Can You Wallpaper Over Wallpaper or Textured Walls?

a bedroom with a red velvet bed, lampshade, mahogany chest of drawers and dark wallpaper with a floral pattern

Are you tired of looking at the same outdated wallpaper or textured walls in your home? Are you wondering if you can simply wallpaper over them for a quick and cost-effective update?

I am a huge lover of wallpaper and have many different designs in my home. I love picking out colors and patterns and creating a room design around gorgeous wallpaper.

This article will explore the common concern of whether or not it is possible to wallpaper over existing coverings and provide you with valuable information to help you make a decision.

Key Takeaways:

  • You can wallpaper over existing wallpaper or textured walls, but steps must be taken to ensure proper adhesion and a smooth finish.
  • Wallpapering over existing surfaces can save time and money, hide imperfections, and add insulation to a room.
  • However, there are risks involved, such as the wallpaper not adhering properly or being difficult to remove in the future.

Can You Wallpaper Over Wallpaper?

a dining room with a Japanese inspired wall mural on the wall

Wallpaper has long been a popular choice for adding style and personality to homes. However, have you ever wondered if it’s possible to save time and effort by simply wallpapering over existing wallpaper?

It’s a common question for those looking to update their walls without the hassle of removing old wallpaper or dealing with unwanted textures and severely damaged walls.

In this section, we’ll explore the process of wallpapering over wallpaper, including tips from interior decorators and the benefits of this approach for achieving a new look. We’ll also discuss how to handle common issues such as loose seams and wear and tear.

What Tools and Materials Do You Need for Wallpapering?

tools for wallpapering

Before you start your wallpapering project, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials. These items will ensure a smooth and successful installation of your wallpaper.

You will need:

  • Wallpaper paste
  • A smoothing brush or roller
  • A utility knife
  • A measuring tape
  • A pencil and spirit level

What Are the Steps to Wallpaper Over Wallpaper?

Before starting, ensure the existing wallpaper is securely attached to the wall.

  1. Inspect the existing wallpaper for loose seams, wear and tear, and mold.
  2. Repair any damages and ensure the surface is clean and smooth.
  3. Use a primer to help the new wallpaper adhere better.
  4. Choose a high-quality wallpaper, such as one of my favorite brands – Graham & Brown, for a fresh new look.
  5. Depending on your wallpaper type, apply adhesive either to the paper or directly to the wall.
  6. Starting from the top, align the paper carefully, and smooth out any bubbles.
  7. Use a utility knife to trim excess wallpaper at the edges.

If you need more help, check out my blog – how to hang wallpaper!

Can You Wallpaper Over Textured Walls?

a bedroom with chinoiserie wallpaper, a mahogany headboard and purple and lilac bedding

Are you tired of the unwanted textures on your walls? Or have your textured walls been severely damaged or are very dark in color? If so, you may be wondering if you can simply wallpaper over them for a fresh new look.

Textured walls are often created using techniques like stucco, popcorn, or knockdown to add depth and character to a room. While these textures can be a welcome addition to any room, they pose a unique challenge when applying wallpaper.

Challenges of Wallpapering Over Textured Walls

  1. Uneven Surface: The primary challenge is the uneven surface. Textures can prevent the wallpaper from adhering smoothly, leading to air pockets and an uneven finish.
  2. Visibility of Texture: Depending on the thickness of the wallpaper, the underlying texture might still be visible, affecting the desired look.

What Are the Steps to Wallpaper Over Textured Walls?

  • Smoothing the Surface: For lightly textured walls, sanding might be sufficient to smooth the surface. However, heavily textured walls may require skimming with a joint compound.
  • Cleaning and Priming: After smoothing, clean the walls to remove dust and apply a primer. This step is crucial for ensuring good adhesion.

Choosing the Right Wallpaper

  1. Thickness and Material: Opt for thicker wallpapers or those with a strong backing. These types are better at concealing the texture underneath.
  2. Pattern and Color: Consider choosing a wallpaper with a busy pattern or darker color to help mask any minor imperfections caused by the underlying texture.

Application Tips

  1. Use Heavy-Duty Adhesive: A robust adhesive is key to ensuring the wallpaper sticks properly to the textured surface.
  2. Professional Assistance: For heavily textured walls, consider hiring a professional. They can ensure the wallpaper is applied smoothly and effectively.
william morris wallpaper in a kitchen with blue units and marble worktops
Wallpaper in a kitchen?

What Are the Benefits of Wallpapering Over Existing Surfaces?

Wallpapering over existing surfaces has become a popular option for those looking to update their walls without the hassle of removing old wallpaper, or dealing with textured walls. But what are the specific benefits of this method?

1. Saves Time and Money

  1. Wallpapering over an existing surface often requires less prep time compared to starting from a bare wall. This can be particularly true when dealing with old wallpaper that’s difficult to remove.
  2. By avoiding the labor-intensive process of removing the old material, you can save on both labor costs and the expense of wall repair materials.

2. Enhanced Wall Protection

  1. Additional Layer of Insulation: Adding a layer of wallpaper can provide a slight increase in insulation, helping to keep rooms warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
  2. Wall Damage Prevention: Wallpaper can protect walls from minor scratches, dents, and other superficial damages.

