How Much Does It Cost To Remove Wallpaper?
$1 – $2 per square foot
Wallpaper removal costs $0.95 per square foot on average with prices going up to $2.00 per square foot if the wallpaper was painted over or if the wallpaper glue is difficult to remove. For example, a 7’ by 10’ bathroom costs $260, a 12’ by 12’ bedroom costs $360, and a 16’ by 20’ living room costs $550. Get free estimates from wallpaper removal companies near you.
Wallpaper Removal Costs
Wallpaper removal costs $0.95 per square foot on average with prices going up to $2.00 per square foot if the wallpaper was painted over or if the wallpaper glue is difficult to remove. For example, a 7’ by 10’ bathroom costs $260, a 12’ by 12’ bedroom costs $360, and a 16’ by 20’ living room costs $550.
|National Average Cost||$596|
|Average Range||$312 to $881|
Table Of Contents
Average Price to Remove Wallpaper
The average cost to remove wallpaper is $1 to $2 per square foot with most homeowners spending between $312 and $881. A 12’ x 12’ room with 8’ ceilings has 384 square feet of wall space, and it will cost between $280 and $768 to remove the wallpaper in it, depending on the cost factors discussed below.
|Wallpaper Stripper||$10 for 1,500 square feet|
|Steamer Rental||$33 per day|
|Labor||$35–$55 per hour|
|Drywall Damage Repair||$0.75–$1.40 per square foot|
|Plaster Damage Repair||$75 per hour|
Wallpaper Removal Cost Per Room
All the following wallpaper removal costs are based on medium-sized rooms in the US. 
|Room||Square Feet||Average Cost|
|Living Room 16’ x 20’||576||$550|
|Kitchen 10’ x 16’||416||$400|
|Foyer 8’ x 10’||288||$270|
|Bedroom 12’ x 12’||384||$370|
|Bathroom 7’ x 10’||272||$260|
Cost of Removing Wallpaper Per Square Foot
On average, a handyman charges between $1 and 2 per square foot to remove wallpaper with an extra $50 for materials. Many factors go into your final cost such as the number of layers wallpaper, if there is paint over the wallpaper, and if you have plaster or drywall walls.
Labor Cost to Have Wallpaper Removed
Removing wallpaper can take 1–2 days, depending on how firmly attached to the wall it is and how many layers of wallpaper there are to remove. Some professionals may base their price on how many rolls of wallpaper cover a particular area. Also, high ceilings can drastically affect the labor cost of removal. For these reasons, a quote for wallpaper removal could be double what you’d expect, to allow for the extra day of labor at an hourly rate of $35 to $55.
Cost to Remove Wallpaper That’s Been Painted Over
To determine what kind of paint is on the wallpaper, rub it with a bit of nail polish remover. If it comes off, you have latex paint. If not, it’s oil-based paint. Oil-based paint-covered wallpaper will take longer to remove because it’s a stickier substance compared to latex, which is more likely to peel with the wallpaper, so you’ll pay more for the additional hours of labor.
Cost to Remove Wallpaper Then Paint
Wallpaper removal costs between $260 and $450 for a 12’ x 12’ bedroom. The cost to paint a room is between $300–$800 or $1.50 per square foot. This brings us to a total cost of between $560 and $1,250 for painting contractors to first remove the wallpaper and then paint the room.
Professional Wallpaper Stripping or Removal Costs
Depending on the size of the job and method used, professional wallpaper removal costs between $260 and $1,200. Prices vary between the three different methods of removal which are stripping, soaking and scraping off, and steaming.
Cost to Strip Wallpaper
Wallpaper stripping is the most desirable choice based on price and clean-up required. Stripping concentrate costs less than $10 to cover 1,500 square feet of wallpaper. With labor being the main cost, you can expect to pay $0.95 to $2.00 per square foot for this method of removal.
Soaking & Scraping It Off
In some cases, the wallpaper is not strippable, and your professional will opt to scrape it off instead. This method is much more labor intensive which will cost more. In this process, a perforator will make small holes in the wallpaper, and then an agent is sprayed on the wall and then allowed to soak. Then, your contractor will scrape off all the paper and glue.
Steaming is a third option which involves renting a steamer for about $33 per day. First, a perforator will make small holes, then the steamer heats the glue so the wallpaper can easily be peeled off.
Wallpaper Removal Cost Factors
The reason why a contractor or handyman can’t give a quick price for wallpaper removal over the phone is because of the many factors involved in its removal.
Type of Wallpaper
- Nonporous – The most challenging wallpaper to remove is vinyl-coated, nonporous wallpaper. It must be scored to allow water through.
- Strippable – The easiest, most strippable paper to remove is the newer peel-and-stick wallpaper, which may not even need to be sponged first to soften the adhesive.
- Porous – Traditional wallpaper can be relatively easy to remove if it is porous because it absorbs water quickly.
Cost Factors of Removing Wallpaper
- Removal Techniques – The different methods of removal are stripping, soaking and scraping off, and steaming.
