Can You Paint Over Wallpaper Border? (How-to-Guide)

Out of all the areas of the home, wallpaper borders are one area that can easily become the most outdated! If you’re currently undertaking a home improvement project and are wondering whether or not you are able to paint over your wallpaper border, then you’ve come to the right place.

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide detailing everything you need to know about correctly painting over your wallpaper borders, including advice on whether or not you even need to keep them on your wall in the first place. Along the way, we’ll also be providing you with some top product recommendations that will make painting over your borders a breeze. Ready? Just read on.

How To Paint Over Your Wallpaper Border: Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Assess the condition of the wallpaper border:

Prior to picking up your paintbrush, the first thing that you should do is take a moment to assess the condition of your wallpaper border. Sometimes, you might find that you are able to peel the wallpaper border off without needing to paint over it, although this is usually only ever the case for wallpaper borders that have been applied with a weak adhesive.

This is often the case for children’s bedrooms, where the wallpaper can be frequently changed as opposed to a kitchen or bathroom, which usually contains wallpaper borders that have been given a strong adhesive to counteract moisture in the air.

2. Try to remove the wallpaper:

For the very best results, we do recommend trying to remove as much of the wallpaper border as possible before you start to paint. Like we said above, levels of adhesiveness can vary from room to room, so if you’re finding that you’re unable to easily lift away the border, you might need to try loosening the wallpaper border up.

The easiest way of doing this is to take a steamer or hair dryer which will help to loosen up the glue and make the wallpaper border easier to remove. Alternatively, if this isn’t working, then you could also consider moistening the surface of the wallpaper with some spray, before then gently scraping the wallpaper off.

As a side note, if you assess the condition of your wallpaper border and notice that you are just unable to remove it, then you’re going to have to paint over it as it is. However, prior to painting it, you will need to do a little bit of preparation to ensure that the border is ready to be painted, which brings us to our next section.

3. Prepare the surface ready for painting:

Regardless of whether you have been able to remove a large portion of the wallpaper border or not, you’re going to get the best painting results if you make sure that you take the time to properly prepare the surface ready for painting.

Start by gently removing any wallpaper that is peeling or loose, and make sure that any torn bits of wallpaper have also been carefully removed, otherwise you’re going to find that the paint struggles to bond to the surface due to the lack of smoothness.

In addition to making sure that the wallpaper is entirely smooth, you should also consider giving the area of wallpaper you plan on painting a wipe over with a clean, damp cloth, as this will help to get rid of any surface debris that may otherwise interfere with the adhesion of the paint.

Alongside all of the above, you should also take a few moments to check the wall to see if there are any cracks or holes in the wall. If there are, then you will need to make sure that they have been properly cleaned and filled with a sealant prior to painting for the best results.

4. Apply the paint primer:

Seeing as you’re going to be painting over your wallpaper border, it’s important to make sure that the paint you apply is given the very best chance at sticking to the surface – which is where a painting primer comes into the mix.

If you’re already familiar with painting, then we’re sure that you’re already aware of the importance of using a primer as the first step prior to applying the coats of paint. However, if it’s going to be your first time painting or you’d simply like a knowledge refresh, a painting primer serves as a way to help increase the adhesion for the paint to stick to, while also acting as a protective barrier of the surface underneath.

To apply your primer, take an angled paintbrush or roller and apply a thin, even layer across the surface of the wallpaper border. You should only need one coat of primer, so after you have applied it, you can then proceed to leave your primer coat to dry for the duration of one night, or for around eight hours.

Nevertheless, after you have given your primer enough time to dry, we do then recommend going back and inspecting the surface of your wallpaper border. If you notice any holes or areas that don’t seem to be primed properly, then you can go ahead and apply some additional primer to any problem areas.

Need help making a decision of which one to use? Check out this one from KILZ – it’s a bestseller!

5. Apply the paint:

So, after you have applied the primer and you have given it enough time to dry, the next thing you will need to do is begin painting over your wallpaper border! For the best results, we recommend using latex or water-based paint, as these types of paint are the best for all interior applications, such as this one.

When you’re ready to paint, simply apply two to three coats of paint (ensuring that you are giving the paint enough time to dry in between applications) until you are happy with the finish. Then, to make sure that your finished paint job remains pristine, you can then choose to apply a top coat as the final step.

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