What to do with a wallpapered ceiling

When Should You Paint Over Wallpaper?

One of the hardest things about renovating an old house is dealing with all of the mistakes other people have made stuff that’s already up there. Wallpaper can be a particular headache. The Victorians seemed to wallpaper everything – even the ceiling! What to do with a wallpapered ceiling? The old, out of date wallpaper on your ugly ceiling is faded, peeling, and dingy. But if you remove it, you risk the ceiling coming down with it. What to do?

Should you just paint over it? Isn’t that … cheating?!

But maybe you’ve got wallpaper you can’t remove. Or you’ve got some wallpaper some other idiot perfectly nice previous owner already painted over and now it’s flaking and peeling all over and the whole thing is just a giant mess.

What Type of Primer do You Need to Use For Painting Over Wallpaper?

Zinsser Gardz Problem Surface Sealer may be the answer to your problem. In this video I’ll show you how to use it, and give you my two cents on whether it’s a good idea for the problem surface in your life. If you’d rather read about it instead, I’ve written it all out for you just below the video. Thank you for watching and reading!

How to Paint Over a Wallpapered Ceiling

Hi, this is Kathleen from oldworldfarmhouse.com. I’m my boys’ room today. Today I want to show you how I use Zinsser Gardz Problem Surface Sealer on a wallpapered ceiling to seal it all up and prevent plaster problems that might come from trying to scrape the wallpaper off the ceiling.

First of all, if you have any spots where the ceiling wallpaper is peeling off, simply cut off the parts hanging down with a pair of scissors. The problem is, just painting a latex ceiling paint over the paper is not going to work. I know this from experience. It will start peeling almost immediately. The paint can’t adhere to the adhesive or wallpaper paste that’s holding up the paper, apparently. Also, the water in the water based paint soaks the wallpaper and makes it want to come off. After all, that’s how we remove wallpaper in the first place – soaking it with water!

Zinsser Gardz Problem Surface Sealer has several applications: damaged drywall, new drywall, my particular need is this one, wallpaper adhesive residue. What it does is it seals in that adhesive so that then you can go over it with any paint.

I put it in a tray with a paint roller and I just roll it right on the ceiling. It’s – it’s kind of like a thin watery substance, so you don’t want to load your brush up too much because it does drip. I’m gonna go up my ladder and show you at ceiling level how it works so you can see. It goes on and it looks just like water.

As long as you don’t overload the roller too much you won’t have too much drippage.

I’ve now covered the entire ceiling in the Zinsser Gardz Problem Surface Sealer. This room is about 400 square feet and it took one and a half gallons of the product to seal up the ceiling.

This is my ceiling. It’s covered in traditional wallpaper that is blank. It used to be a white ceiling, but it’s faded to a depressing, dingy, brown-gray. I’ve got it half painted with the Zinsser product. It -it’s a plain wallpaper that’s just white. When I put the Zinsser on, as you can see, it starts to look, um, I think it looks like vellum. Like – like an old – old leather.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use To Paint Over Wallpaper?

Now we’re going to paint the ceiling with just regular ceiling paint and it should work great. I’m using Pro Max 400 which is Sherwin-Williams ceiling paint. I had them tint it with a color match to Cotton Balls which is a Benjamin Moore color.

All right, so I’m gonna just take my roller and get to work here on the ceiling.

Okay I have finished the ceiling. I ended up having to put on about four coats because I really should have put a primer stain blocker on first, but I kind of forgot. This white paint didn’t have as much hide as the last one I did, which was an ivory tinted ceiling paint. It had a lot more hide it and I – I just had that in my memory. But anyway, four coats over the Zinsser Gardz Problem Surface Sealer.

It’s looking pretty good. So let me get up on the ladder and show you up close in case you’re, you know, wondering is this product gonna work for you. Is it gonna seal up your problem and then give you the look you want. I’m happy with the look it gave me. Of course it’s entirely up to you, but let’s get up on the ladder and I’ll show you.

Here is my ceiling up close. You can see, obviously you still see the wallpaper seams. That’s something that I am willing to live with, or my husband is, anyway, for the sake of not disturbing all of that old plaster underneath all of that old wallpaper. There it is over there in the corners. It’s a little wet right there still, which is why it looks a slightly different color. I just did a few last minute touch ups.

I’ll just pan around and you can see. All right, and then I’ll get down and show you from the doorway. This is the effect from standing on the ground.

The overall effect. There it is walking. And now I’m laying down flat on the ground, so you can imagine, you know, if this is your bedroom, and here’s your ceiling. I don’t think that if you didn’t already know that you would guess that there is some gnarly nasty old wallpaper underneath there.

What Is the Best Primer For Painting Over Wallpaper?

Zinsser Gardz Problem Surface Sealer in my opinion is kind of like, don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good kind of solution. Is it the perfect solution? No, left to my own devices I probably would have gone and stripped the paper off that ceiling, come what may, but then I’m not the family plasterer, and the family plasterer said that that was a can of worms he just didn’t want to open because if chunks of plaster fall off the ceiling, well, it’s just really hard to put back. So we went ahead and did it, and I think that it is a good solution, and workable for our family. So if you have some kind of problem surface, I highly recommend this product. It is a little bit like magic.

Two Other Ways To Paint Over Wallpaper

To paint over old wallpaper, you could also use an oil-based primer-sealer and then an oil-based paint over that, according to this article at BobVila.com. But then you’re stuck using smelly, difficult oil-based paint. This article at Architectural Digest says you can use an alkyd primer over wallpaper, and then any type of paint over that alkyd primer.

If you’re more interested in taking wallpaper off, check out my posts, How to Strip Wallpaper with Three Simple Tools and How Hard Is It To Steam Off Wallpaper?

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