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How Much Does Wallpaper Removal Cost?
A lot of variables affect the total cost of removing wallpaper. Although most professionals will try to include these variables into their estimate, they cannot foresee every issue.
Many are obvious, such as the number of layers of wallpaper, vaulted ceilings that will require special ladders or scaffolding, tight spaces like bathrooms, and others. Some unexpected matters are not as clear without further inspection.
Harmful chemicals, such as asbestos, arsenic, lead, and others could be hiding within the paper, the primer, or the adhesive used to hold it in place, particularly in wallpapers that pre-date the 1980s. Some of these unhealthy or downright deadly chemicals could cause the contractor to shut down your project until professionals can contain the hazard.
If you have an older home, always get your wallpaper professionally tested before removal to avoid this potential outcome.
If hazardous materials are present, specific cleanup procedures must be completed by professionals. Therefore, it could add hundreds of dollars to your wallpaper removal project before you can hang new wallpaper or apply paint.
However, without special conditions or preparation, wallpaper removal usually costs $1 to $5 per square foot. Most homeowners pay $400 to $1,200 per room to have wallpaper removed, though the national average is $800.
Wallpaper Removing Procedures
There are several methods to remove wallpaper, and the process used, as well as the equipment needed, will affect the price you will pay. Most DIY and even professionals use three basic methods of removal or a variation of stripping, steaming, or saturating and scraping.
Stripping is the most uncomplicated method of removing wallpaper because of the ease of removal and cleanup. It will typically cost $0.75 to $1.75 per square foot.
Therefore, you can figure about $95 to $220 to remove 125 square feet of wallpaper. If you are unfamiliar with determining a room or wall square footage, consider our square foot calculator.
This method of removing wallpaper uses an electric steamer. The wallpaper is perforated with small holes, and the steamer softens the adhesive to loosen the wallpaper panels.
Usually, the wallpaper will just strip right off after that. The cost for steaming is about $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot, though the contractor might charge more to rent the machine.
Saturating & Scraping Wallpapers
This procedure is often the most labor-intensive and costs between $3 and $10 per square foot. When the wallpaper can’t be stripped or steamed, it might require scraping.
You or your contractor will have to perforate and saturate the wallpaper strips with a treatment, and let it soak in for a while to loosen the adhesive. Then, a putty knife or scraper is used to peel it off the wall.
Some wallpaper glues may become stronger with age. When this happens, scraping may be the only way to remove the old wallpaper. Depending on how old and how strong that glue is, it can become a time-intensive and expensive project.
Contractor or Handyman?
The question of whether to use a contractor or a handyman/woman is generally a personal choice. A handyman usually charges less than a contractor because, in many states, there is no requirement to have a state license.
However, when using a handyman, the answer usually comes down to experience. No matter who you hire, though, it would be wise to check their references and make sure they have the required equipment and liability insurance.
Whichever professional you use to remove wallpaper, it is advisable to get a minimum of three estimates, check their recommendations and credentials, and compare not only the price but what they say they will do for that price. To avoid paying for estimates, use our free estimate locator to find proficient wallpaper professionals near you.
If you’re installing new wallpaper, you might also be interested in our wallpaper calculator to estimate your materials.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.