My walls have texture on them! Can you hang wallpaper over texture?

March 4, 2018

Texture comes in many forms and thicknesses. There are some that have been applied light enough that you can hang any wallpaper right over them. These tend to be the orange peel type of textures. Then there are some textures that builders like to apply that tend to be a thicker and more course type of texture called knock down texture. You will find this type in newer homes around the Denver Metro area.  Here are some examples of both:






















The texture photo on the left is an example of orange peel texture and the example on the right is called knock down texture. 


In most cases with the orange peel texture, most wallpapers are thick enough to hang right over it without having to prep and skim coat the wall. Knock down is usually one that needs to be skim coated and prepped because wallpapers tend to suck into the wall when they dry. This shows what's underneath. Depending on how thick the wallpaper is or if the pattern on the wallpaper actually looks good with some texture behind it, then you really don't need to skim coat it. Wallpapers with bold stripes with a defined edge to them is a good example of knowing you need to skim coat. 


"So what is skim coating anyway?" You might ask. What is is basically is applying a coat of drywall mud to the wall and then sanding it down to a smooth surface so wallpaper can be hung and look good. "I don't want all that dust in the house. It sounds very messy!" I have a technique that is virtually dust free. The first thing I do is tape off the woodwork and the work space. I apply the drywall mud and let it dry overnight. The next day I come in and knock off my edges with a 6 inch knife and I wet sand the walls with a sponge. leaving very little if no dust. Then I prime it with a primer that dries in a half an hour as I get the wallpaper ready and I can start to hang it that day. It is usually a 2 day process depending on the room size. 


Below is what a skimmed coated and wet sanded wall looks like and the primer I like to use.
























This primer is a zero VOC product that is environmentally safe and water based so there is no smell to it. It always helps to send me pictures of your texture if you are submitting a Quick-Bid and are unsure. You can send them to It would also help to know what wallpaper you are looking at purchasing. I have run into situations where you originally had a dark colored wall, I skim coat it and your new wallpaper is white. Sometimes after wet sanding, the original dark paint color of the wall can show through the now smooth skim coating. This can cause a problem because it will also show through the new white wallpaper. So it helps to let me know so I can bring white primer instead of the one I usually use, RX-35. It dries clear. 


You can also bring in your own drywall person to prep your walls prior to my arrival. Although I know how to skim coat, I would rather be a wallpaper installer. That is my forte. I hope this blog post was helpful as I get a lot of questions about this issue . I also get a lot of surprises when I arrive to hang wallpaper in a room and see some awful texture that is not going to work to hang over. Please let me know if you have any questions about your texture or if you were blessed with reletivly smooth walls.

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Knock down texture
Orange peel texture
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All wallpaper photos on this site are the work of Corbel Interiors