Notes on interior painting and wallpaper removal

Last modified: Sun Jun 2 10:22:25 EDT 2019

Wallpaper removal



Unpainting (when there is paint where it should not be)

Time is of the essence.  The longer it dries, the harder it is to remove.

Masking tape removal

Sometimes, if the paint is dry but not yet cured, you can remove masking tape without tearing the topcoat.  If it works, then great.  Often, however, you can't.  Primer seems to make it worse.

There are two methods of removing masking tape without risk of tearing the paint coating:

  1. The wet method:  Remove the masking tape while the paint is still wet but no longer flowing.  Then retape everything if you need to do another coat.
  2. The dry method:  Let the paint dry, then run a utility knife along the edge before pulling off the tape.

When dealing with wallpaper borders, even the "delicate" blue tape must be removed cautiously to avoid ripping the wallpaper.


The old line about can't put water-based paint over oil-based paint is generally hogwash, but anything that isn't completely cured when you topcoat it can cause problems.  I put this primer (which worked fine everywhere else) over this paintable caulk (which I'd never used before) and it utterly failed to adhere.  Days later, the dried paint was sticky and came off on my finger, and the caulk seemed putty-like.

Pure silicone caulk is incompatible with water-based paint or primer.  Preferably it would never end up somewhere that needs to be painted, but if it already has, you can roughen the surface, smear it with oil-based primer, and then topcoat with anything.