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How Do I Prevent Wallpaper from Peeling When Painting Over It?

Painting over wallpaper can be a tricky task, but with the right approach, you can prevent it from peeling and achieve a smooth, professional finish. Here are some tips to help you prevent wallpaper from peeling when painting over it:

  • Inspect the Wallpaper

Before painting, thoroughly inspect the wallpaper for any signs of loose edges or areas that are already peeling. It’s important to address these issues before proceeding with painting.

  • Secure Loose Edges

If you notice any loose edges or corners, use a wallpaper adhesive or glue to secure them back to the wall. Apply a small amount of adhesive behind the loose section and press it firmly against the wall. Hold it in place for a few seconds to allow the adhesive to bond.

  • Smooth Out Bubbles

If you come across any bubbles or air pockets in the wallpaper, gently lift the edge using a utility knife or a small pin. Apply a small amount of adhesive behind the lifted section and smooth it down with a wallpaper smoother or a clean cloth. Be careful not to tear or damage the wallpaper during this process.

  • Clean the Wallpaper

Dirt and dust can prevent paint from adhering properly to the wallpaper surface. Use a mild detergent and warm water solution to clean the wallpaper before painting. Be gentle and avoid using excessive moisture, as it may cause the wallpaper to peel.

  • Use Primer

Applying a primer before painting can improve adhesion and help seal the wallpaper. Choose a high-quality primer that is suitable for the type of wallpaper you have. Apply the primer evenly using a paintbrush or roller, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

  • Choose the Right Paint

Opt for a high-quality paint that is specifically designed for painting over wallpaper. Look for paints labeled as “wallpaper-friendly” or “vinyl-safe.” These paints have the right properties to adhere to wallpaper surfaces and minimize the risk of peeling.

  • Apply Thin Coats of Paint

When painting over wallpaper, it’s important to apply thin coats of paint to avoid saturating the paper. Thick layers of paint can lead to excessive moisture absorption, causing the wallpaper to peel or bubble. Allow each coat of paint to dry completely before applying the next.

  • Avoid Excessive Moisture

Be mindful of how much moisture you introduce to the wallpaper while painting. Excessive moisture can weaken the adhesive bond and cause the wallpaper to peel. Use a damp (not soaking wet) paintbrush or roller, and apply the paint with gentle, even strokes.

  • Be Patient

Patience is key when painting over wallpaper. Allow each coat of paint to dry thoroughly before applying additional coats or making any touch-ups. Rushing the process can increase the risk of peeling and compromise the final result.


By following these tips, you can minimise the chances of wallpaper peeling when painting over it. Remember to take your time, use the right products, and ensure proper surface preparation for the best outcome.

If you need further assistance, consider reaching out to the experts at Martyn Clegg Painters and Decorators in Burnley, who can ensure the job is done correctly the first time thanks to their knowledge and expertise.