Can You Paint Over Wallpaper Glue?
Redecorating a room can be a fun and satisfying experience, giving you the chance to put your artistic abilities to the test. However, when certain obstacles and pitfalls are present, that fun and satisfying experience can turn sour real fast.
One of the biggest examples of this is when your redecorating project involves painting over a wall that was previously covered with wallpaper.
When you have completed the laborious task of removing the wallpaper you find large splotches of wallpaper glue still on the wall. The question is, do you have to remove that glue residue, or can you paint over wallpaper glue?
The General Consensus
If you take the time to research the subject you will find that almost every single source will tell you that wallpaper glue must be removed in its ENTIRETY. You won’t find any subtlety in this debate.
No-one will tell you that removing most of the glue is good enough. Basically, the general consensus is that if you don’t remove every molecule of the glue you will wind up regretting it.
The main reason for this is that the glue used for wallpaper is usually water based. This means that when it comes into contact with any water, including water based paint, it will reactivate, no matter how dry or how old it is.
This will result in the glue bubbling in places, as well as the paint not actually adhering to the wall where the glue is present.
Eventually any painted area with glue will chip away, or simply look distorted or smudged. Thus, even though painting over dry glue may seem like a safe enough idea, it is actually the worst thing you could possibly do.
Fortunately, there are several solutions that will enable you to overcome this dilemma.
Using Paint Primers and Sealants
There are some paint primers and sealants that actually claim to solve the problem of painting over wallpaper glue without having to remove it.
These products are the latest and greatest results of sealant technology, promising to deliver in ways that previous products could never hope to.
Several of these sealants are designed to penetrate porous surfaces, thereby preventing the common issue of walls ‘soaking up’ coat after coat of paint. This is particularly helpful with older walls which have become extremely dry over time.
However, in this case the important feature of these sealants is that they create a hard surface, forming an impenetrable barrier between the paint and the underlying wall, including any glue or other residue on the wall.
In essence, these products promise to deal with the issue of reactivating the glue without it affecting the paint in any way shape or form.
Should you choose to take this approach you only have to follow the instructions on the sealant, which usually includes cleaning all surfaces well before application. You will also need to allow the primer to dry for as long as 24 hours before you begin painting.
Wallpaper Glue Removal Techniques
What makes most people choose to try to paint over wallpaper glue in the first place is that they find it almost impossible to remove. This is usually because many people try to remove the glue in a dry state.
Unfortunately, this is when the glue is at its strongest, meaning that it is very difficult to remove and may actually cause damage to the drywall as a result.
Fortunately, there are several wallpaper glue removal techniques that are quick and easy, and best of all they won’t cost you anything at all.
Dish soap technique
This technique is used by scores of professional painters around the world. It is considered highly effective and requires no additional chemicals or other products. The steps for using this technique are as follows:
- Clean the surface with a damp sponge or cloth, removing any dust and particles.
- Mix a few drops of dish soap into a gallon of warm water.
- Apply the solution to any areas with glue using a sponge. Be sure to soak the area well.
- Use a putty knife to scrape off the glue once it has become soft and malleable.
- Go over the area again with an abrasive sponge to smooth the surface and further remove any glue residue.
- A tip is to do this on small areas of the wall, no larger than about five feet at a time. This will ensure that the glue doesn’t start to harden before you get to scraping it off.
The vinegar technique is another homemade remedy used by numerous painters and carpenters around the world. The premise is the same as the dish soap technique, using a mix of water and vinegar to reactivate the glue, thereby making it easier to remove.
The steps are as follows:
- Clean the surface with a damp sponge or cloth.
- Mix 1 gallon of hot water with 1 gallon of vinegar.
- Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the mix.
- Apply the solution liberally to any glue patches with a sponge.
- Use a scraper to remove the glue, going over the spaces again with an abrasive sponge.
- Perform on small sections of wall, ensuring that the glue is soft and easy to remove.
While there are primers designed to allow you to paint over wallpaper glue the simple truth is that you won’t be saving any time or effort by using them. In fact, they can require more time and effort, as well as more money.
Therefore, the best solution is to use the home remedies developed by the professionals. This will save you all sorts of time, effort and money.
If you want to go the extra mile, however, you can always combine techniques, using a glue removal technique in addition to the professional sealant. This will guarantee the best results for any painting project.