Should I Have My Wallpaper Professionally Removed?
Cost to Remove Old Outdated Wallpaper
Removing wallpaper can be a huge pain. The job requires significant time and patience. Even then, sometimes wallpaper is stubborn and does not want to come off. And if the job is done improperly, you can damage your walls.
For those who don’t want to deal with the hassle - or those who don’t have time - you can hire a professional service to remove old wallpaper. Most painting companies also offer wallpaper removal, and pros tend to do the job quickly and neatly.
Methods of Removal
The removal method a professional will use depends on the type of wallpaper, the surface underneath and the preference of the company you hire. Popular methods include:
- Dry-stripping, which only works for strippable wallpaper. Each strip of wallpaper is loosened at the corners with a knife and slowly peeled back. If you’re planning to have the wall painted, a second step is required to remove the adhesive backing. If you’re planning to re-wallpaper, there’s no need.
- Soaking and scraping is the most common removal method for nonstrippable paper (or adhesive that remains after dry-stripping). Warm water and some sort of chemical solution are applied section by section (usually with a paint roller) and allowed to set in. Then a scraper is used to remove paper from that section.
- Steaming - If the wallpaper is especially difficult to remove or there are several layers, a steamer might be used to soften the wallpaper for scraping. However, this method is not as common with professionals these days because the hot water can damage drywall. With plaster walls, this method is safer.
Cost to Remove Wallpaper
The cost to remove wallpaper depends on many varying factors: the amount of wallpaper to be removed, the type of wallpaper, the number of layers of paper, the type and condition of the wall, the configuration of the room and your geographic location.
Wallpaper removal services are priced one of four ways: by the room, by the square foot, by the hour or by the job:
- By the room, budget anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Small rooms such as bathrooms will fall on the low end of that range, while larger rooms such as living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms will cost $800 to $1,500 in most cases. For difficult areas such as stairwells and two-story foyers, budget $1,500 to $2,000.
- By the square foot, most painting contractors charge $1 to $2.
- Hourly and per-job rates vary greatly depending on the difficulty of the job.
Keep in mind that the prices above are purely meant to be guidelines. You could pay more or less depending on the previously mentioned variables - particularly if there are multiple layers of wallpaper to be removed.
Choosing a Contractor
Wallpaper removal requires significant experience and skill. An inexperienced contractor might damage your walls, making the project far more costly and time consuming than it has to be. Here are some tips for finding an experienced, reputable company to do the job.
- Always seek quotes from multiple contractors in your area to compare prices. Throw out any bids that come in unusually high or low. You want a fair price, but companies that bid too low tend to cut corners.
- Do some background research on any company you’re considering. Ask for references and call them. Check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure the company has a website and a legitimate mailing address - fly-by-night companies often do not.
- Find out how long the company has been in business. A company that has been removing wallpaper for 20 years is likely to do a better job than a company that opened for business two weeks ago.
- Always find out how the company charges for its work before signing a contract. If the fee is hourly, ask for an estimate of how many hours the job will take. A contractor won’t be able to give you an exact number, but he or she should be able to provide a reasonable range.
- Make sure the company you hire is fully licensed and insured. Contact your state’s licensing board to confirm that the license is active, and ask to see a copy of the company’s insurance policy.