Two of my kids bedrooms have old vinyl wallpaper and I would like to paint them instead, but do I have to strip off

all the old paper first before painting. (Karen Mulligan, Dalkey)

If your wallpaper is in reasonable condition and not falling off, you can paint on top of it any colour you like without going through the messy and tiring process of stripping the whole thing off. (If it is a bit loose in places, stick it back on properly with the relevant wallpaper paste) Wash the lot first then something like Mangers Sugar Soap and when completely dry, pick up some Prep-A-Wall in one of the specialised paint stores and you’re ready to go. Prep-A-Wall is a really great solution for this specific situation. This is also a great solution if you wish to repaint old gloss painted wallpaper or ceilings where it also works a treat. It is painted right on top of your old wallpaper and gives a tight bond for any subsequent paint job. Keep in mind whether you will want to wash the paint surface later on, vis, viz washable paint.