) and smooth a wide ribbon of it along the bottom edge.
3: Caulk along the top where the border meets the ceiling; there will probably be a little gap.
4: Sand the compound. May need two applications.
5: Use FLAT paint on the walls; any gloss will highlight surface imperfections.

Or, if you're in SE Michigan, call me and I'll come do it.
Old 01-03-2012, 12:28 AM
voguevixen voguevixen is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Location: San Leandro, CA USA
Posts: 6,302
Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I've done this (I'm a painting contractor.)
I've done this, many times over 30!+ years. I've stripped many a wallpapered wall. (and perversely enjoyed it) You need a mist bottle and a flat-edge scraper. And not even this if the paper was properly primed. It sometimes peels off without
Old 01-03-2012, 10:09 AM
Rushgeekgirl Rushgeekgirl is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Memphis
Posts: 5,849
How about a fresh border over the old once you've painted?


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017