By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Removing unwanted wallpaper is grunt work. The ideal task for a wannabe do-it-yourselfer because it requires no skills or previous experience. Removing wallpaper is a process you learn on the job, and the tools and materials you need are inexpensive. It’s just tedious, messy and time consuming.
A contractor will charge $366 to remove two layers of wallpaper from a 10-by-12-foot room or about 500 sqare feet if you allow for a window and door. This includes the labor and material. You can do the work for $75, the cost to remove wallpaper, and save a whopping 86 percent for your effort. Your cost covers a gallon of gel-type remover, a scoring tool, wallpaper scraper, masking tape and plastic drop cloths. You’ll also need a paint roller and pan.
The room becomes a work zone because you have to remove everything from the walls, move the furniture away from the walls and protect the floors with plastic drop cloths taped to the baseboard. To begin, roll a scoring tool over a wall to attack the glue bonding the wallpaper to it. The tool makes tiny holes in the paper so you can apply a gel remover to break down the old glue and loosen the paper. Follow the manufacturer’s direction for applying the remover. We like to use a paint roller to apply the remover in a section of a wall and then wait awhile before scraping off the wallpaper.
To reach into a tight corner of wallpaper to remove, aim a spray bottle into the corner and squirt water to soak the area. You may have to do this a few times until the paper loosens and you can get a scraper under the wallpaper.
When all the paper is removed wash the walls to remove any glue and residue that remains. Then wrap up the scraps in the plastic drop cloth and the job’s done.
You’ll spend a good 14 hours removing wallpaper if you do it yourself while a paperhanger can do the job in about 10 hours
Sound too complicated and time consuming? Here’s a link to Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with local contractors.
Here’s a Home Depot video How to Remove Wallpaper.
Now you know the average cost to remove wallpaper, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2019