Guides and Tips

How much does wallpaper removal cost?

December 12, 2023
How much does wallpaper removal cost

Removing wallpaper is a transformative process that can breathe new life into your home. However, it’s a lengthy process, and that’s why many homeowners choose to hire a pro to do this job. 

The cost of having your wallpaper removed averages around $786, with a range between $420 and $1,190. 

For a better assessment of the potential cost of wallpaper removal, here’s a thorough explanation of the factors that affect the overall expense and additional costs that may arise in the process.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Wallpaper Removal

Location

Foyer

Foyer

Wallpaper removal in entryways and foyers can be expensive due to high ceilings and built-in features, such as columns and intricate molding. This requires extra care and time, which can increase the cost of the project.

Living Room

Living Room

Your living room may have larger wall expanses, intricate designs, or higher ceilings that can affect both labor and material costs. 

Some furniture may even be difficult to move, and there might be multiple or vintage wallpaper layers.

Bedroom

Bedroom

Built-in furniture, doors, windows, and closets can complicate wallpaper removal in the bedroom, which can increase the overall cost.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Wallpaper removal in kitchens can be complicated. 

This area of the house has lots of challenges you have to deal with, such as grease, mold, and water-resistant wallpapers. It might also be hard for the contractor to move around appliances, insets, and cabinets.

Bathroom

Bathroom

Water-resistant wallpapers are common in bathrooms. 

Specialized techniques and materials may be needed for successful removal in this area. There might even be molds and the need to remove fixtures like bathtubs, which can increase the overall cost.

Attic

Attic

Attics can be very challenging because of sloped ceilings and limited accessibility.

Wallpaper Type

Wallpaper Type
TypeCost per Sq. Ft.
Strippable Wallpaper$0.75 to $1.50
Porous Wallpaper$1 to $2
Nonporous Wallpaper$1.50 to $2.50
  1. Strippable Wallpaper – Strippable wallpaper can be easily detached and only leaves a small amount of adhesive when removed. The cost of removing such material is between $0.75 and $1.50 per sq. ft.
  1. Porous Wallpaper – Porous wallpaper has tiny pores that can easily absorb liquid. It can easily be removed by simply spraying liquid to soften it and loosen the glue.

Removal of this type of wallpaper may cost around $1 to $2 per sq. ft.

  1. Nonporous Wallpaper – The most expensive wallpaper to remove is the nonporous wallpaper, which costs around $1.50 to $2.50 per sq. ft.

It’s the easiest to identify since it has the most elaborate decor but is the hardest to remove. You will first have to create small cuts on its surface before soaking it with chemical removers for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Area Size

Area Size

The size of the area, particularly room dimensions, is a key factor in the overall cost of wallpaper removal. 

Larger rooms or expanses of wallpaper may naturally incur higher costs. Contractors often charge per square foot, $0.60 to $3 depending on how easy it is to remove the wallpaper, so accurately measuring the space, including the room size, is important.

They may also charge by the hour ranging between $30 to $40.

Materials

Materials

The materials needed for removing wallpaper may include scrapers, wallpaper strippers, scoring tools, and rental equipment for steaming and higher ceilings. These may cost between $50 and $100.

Wall Type

Plaster

Plaster

Removing wallpaper from plaster walls is generally quicker since plaster doesn’t absorb water as much, so it reduces the risk of oversoaking and damage. 

However, plaster is more delicate and susceptible to gouging or crumbling, which means it needs careful handling to avoid costly repairs.

Drywall

Drywall

Homeowners with drywall should inquire if their contractor is experienced in wallpaper removal from drywall, as it can be a challenging task. 

If there’s a primer on the drywall beneath the wallpaper, it can significantly ease the removal process since it can prevent moisture damage. 

If the drywall lacks primer, the cost per square foot for wallpaper removal may be higher than that for plaster. 

Unprimed drywall absorbs moisture quickly and can make the wallpaper removal process more difficult and risk damage to the drywall.

Removal Method

Dry Stripping

Dry Stripping

Dry stripping involves peeling off the wallpaper without using moisture or chemicals. 

