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how do I paint over foil wallpaper

how do I paint over foil wallpaper

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Posted 2013-12-03T21:07:04+0000  by rsgmjake rsgmjake

I'm sorry to learn of your problem rsgmjake!


Foil wallpaper is one of those trick surfaces, often installed in bathrooms and designed to repel water ... which also repels the opportunity to use a steamer or most other methods of removal that include moisture.


Moisture is the key to re-wetting the water-based adhesive behind the paper ... ultimately the key to removal.


When encountering this dilemma, I most often recommend attending to the seams with wallpaper adhesive and leaving it up.


Some choose to struggle with removal by scraper, which damages the wall so badly that you must skim-coat the entire surface.


One actual solution might be repair sheetrock ... 1/4th inch thick and simply installed over the existing wall, seamed, sanded, and painted.


The trick with this repair is using electrical box extension to move your outlets and faceplates 1/4th inch out from their existing position.


The downside is you can't do the same for your door and window trim ... leaving only 1/4th inch of that trim exposed rather than the standard 1/2-inch.


Either way, you've got one of those really hard to fix repairs.


Let's hope that others on The Community have a secret solution that they'll share!


Follow up and let us know how you proceed.



Posted 2013-12-03T21:33:39+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL


It is not impossible to remove foil paper. The secret is to score through the impermiable outer foil layer to reveal the paper underneath. DON'T use a "Paper Tiger" perforrating tool. This gadget can make thousands of punctures in the drywall paper itself and result in damage to the drywall by allowing moisture to enter the drywall itself.


Use very course sandpaper, at least 36 grit, to score through the foil. The sandpaper will not damage the drywall. You do not have to get all the way to the underlying wallboard, merely break through the foil. The more thoroughly scratched, the better! Once the foil is breached, the wallpaper removing is similar to any other type paper. Lots of water and lots of patience. Damage usually occurs when the homeowner gets impatient and starts picking at the paper before the paste has adequately softened.


After the paper comes down, the walls need to be washed to remove the residual paste, Cellulose pastes are clear and difficult to see. It is slimey when wet and can its presence can be felt with the hands.


After any neccesaary patching, it is always a good idea to completely prime the walls. It is actually a good idea to spot prime patches first, then give a general primeing.

Posted 2013-12-04T17:32:44+0000  by ordjen

That is one creative way to take down foil wallpaper Ordjen!


Sounds like it will work.


I particularly like your caution about preventing damage to the sheetrock underneath.



Online, you will also find paintable wallpaper.


This product could be installed over your existing paper and then painted.


Ensure that this product will adhere by testing a small spot before attempting the entire room.

Posted 2013-12-05T13:41:51+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL


Over a slick foil surface, an oil  primer or a vinyl based pre-wallpaper bonding agent is definitely advisable, especially in a high humidity area such a bathroom with shower. The same holds true for papering over existing wallpapers. Most wallpapers have a vinyl coating to which pastes won't adhere. It may look like it is adhereing, but the next morning you might well find it all on the floor!


There are special pastes for putting borders over the underlying wallpaper. These should never be used directly to a wall surface, as they are very similar to Elmer's Glue and are virtually not water soluble. If used directly to painted drywall, they become almost impossible to remove.


Given my "druthers",  I always try to get back to the original surface.  Some effort now is often rewarded down the line in not limiting options. Many years ago, when I bought my first house, even though it was already four years old, I went over all the walls, that still had builder's paint on them, with a primer and coat of low sheen oil enamel , knowing that eventually all the walls would get wallcoverings.  I was in that house for 30 years and some of those walls had their wallpaper changed 2 or 3 times. Every time I had to remove that wallcovering, I thought "thank God I sealed these walls!" The paper would practically fall off the wall and the paste would just wipe off with a sponge!  "An ounce (or pound) of prevention" was worth a pound of cure!

Posted 2013-12-05T18:36:17+0000  by ordjen
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