The national average cost to remove wallpaper in a house is $350-$560, depending on the size of your walls and how many rooms you need stripped.
As most homeowners know, stripping old wallpaper is tricky. If not done right, it can damage the drywall underneath and lead to more—and more expensive—wall repairs. While in some cases you can simply install new wallpaper over an existing layer of wallpaper you no longer want, you'll have to remove it entirely if you want to replace it with a fresh layer of paint.
If you'd rather not risk damaging your walls by DIY'ing your wallpaper removal project, there's good news: you don't have to go at it alone. Professional painters and other types of interior contractors have the skills and equipment to help. Before you hire a professional to remove wallpaper in your home, get an estimate on how much this project will cost.
What's in this cost guide?
- Wallpaper removal cost factors
- Tips for hiring a contractor
The cost to have wallpaper professionally removed depends on how much square footage of wall it covers, the type of wallpaper, and the condition of the wall underneath. After removing wallpaper, contractors can also prep the walls to receive another surface treatment, such as paint or new wallpaper. This task usually incurs another per-square-foot charge.
For example, a Thumbtack pro specializing in renovations and interior painting in Orlando, Florida, typically charges $1.50 per square foot to remove wallpaper. They charge more if certain issues, like extra time required to remove very old wallpaper, occur. However, the cost to add a skim coat to the wall to create a smooth surface for painting or repapering is included in the total.
Another wallpaper and interior painting pro on Thumbtack, based in Stafford, Virginia, estimates wallpaper removal jobs in the same way as wallpaper installation costs: based on how many rolls of wallpaper it would take to re-cover the walls. The pro charges a base fee of $20–$25 per roll, and estimates that a medium-sized room needs eight to 12 rolls. That's a total of $160–$300 per room. The contractor's hourly rate is $40 and they charge for additional hours if the job ends up being more time-consuming than initially estimated.
Most contractors charge $0.60-$1.50 per square foot for removing wallpaper.
High ceilings in wallpapered rooms add to removal costs. There's more paper to strip, which requires more time, as well as ladders or scaffolding to reach the top.
Below are example wallpaper removal costs based on the type and size of rooms:
|Room||Square Feet||Total removal cost|
|Living or dining room||120–252||$72–$378|
Older wallpaper is made of paper and attached to the wall with adhesive, which is usually starch-based and designed to provide a mechanical bond between the wall covering and the wall surface. This wallpaper can be more difficult (that is, take longer) to remove than some of the more modern, two-ply vinyl wallpapers.
Stick-and-peel wallpaper, which is a popular, modern option for rentals, is even easier to remove—though you may run into some tricky spots.
The quicker your wallpaper is remove, the lower the cost. And some removal techniques take longer. So, while a contractor typically won't charge a different rate depending on the technique, they may charge more for the extra time a technique takes. There are three types of wallpaper removal techniques: dry-stripping, soaking, and steaming.
Dry-stripping, which is just pulling the paper off the wall like peeling off a strip of tape, is the most affordable because it is the fastest.
Another way to remove wallpaper is to soak it in a solution of warm water and solvent using a sponge, then scrape it off with a putty knife. Sometimes, the wallpaper is scored before soaking to that ensure the solvent gets between the paper and adhesive layer.
For very tough-to-remove wallpaper, streaming it off may be necessary, which will add to the total cost.
The condition of a wall and the material directly underneath the wallpaper may also affect the total cost. Plaster walls stand up better to moisture, so they tend to do better when the wallpaper is removed using the solvent or steam methods.
Drywall is softer than plaster and doesn't hold up as well in direct contact with moisture, so a wallpaper removal specialist may need to do some additional preparation—possibly sanding to remove any remaining wallpaper adhesive or applying a skim coat of plaster, or both, to keep from damaging it.
Before you hire a contractor to help you remove old wallpaper from your home, be sure to:
- Know who to look for. Painting contractors and other interior design specialists can help with removing wallpaper.
- Ask for an estimate. Give the contractor as much information as you can—room size, ceiling height, type of wallpaper, etc.—so they can give you an estimate that's as accurate as possible.
- Check reviews and references. Read reviews from past clients to make sure they have experience removing wallpaper and get a feel for the quality of their work.
- Ask if preparing the wall is included in their costs. Will the wallpaper removal company prepare the wall for painting or repapering after removing the old wallpaper? Or is that an additional cost?
- Ask if they'll provide a discount for installing new wallpaper or painting your walls. Interior wall specialists aren't just skilled at stripping old wallpaper off your walls, they can also install new wallpaper or paint them for you. If you bundle both jobs in one visit, your contractor may be willing to give you a discount on your total cost.
Whether you're in the middle of a total remodel, or you just can't stand looking at that old '70s wallpaper in your bathroom any longer, an experienced wallpaper removal specialist can help you get the job done—without damaging your walls. If you're ready to get started, look for a wallpaper removal specialist near you on Thumbtack.