How to Wallpaper Over Plaster Walls

If you live in an older home, you've already found that plaster walls need different treatment than sheetrock does. One alternative is wallpaper, and it's an effective covering that will last for years. The key to installing wallpaper over plaster walls is proper preparation of the walls before you start to hang the paper.

Step 1

Remove any paneling or old wallpaper that has been applied to the walls. Paneling can be pulled with a small pry bar, being careful to pull all nails afterward. Old wallpaper can be sprayed with a fifty percent mixture of vinegar and water, allowed to set for 15 minutes and peeled off.

Step 2

Wash the walls thoroughly with a household cleaner and allow to dry completely. If you find signs of mold or mildew, wash with a solution of one part bleach to four parts water, allow to sit for 20 minutes, then rinse.

Step 3

Fill in any nail holes with spackle compound and allow to dry.

Step 4

Brush on a coat of stain blocking primer, and dry according to manufacturer's directions (usually 24 hours).

Step 5

Apply a coat of wallpaper sizing to the walls and let dry. Your walls are now ready to wallpaper in the usual manner, according to the paper manufacturer's instructions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Think twice before removing wallpaper from old plaster walls. Sometimes wallpaper was used as a means to hold together old, crumbling plaster. You may have to do major repairs or replace the plaster with drywall if you find a damaged wall beneath the paper.

Things Needed

  • Household cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Spackle compound
  • Primer
  • Wallpaper sizing