Wallpapers are a formidable substitute for wall paints, offering increased variety in style, design, and texture. Besides, the health concerns that usually come with the use of paints can be sidestepped by using wall coverings instead, wallpaper adds to the longevity and durability of your walls. While wall paints last between 2 to 10 years, good wallpapers may last for 15 years. However, the quality of a finished installation and the lifespan of your wall covering largely depends on the brilliance of the installation service. When in search of the best hand near you to handle your wall covering installation, asking the following questions will help you make the right hire:
Are You A Licensed Wall Covering Installation Contractor?
Occupational licenses are obtained as official authorizations to conduct a particular business or render a certain service in a place. Since licensing authorities will normally evaluate applicants before issuing a license, it further underscores a prospective wall covering contractor's qualifications and expertise.
Note, wall covering installation services are typically provided by painters, and painters are mandated to carry a statewide license in 27 states and the District of Columbia. However, some specific states like Arizona (R-34), California (C-61), and Virginia, provide for a specialty license for paperhangers and wall covering contractors. Requirements for licensure in each jurisdiction differ. Licensure requirements may include a certificate of apprenticeship or training, proof of bonding and insurance, verifiable and relevant work experience, and one or more exams. To know what applies in the area near you, check with the state agency that regulates housing and building matters.
Note, in states like New York, Ohio, and Texas where painters and wall covering installers are not required to hold a state-level license, licensure may be required by municipal authorities.
As a further proof of mastery of trade skills, your wall covering installer may hold certification and membership of industry associations like the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA) and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT). If your installer claims membership of such an organization, you can verify their membership claims by using the members' directory provided by these bodies on their official websites.
Are You A Bonded and Insured Wall Covering Installation Contractor?
Bonding and insurance serve similar purposes; to provide cover for all parties involved in a project. Generally, states set the possession of adequate insurance and bonding as a condition for obtaining a professional license. You should therefore do a double check to ensure that the wallpaper installation contractor near you you want to hire has adequate coverage.
More importantly, surety bonds protect customers against contractors' service default and other situations that may result in incomplete work. The surety company is usually compelled by the bonding contract to foot the cost of completing the project.
In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 42 fatal occupational injuries and 2,730 non-fatal occupational injuries among painters and paperhangers. Insurance is a way to mitigate against the risk of such injuries. A workers compensation insurance provides adequate cover against work-related accidents by covering the cost of medical care and paying the injured worker(s) a proportion of earnings lost due to the injury. It, therefore, removes the risk of having a financially-burdensome Personal Injury lawsuit instituted against you. You should hence, never waive an adequate insurance cover.
A professional or general liability insurance provides cover for physical injuries, property damage, and other liabilities arising in executing your job. Wall damage, for example, will be covered by a liability insurance plan, and you will not have to spend out of your pocket to have it repaired.
Ensure you do not get complacent with these insurance and bonding covers as it exposes you to huge risks. For example, make efforts to verify the authenticity of the insurance and bonding documents by contacting the issuing company or authority.
What Kind of Wall Covering Installation Work Are You Specialized In?
Wall covering materials come in different styles, textures, and application methods. This necessitates asking the wallpaper installation contractors near you what their specialization is, to decide who has the specialization that fits your needs properly. Some of the most common specializations in wall covering installation include:
- Liner Wallpapers
- Printed Wallpapers
- Vinyl Wallpapers
- Foil Wallpapers
Who Will Do The Work?
Contractors who install wallpapers operate in teams. Depending on your project's size, you'll almost certainly need more than one person to complete it. You have to ensure that the principal contractor and any coworkers are adequately trained, qualified, and insured. When the extra hands are the contractor's staff, you may not be concerned. This is because they are generally protected by your contractor's employee compensation and liability insurance.
You are responsible for ensuring that independent third parties participating in your project fulfill the job's minimum qualification and licensing requirements. You may also tell your contractors ahead of time that they must only hire skilled and adequately protected staff.
If you make sure that all of the people involved with your project are protected, you can rest easy knowing that you have adequate cover in the event of property damage or physical injury.
Do You Offer A Warranty?
Manufacturers and service providers often provide guarantees to reassure consumers about the quality of their service or product. Relative to painting, wallpaper installation is costly, and it is only prudent to protect such an investment from bad service or product by obtaining a warranty. If a wall covering is found to be faulty or below the expected standard, or if installation service is deemed poor, a disgruntled customer can file a warranty claim.
The best warranties are those that are written. Get a written service warranty from your installation contractor, and make sure you understand what it covers and how long it will last. Well-experienced wall covering installers near you will not hesitate to provide warranty for their workmanship.
Wall covering manufacturers typically recommend that a product be installed only by trained and licensed professionals, with some going as much as enforcing in-house product installation. Compliance is generally a condition to ask for a warranty claim. Examine the warranty brochure carefully to ensure that you understand the warranty's scope and conditions. Standard warranty coverage for wallpapers/wallcovering lasts for around three to five years, be cautious if a manufacturer is offering you less.
Will This Job Require A Permit?
A permit is typically issued by government agencies to ensure that projects that are undertaken within their jurisdiction conform to set safety and compliance guidelines. While wall covering installations do not typically require a permit, wallpaper installations that are part of larger home improvement projects may require a permit. It would be best if you visit the local housing regulatory agency office near you to find out what permits are necessary for your kind of project.
