Do I Need to Prime My Walls before Wallpapering?

Is priming a necessary before wallpapering, or can you just skip this part? Primer is considered as an essential part of wallpapering, but it also takes some time which makes people wonder if it is okay to hang wallpaper without applying primer first. In this article, we will discuss the importance of priming walls when wallpapering and whether or not you can skip this step.

Do I need to prime my walls before wallpapering? It is recommended that walls should be primed before adding wallpaper. Priming provides an even surface for the wallpaper so that it sticks perfectly. Aside from that, priming helps seal the wall’s surface so that paste will not go through the material of the wall. When you prime a wall, it helps adhesion which makes it easy for wallpaper to stick into any type of wall surface.

Why prime your walls before wallpapering? What is wallpaper primer? Why is wallpaper primer necessary? What primer is used for wallpaper? These are some of the questions that we will discuss. Read the rest of the article below to find out more about wall priming and why it important when it comes to wallpapering.

Do I need to prime my walls before wallpapering
Image by MellaViews from Pixabay

What is Wallpaper Primer?

Wallpaper primer is applied into the wall to provide an even surface that is important for wallpapering. For walls that are made of basic paper drywall, oil-based primers can be used. On the other hand, acrylic primers should be used if you decide to hang new wallpaper over an existing wall covering. Do not use oil-based product on existing wall covering because oils can dissolve the old pigments. This can cause the pigments to bleed through the new surface of the wall.

Why Prime Your Walls Before Wallpapering?

Priming your walls before wallpapering is important because it provides a barrier between the wallpaper and the wall. This will also make sure that the wallpaper will stick to the coat of primer and not to the wall. Moreover, putting primer is important if the walls have been painted because it will make sure that the wallpaper will not peel off or have other issues.

While it is important to prime bare or painted walls before adding wallpaper, a lot of people usually skip this step. DIYers or homeowners skip priming for many reasons which include saving time. Because of this they often discover issues like air bubbles on the wallpaper. Take note that adding primer does not only make it easier for the wallpaper to be installed, but it also makes it easier to remove later on.

Why is Wallpaper Primer Necessary?

Wallpaper primer is necessary because it provides quality and long-lasting results. This step is often skipped by a lot of homeowners without knowing the consequences of wallpapering a wall without priming it first. Wallpaper primer will make sure that the wallpaper sticks into the wall without damaging it. There is a wide array of wallpaper primers that are available on the market. Make sure that you choose a product according to the type of wallpaper that you will use and the surface of wall that you have. Below are some of the reasons why wallpaper primer is necessary.

It Protects the Wall

Adding primer before wallpapering is important because it protects the wall. The primer creates a barrier between the wallpaper and the wall so that the glue will not damage the wall. For instance, if your do not prime a drywall, the gypsum material in the drywall will stick to the glue which makes wallpaper hard to remove without causing damage to the wall. We have also shared this article that discusses if wallpaper is bad for walls. Check out the article to find out the disadvantages of installing wallpaper in your walls. We also shared tips on how to prevent wallpaper damage.

It Blocks Color

Priming is also necessary if you do not want the colors from a painted wall to bleed through the new wallpaper that you will install. This can be an issue when you hang new wallpaper into an existing one or if the wall has been painted. Without primer, the colors from the existing wallpaper or paint will bleed through the new wallpaper.

How to Prime Walls

There are steps that you need to follow when applying primer into the wall which includes preparing and washing the wall first. Make sure to read and follow the directions that are specified on the wallpaper roll. Below are the steps on how to prime walls.

Step 1 – Prepare the Wall

Before anything else, make sure that you prepare the wall before priming which includes smoothing the surface. Remove any nails or screws on the wall and also fill cracks, spots, and holes on the surface. After filling the cracks and holes, make sure to sand it so that it is smooth and even.

Step 2 – Clean the Wall

The next step is to clean the wall. Give the wall a good washing with the use of multi-purpose cleaner and warm water. Make sure that it is completely dry before you add the primer.

Step 3 – Apply Primer

Once the wall has been prepared and cleaned, you can apply the primer. Usually, the type of primer that can be used is specified in the wallpaper that you have purchased. If it is not stated, you can get in touch with the manufacturer and inquire about primer that you can use. While acrylic based primer is a popular choice, bear in mind that there are some surfaces that are best suited for specific types of primers. We have also shared this article that discusses if you can wallpaper over damp walls. Check out the article for more information about the topic.

✅ Video – To Prime or Not to Prime Walls before Wallpaper

Spencer Colgan Wallpaper & Painting shared the video below on YouTube. In the video, the importance of priming a wall before wallpapering is discussed. Check out the video below for more information on how to prime a wall.

What Primer Should I Use for Wallpaper?

Use oil-based primers for wallpapers. Avoid using latex because the product contains water that can go through the wallpaper and cause air bubbles. Oil-based primers can properly seal the surface as compared to latex primers. This prevents stains from going through the wallpaper.

What If the Wall is Not Primed?

If the wall is not primed, moisture can be an issue. Moisture is present in the wall which can seep through the wallpaper. Aside from that, the ambient moisture that comes from the home and the glue that is used to hang the wallpaper can cause issues for walls that are not primed. Take note that priming the wall is the final step that needs to be done before wallpaper can be added. Skipping this step will not only cause the edges of the wallpaper to peel off, but it can also cause warping, stains, and tears.

Can I Wallpaper without Priming?

It is possible to wallpaper without priming, but it is not recommended. Without priming, all the work that you have done to apply the wallpaper can easily go to waste because the result is not durable and long-lasting. Priming is an important step when adding wallpaper and should be done properly. Hence, even if you can still hang wallpaper without priming, it is best that you spend time and effort in completing this step to have a quality result.

How Long Does Wallpaper Primer Take to Dry?

How long it takes for the primer to dry will have to depend on various factors which include the moisture level and ventilation in the room. Usually, it takes about one to two hours for the primer to completely dry. To determine if the coat of primer is dry, you can touch it with your finger. The primer has a clear color when dried.

Wallpaper Primer for Drywall

For drywall that have never been sealed or painted, you can use alkyd primer. Two coats of this primer on the surface of the drywall will do the job. Applying primer will make sure that the wallpaper is easy to remove. Allow the primer to dry for about two hours before applying clear acrylic primer for the best results.

Can I Use White Paint Instead of Primer?

Do not use white paint as an alternative to primer because it is not effective as compared to a quality primer. The main purpose of using a primer is to make sure that the paint particles are bound together so that they have a smooth finish. White paint alone cannot do this.

Why use Oil Base Primer?

Using oil-base primer will make sure that the wallpaper will adhere effectively and for a long time. The primer prevents wallpaper glue from absorbing into the surface of the wall. This prevents damages to the wall and also makes sure that the wallpaper stays in place for a long time. You can also check out this article titled, how do I choose wallpaper? We have shared tips and ideas on how to choose the best wallpaper for your walls.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses if you need to prime walls before wallpapering. It is strongly recommend that you prime walls before installing wallpaper. Applying primer to the wall will make sure that the wallpaper will stick properly and is easier to remove later on. We have also shared tips on how to prime walls. We hope that this article has helped you learn more about primers and their importance when it comes to wallpapering. Thank you for reading!

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