Can You Wallpaper Over Plasterboard? All The Answers

You may have got the hang of DIY projects, but when it comes to wallpapers, things might become a bit tricky. Wallpapers are an easy way to renovate your house. You can fit a wallpaper around a window, paint over wallpaper or even add a new one over the existing wallpaper. But the problem is, what can you do if you have plasterboards? Can you wallpaper over them?

A close up of someone putting on wallpaper on a wall

Shortly the answer is YES! However, you need to size the walls with wallpaper paste, let it dry, paste it once more and then hang the paper. Remember to tape the joints of the plasterboard first. Otherwise, they will tear the paper. But, more questions arise when it comes to wallpapering over plasterboard. Let’s have a look at all of them.

What plasterboard is 

Plasterboard, also known as drywall, is gypsum mixed with water and spread between two sheets of paper. It is used for interior walls and ceilings and is available mainly in two thicknesses – 9.5mm and 12.5mm. The front side of the plasterboard wall is usually white, and you can paint it or even install wallpaper. An important advantage of this type is that it is noise and humidity resistant.

Pros

  • It can be painted over.
  • It is fire-resistant.
  • There are available different sizes and types to choose from.
  • It’s easier to repair.
  • It doesn’t need sanding.
  • It is more stable than plaster.
  • It provides sound and temperature insulation.
  • It is strong enough to hang shelves and frames.
  • This wall type is less expensive to install.

Cons

  • Installing plasterboard isn’t a job you can do on your own due to its weight. You will need someone to help you with.
  • If you don’t install it correctly, the joints between the sheets will be visible.
  • While installing it, a mess (a lot of mess) will be created. Thus, be prepared!
  • The installation process is a bit complicated. You have to measure the area, cut the pieces and then install them on the wall studs. But you need to be precise.
  • It’s not as durable as plaster.
  • This wall isn’t water and moisture resistant. Hence, if you intend to install it in your bathroom, just give up on the idea.
  • It isn’t as flexible as plaster. It won’t be able to bend it to get the desired result.

Pick the right type of wallpaper

There are many different types of wall covering. Some of the most popular ones are the following:

Rolls of vinyl wallpapers

  1. Liner wallpaper: Also known as lining paper, is made from paper or fibreglass. It is easy to apply and remove.
  2. Printed Wallpaper: It’s available in a plethora of colours and patterns. It’s a digitally-printed wall covering cheaper than hand-printed. Its main con is that the ink is water-based, thus don’t use it in the kitchen or the bathroom. 
  3. Vinyl wallpaper: This consists of printed paper covered with layered vinyl. It’s very durable and can be used in any room, including the kitchen and bathroom. Its major advantage is that it can be washed.
  4. Bamboo wallpaper: This is handmade from natural bamboo, glued to paper. It’s environmentally friendly and available in a variety of hues. The main problems are that it isn’t washable and during installation needs special and delicate treatment as the adhesives can damage it.

Prime before applying wallpaper

Installing wallpaper depends on whether you have bare drywall or not. You can’t install wallpaper directly on the bare drywall. You need to prime it first properly. Otherwise, your wall will be seriously damaged

A close up of sanded plaster

Priming is the same as painting plaster walls. Get a wallpaper primer and apply it to the entire wall using paintbrushes or a roller. You just need to ensure that the product is primer-sealer in one. A drywall sealer will protect your wall from the paper adhesive. The panelling needs to be separated from the adhesive. Otherwise, removing the wallpaper won’t be easy, and you are likely to damage the wall.

If the plasterboard is already painted with basic flat paint, you still need to prime and seal your wall surface, as you would do with painted walls.

Sealing the new plasterboard

New plasterboard walls are usually without a protective coat of plaster. That’s why they need to be prepared first before installing wallpaper. The first thing you have to do is to seal the surface before you install the wallpaper.

Sealing the new drywall will make it less absorbent and help the topcoat adhere better. A usual way to seal it is with water down emulsion, also known as mist coat. The new plaster will suck up the water and become less absorbent

FAQ

1. Do I need to seal the plasterboard with PVA?

Many experts don’t recommend using PVA glue to seal your plaster, as the paint you will apply later will sit on top of it.

2. Do I have to put PVA on the plasterboard?

It doesn’t require any PVA applied. However, you can apply, especially if the plasterboard is old. 

3. How can I take wallpaper off the drywall?

If you want to take the paper off at some point in the future, you should undercoat the whole wall with an oil-based undercoat first. The undercoat will seal the wall. Therefore, when you decide to remove the wallpaper, it will come off easily, without any flaking of the plasterboard. If you want to know more about taking wallpaper off a wall, we got your back. Check how to strip wallpaper the right way.

4. Do I need to prime plasterboard before skimming?

If you are going to plaster over the board, there’s no need in using a filler to fill the screw holes if you dot and dab. First, fix the self-adhesive scrim to the wall and then apply a skim coat over it. 

5. Do I need to mist coat the plasterboard?

Add or sand off the filler as required. Then apply a mist coat of the emulsion paint you will use. If you want, you can apply a second coat with undiluted emulsion.

6. How can I seal torn plasterboard paper?

Seal the wall with a thick coat of oil or shellac primer-sealer. Shake the can or stir material first to mix it and then apply two thick coats with a brush.

Putting wallpaper on a wall
If you wonder if you can wallpaper over plasterboard, the answer is YES, you can. But, there are a few things you need to do first to get the desired result. You have to prime and seal it first and then hang wallpaper. Otherwise, you will spend money and time repairing or even replacing your plasterboard.

 

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