To Wallpaper, Or To Wallpaper Over?: How To Decide Between Removing Paper And Repapering Or Just Covering Up Old Wallpaper

Posted on: 29 December 2015

When you decide that the wallpaper in your kitchen is far too outdated to stay one more year, you may want to consult with commercial painting contractors first. They can give you some cost estimates on what it would cost you if you just wallpaper right over the old paper versus removing years of antiquated wallpaper and layers of paint. After you get the cost estimates, you may also want to look at the time and effort needed for these two processes, which can help you decide which process would work better for you.

Wallpapering over Old Paper

This may be the easiest process of the two, so long as you do not see or feel any lumps or ripples in the old wallpaper. There should not be any signs of mold or mildew poking out of the old wallpaper either, as putting fresh wallpaper with moistened backs over the top may only encourage the mold or mildew to grow by giving it more moisture, glue and wallpaper to feed on. As long as the wall is free and clear of any of these problems, then applying the adhesive to a fresh strip of wallpaper and applying it over the tops of the old paper is a lot easier than removing the old wallpaper first.

Removing the Old Paper First

You could easily have multiple layers of paint and wallpaper stuck to your walls. The easiest way to check this possibility is to tap the edge of the wall such that you remove a chunk of the paper and paint layers from the edge of the wall. Now you should be able to see the stripes of color that indicate the number of layers of paper and paint stuck to your walls. This is an important piece of information to have, because you may want to remove more than one layer from your walls and you do not want to scrape so deeply that you remove the original plaster or the original wall itself!

Next, apply a coat of wallpaper adhesive remover. This loosens up the ancient gum that stuck the wallpaper you currently have to the wall or layer underneath. Use a scraping painter's tool to remove all of the old wallpaper. This is a messy and arduous process, so be prepared and place a tarp on the floor to catch the mess. If the layer underneath is painted and you want to remove that as well, you can scrape that away until you can see the next layer underneath. If any of the layers you want to remove are old wallpaper, you will need to repeat the process of applying the adhesive remover and scraping it away. When you finally reach the layer of wall you want to hang fresh wallpaper on, stop. Apply the adhesive to the back of the new paper sheets and stick it to this cleared and cleaned wall. Repeat for all of the walls in the same room.