Can I Paper Over Existing Lining Paper?

If you want to hang brand-new wallpaper minus the expense and time, you might be asking yourself: Can I paper over existing lining paper?

It's a question that's divided the DIY community for years. While some experts believe it's best to start fresh, others choose to reuse lining paper as long as it's in good condition.

With a wealth of information out there, it's easy to get confused. Thankfully, we're here to help. Keep reading as we answer your most pressing questions, including:

  • Papering over existing lining paper: Is it a good idea?
  • How do I remove existing lining paper?
  • How do I hang new lining paper?
  • What grade of lining paper should I use?

Papering over existing lining paper: Is it a good idea?

When deciding whether to hang wallpaper over existing lining paper, you should first check the lining paper's condition. Is it intact and scuff-free? Are there any loose joints or peeling corners? If there's a lot of damage, you'll need to remove the existing lining paper and hang fresh sheets before wallpapering.

However, you might be able to reuse the existing lining paper if there's only superficial wear and tear. Before wallpapering, apply a watered-down emulsion like PVA glue onto your lining paper. This will allow you to smooth out bubbles and stick down loose edges. 

The emulsion also creates a protective barrier between your new wallpaper and existing lining paper, preventing old grime from leaching into the wallpaper. Once you've done this, you might need to fill holes with a premium sealant and sand the surface for a plaster-like finish.

If you're using this shortcut, the key is in the preparation. You still have to make sure your walls are in the best possible condition before decorating. Otherwise, your wallpaper might split, bleed or shrink. You can find more wallpapering tips on our blog.

Of course, there are plenty of benefits to cutting your losses and starting over. Mint condition lining paper will always deliver a smoother and more absorbent surface for adhesion. Plus, old lining paper collects dirt over the years, leading to discolouration and an unpleasant, musty smell.

How do I remove existing lining paper?

Removing existing lining paper is a painstaking task, but it's often better to commit rather than risk a poor DIY job. The most important thing is to be gentle – you don't want to damage the plaster. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Begin by lightly scoring the lining paper with a scraper.
  • Next, soak the paper in warm soapy water or a mild sugar soap solution to make it pliable.
  • After around ten minutes, it'll be ready to remove with a filling knife.
  • You might need to resoak patches several times for a clean finish. Diluted fabric cleaner is an excellent solution for extra-stubborn areas.

Some people prefer to use a perforator and steamer instead. If you're doing this, just be mindful because too much heat can cause the plaster to crack. 

A perforator is a kind of spiked roller that's helpful when removing paper-based wallpaper. It breaks up the surface, letting soapy water or steam permeate the layers more easily. The trick is to work in quick, rolling motions. Start horizontally, then repeat vertically and diagonally to ensure thorough coverage. Apply pressure gently to avoid marking the wall. Then lightly steam the walls to lift the existing lining paper.

How do I hang new lining paper?

Hanging new lining paper is easy with an innovative paste the wall lining paper. With this method, you don't have to soak heavy paper sheets. You simply apply the adhesive to your walls using a roller beforehand.

Paste the wall lining paper prioritises simplicity, making it the perfect choice for novice DIYers. There's no need to worry about expansion, shrinkage and air bubbles because the process is quicker. When you don't have to handle the paper so much, you can move continuously and efficiently for an immaculate finish.

For complete instructions on hanging lining paper, visit our complete step-by-step guide. We cover materials, tools and techniques in more detail to give your renovation a professional edge.

What grade of lining paper should I use?

If you need to hang new lining paper, choosing the correct weight and thickness is crucial. This is called a grade – the higher the grade, the heavier the lining paper.

800 and 1000 grade lining papers are ideal for walls that need a minimal touch-up. They are ultra-thin and lightweight, making them brilliantly manoeuvrable for fumbling fingers. Despite their flexibility, they easily disguise hairline cracks and minor blemishes. If you're tackling more noticeable flaws, opt for 1200 and 1400 grade papers instead.

Remember, lining paper isn't a replacement for plastering. Severe or structural damage needs to be taken care of before the work starts.

Find high-quality lining paper to supercharge your DIY projects

To summarise, you can wallpaper over existing lining paper as long as it's fully intact, in relatively good condition and clean. Using the PVA glue method will reveal any blemishes that need fixing before hanging your peaceful wall mural or brand-new wallpaper.

If you need to remove existing lining paper, simply follow the tips and tricks above. The process can be time-consuming, but it'll be well worth the flawless finish. Of course, you could always draft in a professional to save the extra steps.

All that's left to do is find the right lining paper. We have an extensive collection of products to suit all wall conditions. From featherweight to heavy-duty grades, there's an option to hide a multitude of sins. 

Paste the wall lining paper is the best option for time strapped DIYers, but we also stock standard lining papers for unbeatable choice. Best of all, we offer free next day delivery on orders over £100 to mainland UK addresses and a price match guarantee. What more could you want?

If you have any questions, why not visit our lining paper FAQs? Alternatively, you can contact our team by emailing or calling 0800 009 6474.

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