3. Aesthetic and Design Flexibility

  1. Quick Decor Update: Wallpapering over existing surfaces is an excellent way to quickly update a room’s appearance without extensive renovations.
  2. Wide Range of Choices: With a vast array of designs, textures, and colors available, wallpaper offers endless possibilities to match any interior design theme.

4. Concealing Imperfections

  1. Hides Flaws: A new layer of wallpaper can effectively conceal stains, discolorations, and minor cracks in the underlying surface.
  2. Smooth Finish: For textured walls, the right type of wallpaper can provide a smoother, more uniform appearance.

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What Wallpaper is Best for Hiding Imperfections?

When choosing wallpaper to hide imperfections on walls, certain types are more effective than others. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Textured Wallpaper: Textured designs, such as embossed or anaglypta wallpapers, are excellent for concealing imperfections. The texture adds depth and masks minor bumps, dents, or unevenness in the wall surface.
  2. Thicker, Heavy-Duty Wallpaper: Wallpapers with a heavier weight and thicker material can cover flaws more effectively than thinner papers. They are less likely to show minor imperfections through the paper.
  3. Patterned Wallpaper: Wallpapers with busy or bold patterns can distract the eye and hide imperfections. Large, complex patterns are particularly good at this, as they draw attention away from the wall’s surface irregularities.
  4. Dark Colors: Darker colored wallpapers can also help in concealing flaws. Light colors tend to highlight imperfections, while dark colors are more forgiving.
  5. Vinyl Wallpaper: Vinyl wallpapers are not only durable but also have a certain thickness and texture that can help in masking wall imperfections.
  6. Non-Woven Wallpapers: These are known for their durability and thickness, making them a good choice for uneven walls.
  7. Paintable Wallpaper: This type of wallpaper allows you to apply a texture to your walls that can then be painted over. It’s a great way to get a consistent color while also covering up any flaws.

What Are the Risks of Wallpapering Over Existing Surfaces?

textured wallpaper in a japanese inspired living room

Wallpapering over existing surfaces may seem like a quick and easy solution for updating your walls, but it comes with its own set of risks.

From the wallpaper not adhering properly to the risk of bubbling or peeling, as well as the difficulty of removing it in the future, here are the important factors to consider before attempting to wallpaper over existing surfaces.

1. Adhesion Problems

  1. Inadequate Adhesion: One of the primary risks is that the new wallpaper may not adhere properly to the existing surface, especially if the underlying layer is glossy, textured, or damaged.
  2. Peeling and Bubbling: Poor adhesion can lead to peeling edges, bubbling, and an uneven finish, compromising the wallpaper’s appearance and longevity.

2. Hidden Wall Damage

  1. Concealed Issues: Wallpapering over existing surfaces can hide problems like mold, mildew, or structural damage, which may worsen over time.
  2. Difficulty in Diagnosis: Such concealed issues can be challenging to diagnose and treat without removing the wallpaper.

3. Increased Removal Difficulty

  1. Layering Complications: Each layer of wallpaper adds to the complexity and effort required for future removal. Multiple layers can be particularly challenging to remove.
  2. Potential Wall Damage: The wallpaper removal process can damage the underlying wall, especially if the wallpaper was not initially applied correctly.

A friend of mine decided to remove wallpaper in her living room, only to discover that it had been layered multiple times. The process turned into an arduous task, and she wished she had known about the challenges of removing multiple layers of wallpaper beforehand!

4. Aesthetic Limitations

  1. Texture Show-through: If wallpapering over textured surfaces or heavily patterned wallpaper, the texture or pattern might show through, affecting the new wallpaper’s appearance.
  2. Color Bleeding: Dark or vibrant colors from the old wallpaper might bleed through lighter or thinner new wallpaper.

5. Structural Considerations

  1. Weight Issues: Adding multiple layers of wallpaper can add significant weight to walls, which might be a concern in older homes or with certain wall types.
  2. Uneven Surfaces: Existing imperfections or unevenness can be accentuated, leading to a less-than-ideal finish.

While wallpapering over existing surfaces can be convenient, it’s crucial to weigh these risks against the benefits. Proper assessment of the existing surface, choice of appropriate materials, and careful application can mitigate many of these risks, ensuring a successful and lasting wallpaper application.

Wallpapering over existing wallpaper can be a practical choice, but it requires careful consideration and preparation. Whether you choose to layer or start afresh, the key is in the details.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

Q. Can all types of wallpaper be overlaid?

A. Not all. Non-porous wallpapers like vinyl might not be suitable for overlaying.

Q. Is it necessary to use a primer?

A. Yes, it helps in better adhesion of the new layer.

Q. Can textured wallpaper be overlaid?

A. As mentioned above, it’s possible, but the texture might show through the new layer. It’s probably best to remove wallpaper first

Q. How long will the wallpaper last if I apply it over existing wallpaper?

A. The lifespan of wallpaper applied over existing wallpaper can vary significantly based on several factors. Generally, when wallpaper is applied correctly over a suitable existing layer, it can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, similar to wallpaper applied on a bare wall.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here. I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. 

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