Although it may seem a viable option, ROMAN does not recommend installing new wallpaper on top of existing wallpaper. The first step in a great installation is proper wall prep. The best way to prepare any wall with existing wallcoverings is by stripping it down to it’s foundation. Experts advise against wallpaper over wallpaper installations for many reasons. The main reason is that you want your new installation to look perfect. The best way to guarantee that result is to completely remove the old wallpaper.
4 Setbacks and Dangers To Be Aware Of
1. Hanging Wallpaper over Existing Wallpaper can Negatively Impact Class A Fire Ratings.Fire ratings are a measure of how well an individual wallcovering resists the spread of flame and smoke. Even though most wallcoverings will burn, if it has a rating of Class A, the speed at which flame and smoke spreads is reduced. A Class A fire rating is the highest rating available.
Specifics on the Meaning of Class AThe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) institutes standards and codes for dealing with fire prevention. NFPA tunnel tests measure how quickly a fire spreads and the progress it makes during the test. Materials with a flame spread index below 25 achieve a Class A rating.
Why a 2nd Layer Can Affect the Paper’s Fire RatingBuilding codes set stringent requirements for fire safety. Installations of new wallpaper over an existing layer are unlikely to meet these safety standards.
2. Every Inch of the Existing Wall Needs To Be Inspected.While you may be tempted to give a casual glance at the condition of the old wallpaper and determine that there are no glaring discrepancies that will keep you from covering it over, if you are not careful, this could lead to failure of the new install. Applying new adhesive to existing wallpaper may cause the old, dried adhesive to rewet. This can cause the existing paper to bubble and peel. Additionally, the existing installation may have bubbles or other imperfections that are difficult to see. However, when new material is installed over the existing layer, these imperfections can be magnified by the new pattern.
3. Many Wallpapers are Non-PorousTwo of the most popular types of wallpaper are solid-vinyl and vinyl-coated. These materials are non-porous. In a typical installation, wallpaper adhesive can absorb into the drywall to dry. In a wallpaper over wallpaper installation, the adhesive is sealed between two non-porous layers. This can slow the drying process and cause bubbling in the new layer.
4. Summary Of Concerns
- Wallpaper over wallpaper installations can void a Class A fire rating
- Existing imperfections can be highlighted with the application of new layer of material.
- Moisture can become trapped between layers, causing bubbles.