Painting over old wall paper

by Evelyn
(Minneapolis)

Hi,

I am painting over old wall paper and I now have bubbles on the wall paper surface. What type of primer should I have used, over top of the wall paper, so that I could have avoided the issue that I now have?

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Mar 26, 2015
Painting over wallpaper
by: Shawn & Donna

Hi Evelyn,

When painting over wallpaper you need to use a specific type of primer (usually solvent or oil based) as a latex or water clean up type primer will cause bubbling.

Your problem now is that the bubbles will have to be cut out and then your removed bubble needs a filler applied over top of the area where you have removed the bubble.

The filler you use will have to also be non water based and you will more than likely have to fill and sand two or three times until your wallpaper surface is smooth and level.

Keep in mind too that non water based fillers tend to dry very hard so be sure your filler application is as smooth as you can get it prior to its drying.

I should also mention that if the wallpaper has a texture the entire wallpaper surface would need what's called a skim coating. A skim coat is the process of using drywall mudding tools to apply coats of mud or filler, over top of the entire wallpaper surface. Finish up by sanding the dried filler smooth. More that one application and sanding, tend to be required to get the best final surface.

Brush and roll on the solvent based primer mentioned above, apply your filler again, wherever it looks to be needed, sand smooth and then spot prime the filler.

Follow up with two coats of top quality paint. After the first dried coat of paint fill any cracks, holes and divots as needed, sand the filler, pole sand the wall, spot prime the filler and then spot paint the primer.

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