This method costs around $0.80 to $1.00 per square foot. This can only be done if the walls were primed before the wallpapers were installed.

Steaming

Steaming

Steaming involves using hot water to apply heat and moisture to the wallpaper, which makes it easier to peel off. 

This method costs $1 to $3 per square foot and is effective for stubborn or multiple layers of wallpaper. 

While steaming may take longer than dry stripping, it can be gentler on the walls and can reduce the need for extensive repairs. 

Soaking and Scraping

Soaking and Scraping

The soaking and scraping wallpaper removal method typically costs between $3 and $8 per square foot

In this process, contractors make small cuts on the wallpaper, apply a chemical solvent, and scrape off the wet wallpaper. 

This method is a last resort for very old wallpaper on un-primed walls and effectively dissolves multiple layers of painted wallpaper or those with excessive adhesive or plaster. 

It’s a labor-intensive work that’s suitable for both porous and nonporous wallpapers. 

After wallpaper removal, contractors clean adhesive residue and assess the need for a new skim coat of putty or plaster to ensure a smooth finish after sanding.

Age

Removing old wallpaper, even if it appears to be peeling, can be challenging. Despite the lack of modern adhesives, the glues can stick very tightly to the walls. 

Removing them can be difficult and labor-intensive, especially if previous residents of the house attempted to seal loose edges with glues that are not intended for walls.

Wallpaper Layers

Some homeowners don’t bother removing old wallpaper before they install new ones. Since it does make removal even more difficult, this will incur more labor charges.

Additional Costs That May Be Incurred

Room Preparation & Cleanup

Room Preparation & Cleanup

Clearing the room of furniture and belongings is essential for easy access to walls and to protect items from potential damage during the removal process. 

You also need to safeguard the flooring to prevent damage from moisture, adhesives, or falling debris. After removal, proper cleanup is also needed to ensure the space is left in a tidy condition. 

All this work adds extra fees to the overall cost.

Asbestos Removal

Asbestos Removal

If your wallpaper was installed or manufactured between 1940 and 1980, there’s a possibility that your wallpaper has asbestos. 

Since exposure to this can cause health risks, it’s best to have a professional test your home for it, which costs $250 to $850. If detected, asbestos removal costs $5 to $15 per square foot

Wall Repairs

Wall Repairs

Walls can be damaged during wallpaper removal. 

This will have to be repaired, like filling holes and cracks and sanding, before painting or installing new wallpaper, which will take more time and therefore increase the overall cost of the project.

How much does DIY wallpaper removal cost?

How much does DIY wallpaper removal cost

If you want to do the wallpaper removal on your own, you will only need to buy the materials and tools for this project if you don’t already have them.

You can buy a wallpaper removal kit, which costs around $20, or rent a steamer for $15 that you can use half of the day.

Just keep in mind that wallpaper removal is a messy and tedious job. It might save you some money, but it requires your time and effort, and there is a risk of extensive damage to your walls. 

Cost-Saving Tips

Cost-Saving Tips
  1. Compare Quotes: Seek quotes from several contractors to have an understanding of the average pricing in your area. This ensures you’re making an informed decision and getting a fair estimate for the wallpaper removal project. 

It’s important to not only focus on the total cost but also inquire about any potential hidden fees that might be associated with the service. 

Also, be sure to clarify the scope of services included in each quote to avoid unexpected expenses down the line.

  1. Bundle Services: Consider bundling wallpaper removal services with other home improvement projects you have in mind. Many contractors are willing to offer discounts or package deals for multiple services done simultaneously. 

This not only streamlines the overall home improvement process but also provides potential cost savings compared to addressing each project separately. 

Just remember, before bundling, ensure that the contractor has the expertise to handle the various services efficiently.

  1. Repurpose Your Wallpaper: Instead of disposing of removed wallpaper, consider repurposing it for creative projects. Your wallpaper can be used for smaller decorative items, covering furniture accents, or lining closets. 

This approach not only minimizes waste but also provides a cost-effective and imaginative way to extend the life of the material. 

Explore other possibilities and use your imagination or consult with a creative professional for inventive ways to repurpose your wallpaper remnants.

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