- Age – The older the paper, the stronger the adhesive—not always true, but age can certainly contribute to how firmly it’s stuck to the wall.
- Layers of Wallpaper – Extra layers over previous layers of wallpaper will usually require steaming and soaking.
- Paint over Wallpaper – It will take longer to remove wallpaper that has any number of layers of paint over it, and even longer if it’s oil-based paint.
- Height of Walls or Presence of Stairwells – Higher walls will require ladders, and possibly even scaffolding, to ensure workers’ comfort while scraping. Stairwells have multiple corners and angles that will need extra scraping work.
- Type of Walls (Plaster Vs. Drywall) – It’s much easier to remove wallpaper from plaster than drywall, and plaster is less likely to be damaged when scraped because it hasn’t bonded with the drywall surface.
- Damage to Underlying Walls – Any holes gouged into the drywall from removing the wallpaper will have to be filled with joint compound, dried, sanded, and wiped to restore the drywall to a paintable, smooth surface.
- Moving Tubs, Toilets, or Appliances – Sometimes there’s no other way to get to the wallpaper than to remove fixtures or appliance.
Drywall Vs. Plaster
Most homes built before the 1940s had plaster rather than drywall walls, and a fashionable design choice was to cover them with wallpaper. The downside to this is that by now, the wallpaper has possibly become integral to the stability of the plaster. While it can be easier to remove wallpaper from plaster, plaster can fall off in chunks when you start removing the wallpaper. You might also discover cracks in the plaster which you’ll need to fill in. Good plaster contractors are few and far between, and it could cost you a fair penny just to do those repairs at an average price of $75/hour.
Drywall can soak up water and get easily gouged, especially by DIYers, who tend to spray water on entire walls rather than work in 30’ sections at a time and then rewet and rewet as they go, until the drywall becomes a soggy mess. They can also lean on the scoring tool too hard and put holes all over the wall, or use the scraper at the wrong angle and snag the drywall frequently. Drywall repairs cost $0.75 to $1.40 per square foot on average.
How Do I Know What Kind of Walls I Have?
Between plaster and drywall, there's an easy way to tell by just the feel. In most cases, plaster is harder and smoother, and drywall sounds hollow when you tap on it. You can also remove an outlet cover to see the edges of your wall.
How to Remove Wallpaper
When removing wallpaper, here are the steps you need to cover:
- Assessment and quote – A professional can’t give an accurate removal quote until s/he does a test on the wallpaper to see how firmly attached it is to the wall.
- Room prep – Wall plates are removed, outlets and switches are covered, a tarp is laid.
- Scoring – Wallpaper often needs to be scored to score through the plastic film on the wallpaper and give the soaking solution access to the glue behind it.
- Soaking – Wallpaper removal products are applied to the wallpaper.
- Steaming – Steamers can help remove difficult-to-remove wallpaper. About 56 square feet of wallpaper can be steamed removed per hour.
- Scraping – Most of the cost of wallpaper removal is labor.
- Cleanup – All the scraped-off wallpaper will need to be removed and disposed of.
Drywall or plaster repair will often not be included in the quote. The drywall can get damaged or gouged when the wallpaper is scraped off. Plaster can fall apart. Holes will need to be filled with joint compound, dried, and sanded smooth.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take to Remove Wallpaper?
Removing wallpaper can take 1–2 days, depending on how firmly attached to the wall it is and how many layers of wallpaper there are to remove.
Can You Paint Over Wallpaper?
It's not recommended to paint over wallpaper. The edges of the wallpaper will inevitability lift over time creating blemishes on the wall.
Does Wallpaper Come Off Easily?
The most challenging wallpaper to remove is vinyl-coated, nonporous wallpaper. It must be scored to allow water through. The easiest, most strippable paper to remove is the newer peel-and-stick wallpaper—which may not even need to be sponged first to soften the adhesive. Traditional wallpaper can still be relatively easy to remove if it is porous because it absorbs water quickly.
What’s The Best Way To Remove Wallpaper?
Depending on the type of wallpaper you have, the best way to remove wallpaper is by either scoring and steaming or soaking with store-bought or homemade solutions, or steaming/soaking and scraping alone, before peeling and scraping it off.
Do Painters Remove Wallpaper?
Yes, painters often include wallpaper removal as part of their list of services offered. They will be happy to remove wallpaper for an extra cost before painting.
Can a Handyman Do Wallpaper Stripping & Removal?
Yes, many handymen will be happy to remove the wallpaper. Also, they can do any drywall repair you might need afterward.
DIY Wallpaper Removal or Hire a Contractor
It will take at least two days of work plus about $50 of supplies to remove the wallpaper in one room if you do it yourself, whereas a contractor or handyman can do the same job in about a day for about $360 and clean up the mess. Ultimately, your choice depends on your budget and how much free time you have to invest in the project. Depending on the method of removal you choose, you will need to rent a steamer, buy scrapers, stripping concentrate, sponges, and a perforator.
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