Papering Over Old Wallpaper
Don't be tempted by this decorating shortcut — do it right
Is it okay to paper over existing wallpaper?
Caren, Charleston, West Virginia
Tom Silva replies: I don't like going over anything old, whether it's a roof shingle or wallpaper. Take it off and see what's below. If it has to
be fixed, fix it. Besides, if the first layer of wallpaper isn't flat, it will often telegraph through the new paper.
Remember that if you put wallpaper over drywall without prepping and priming the wall first, you're asking for problems when you take the paper off, because nine times out of ten you're going to take the top layer of drywall off with it. Don't skip the proper preparation thinking you'll finish your project quicker. It doesn't pay off. In your case, if you do have to
leave the old paper in place, go over any high spots in the paper with a
block of wood and sandpaper to sand them down and reduce the
telegraphing through of any textures. Then fill the spots you've created with a joint compound and sand those lightly. Then prep the wall,
prime the bare spots with primer, and paper it.