Preparing a Previously Wallpapered Wall for Painting

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ September 20, 2010 ~ No Comments

I'm tired of peeling wallpaper in my Tacoma, Washington, kitchen. I've done both painting and wallpapering before, but I'm not sure what steps are needed to prepare the walls for painting once the wallpaper is removed. What tools, products and techniques do I need?

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi, There are several thoughts on the best way to paint a room that once had wallpaper on the walls, but this way has always worked well for me. When you're done peeling the wallpaper you are ready to get started with the paint prep process.

What I usually do once the wallpaper is down is paint the walls with a good primer to cover any adhesive that remains behind on the walls. You should use a primer with the ability to cover stains; Zinnser and Kilz both have good products for this, but there are others that may do just as well. When the primer is dry I go around the room and patch the walls with drywall mud where needed. In many cases where I can still see adhesive through the primer I apply a very light skim coat of drywall mud to cover as needed.

When the drywall mud has dried I sand the room down and after cleaning up thoroughly I am ready to put a coat of regular paint on the walls. After the first coat I reinspect the room for any blemishes on the walls that are showing through the paint and patch them as needed. I then apply a second coat of paint and paint any trim or doors that also need to be done.

This is one of those jobs that the end result is only as good as your prep work. It is important that you take care of most of the defects and blemishes after the primer goes on the walls and before your main paint color is applied.

The only tools you need once the wallpaper is down are a sheetrock knife which is actually like a putty knife with a wider blade. I prefer using a knife that is about 8 inches wide where the mud is applied to the wall. Putting the mud on the walls is easier if you have a mud pan to carry the sheetrock mud around in and you can use the edge to clean your knife.

You're are going to need a fine grain sandpaper for sanding after the mud has dried. Many paint stores have sanding blocks that are the correct grain and they are easy to use. I would look for a paint store around Tacoma, Washington as they would probably have just about every tool and material you need for the job including the primer and paint. If you don't have a drop cloth, I'd pick up one of those to help protect your floor as this could be a messy project and don't forget about brushes or rollers if you don't already have them.

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