Will You Provide References?
Project references are generally important, but they are especially so for large-scale projects. A wallpaper installation contractor near you with a proven track record of providing high-quality services will gladly provide you with references. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you ask for at least three previous job references. This offers you a chance to evaluate their work efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Given the increased online presence of businesses, you can also find a contractor's company reviews and customer input on the internet. The Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Business Reviews are all excellent sources for business reviews. Besides going to see some of their finished works, you may also request to see a compilation of more of their past works. This will also give you an idea of their expertise in wall covering installation.
Do You Have A Business License?
A business license or certificate verifies a company's identity and legitimacy, which helps avoid widespread imposter scams. A trade license serves as evidence of a company's registration, occupational licensure, proper tax filing, and financial stability. The Office of the Secretary of State in your state offers business verification services, allowing you to verify a company's licensure claims.
What Are Common Wall Covering Installation Problems?
Here are some of the signs that your wall covering has been poorly installed:
- Wallpaper bubbles, usually caused by poorly-prepared or porous wall surface
- Over-trimming or under-trimming of wall covering
- Wallpaper edge curls and folds, typically caused by the insufficient application of glue or bad surface
- Wallpaper streaking, arising from smearing adhesive on the surface of the wall covering.
- Complete wallpaper peel-off
Ideally, you should call your installation contractor for corrective measures, where possible, to preserve your wall covering from complete damage.
How Much Does Wall Covering Installation Cost?
The cost of wallpaper installation varies from one state to another. It comes relatively cheaper in areas where the cost of living is low, but higher in affluent regions. However, the following are estimated costs range of installation based on industry standards:
What Are The Factors Affecting The Cost of Wall Covering Installation?
In addition to cost-differentials as a result of the difference in location, some of the other factors which influence the cost of installation include:
- Type of wallpaper material
- Wallpaper design
- Size of the wall to be covered
- Cost of additional materials as necessitated by type of wallpaper
- Location of worksite
What Qualifications Should A Wall Covering Installation Contractor Have?
Wall covering installation contractors do not require substantial formal education. The tasks of removing an existing wallpaper, preparing the wall, and installing new wall covering materials are physical and skill-based, and therefore, more suitably learned under apprenticeships and in technical colleges. A high school diploma is usually the standard education requirement for entry into wall covering.
Vocational training and technical schools help trainees develop key abilities such as manual dexterity, near vision, arm-hand steadiness, multi-limb coordinative ability, and flexibility.
In addition to an apprenticeship and entry-level job training, Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA), through the Wallcovering University, has developed professional courses for members to expand their skill set and learn from leading industry experts. Some of these courses cover wallpaper removal, tools handling, pattern matching, and wall preparation.
While an apprenticeship or technical school certificate is sufficient proof of basic training, wallpaper installers who have taken more professional courses and attended more job-related workshops are expected to be better and deliver more quality installation.
Do You Need A Wall Covering Installation Contractor or A Handyman?
While you may want to consider hiring a handyman near you for the cost discount, it is highly recommended to hire a trained wall covering professional instead for various reasons, some of which include:
- Most wallpapers are made of delicate materials and require careful handling. By hiring a non-professional, you run the risk of having your pricey wallpapers botched due to mishandling, even before they are installed.
- To replace an old wall covering, part of the preparatory tasks is to carefully remove the old wallpapers and smoothen the wall in readiness for a fresh installation. Without proper training, a worker may inflict substantial damage on your home wall, imposing further financial liabilities on you in the process.
- An important condition for most insurance and warranty contracts is occupational professionalism, that is, projects that are covered by insurance or warranty covers must be properly executed by well-trained, qualified, and licensed professionals. Therefore, by hiring a non-professional, you may lose your security cover in the event of a peril.
In essence, the consequences of hiring a handyman - instead of a professional wallpaper installer - far outweigh the usually negligible benefit. You should hence, hire only a trained wall covering installation contractor.
What Are Common Post Wall Covering Installation Expenses?
Once your wallpapers have been correctly installed, some of the additional enhancement and maintenance expenses that you may incur include:
- Wall color retouching
- An instant removal of specks of dirt, stains, and smudges
- Routine cleaning to remove settled clouds of dust
- Regularly check for mildew and mold
Regular cleaning will help your wallpapers to last longer, and while this is something you may do yourself, there are companies that provide professional wallpaper cleaning services. Hiring a wallpaper cleaning service near you will limit this cost due to proximity.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Wall Covering Installation Expenses?
Your homeowner insurance policy may cover replacement costs of wallpaper if an existing one gets damaged by fire, smoke, or other perils that your insurance policy covers. However, wallpaper replacement and installation as a result of normal wear and tear, or as part of general home improvement efforts will most likely not be covered.
It is generally best to discuss with your insurance policy provider beforehand to determine whether or not your policy covers a project.
Can I Use Digital Payment To Pay My Wall Covering Installation Contractor?
More and more businesses in the US today, including wall covering installation contractors near you, are willing to accept digital payments these days. These digital payments are faster, more secured, and convenient. They include bank transfers, debit/credit cards, and mobile wallets. However, you must ask the contractors you have hired beforehand whether they accept digital payments, and what digital payment mediums they prefer to be paid through.