Wallpaper removal is one type of work which cannot be bid at a flat rate or guaranteed price because of a wide range of variables some of which we can usually determine before starting the removal but some will not be known until we have begun to remove the paper and even then surprises can happen. Are problems common? Usually not when the paper has been professionally installed and is in good condition. But many wallpaper installs were done the wrong way and depending on how wrong depends on how easy it is to remove and the damage the walls face in doing so and in very rare instances it’s recommended to not remove the paper and instead remove the seams, seal and paint it but that usually only happens when glued onto completely unprepared drywall.
One of the best signs we find is usually thick paper. The thicker the paper generally leads to larger pieces of paper coming down at once or separating from the backing easily allowing the backing to be wet and removed. Tan and brown backed papers are the most well known for this. Very thin white backed paper can be more of a pain to remove as it’s known to shred while being taken down. It’s very good if the wall was fully and properly sized/sealed before the paper went on and bad if someone slapped it up over ordinary latex paints. It’s extremely bad if it was glued onto unprepared walls. Some papers are very stubborn and the top layer must be broken down so that steam will penetrate to the glue layer to release. Borders are horrible because it’s an overlap of paper and the border has to be removed before the underlying layer and in a lot of cases are homeowner and not pro installed. And the worst of all… more than one layer of paper glued on top of each other.
And the biggest variable of them all – what condition the walls will be in once the paper is down. Well installed paper will see very minimal damage and patching which is included in the cost. More substantial repairs and floating is not and would be discussed if the need arises. Once the paper is down and the walls dry we do a light sanding of the entire surface to assist in smoothing and knocking off small artifacts that may remain. At this point the walls are ready to be resealed which is the final step before you are ready to repaint as the sealer will lock down any leftover residual glues.
With this said the average cost we see for removal of one layer of properly installed wallpaper in a standard 12 x 12 bedroom is $275 to remove the paper, patch and sand and $100 to apply the sealer coat to prepare the area to be painted. This covers a total of eight hours of labor. Typically we will know within the first sheets removal if that price were to chance and give the customer all available options on how to proceed. This is an estimate however we will run over any known variables with you that could change the price if we see them ahead of time. The standard room here fits the same methods as our interior painting when priced.
As is the same with our interior painting work the customer supplies any required sealers and we supply the tools like scrapers, steamers, ladders, plastics, etc.
Last but not least – walls are generally not perfect after wallpaper removal so we always make customers aware of this from the start. If a customer seeks absolutely perfect walls the only way to achieve this is to completely skim coat the entire surface, sand and reseal it which is not a service we offer and is something we always recommend having a full time drywall finisher do as it is extensive work. We have however had no complaints over the years doing a good patch, sand and seal and using a few specific speciality sheens that work to hide those imperfections and make your walls look great without the extensive repairs and most customers opt for this method.