You may not only be risking more damages to your walls when removing old wallpapers by yourself but also your health. Workers stripping wallpapers are susceptible to cuts and lacerations from scrapers, exposed to chemical adhesive removers, and prone to falling from heights. Over 800,000 persons are hospitalized annually due to fall injuries and such injuries account for one of the highest work-related fatalities in recent years.
As such, leaving your wallcovering removal to certified professionals nearby is a smart move to save yourself from excessive wall repair costs and unwarranted health hazards. To ensure you hire a well-trained wallpaper removing/stripping contractor near you, get suitable answers to the following vital questions.
Are You a Licensed Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor?
There is no government-issued license specific to wallpaper removing/stripping contractors. However, wallpaper removal is typically provided as an added service by painters, and painters are mandated to hold a state-level license in 27 states and the DC. In states like New York, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois where a state-level license is not required, municipal authorities may mandate a license. Hence, it is recommended to contact your state licensing board or the consumer protection agency to determine the licensure requirement for wallpaper removing contractors near you.
Similarly, your wallpaper removing contractor may hold a membership license with some of the industry-leading associations including the Wallcovering Installers Association. Where your contractor lays claim to such membership visit the association website or contact the association administrator to determine their membership status.
A license is a certification of your contractor's proficiency to handle your job appropriately. Hence, request to see a copy of your contractor's license before you sign off on the paperwork. You can verify the status of the license by contacting the licensing agency.
Are You A Bonded or Insured Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor?
Like other construction workers, home improvement contractors are susceptible to accidents and injuries at work. Such casualties are mainly caused by falls from height, slips, and trips. In 2019 alone, 244,000 injuries and 880 fatalities were recorded among private contractors due to incidences of falls, slips, and trips. As such, it is important to hire a wallpaper stripper near you that is insured to save yourself from the financial liability of paying medical bills for injured workers or some other damages. Note, your contractor should hold at least general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.
Aside from the injury to workers or third-party and damage to property covered by the insurance policies mentioned above, you may suffer further financial expenses if your contractor fails to complete the job satisfactorily. Therefore, it is important to have a contractor with a surety bond. In case, the contractor defaults on the job, the bonding firm pays for the completion of the project.
What Kind of Wallpaper Removal is Your Contractor Specialized in?
The method used in removing the wallpaper should determine which professional to hire. Different tools are required for each method. It is important to confirm that the contractor that you are about to hire is skilled in using the method that is most effective to remove your wallpaper. The three major methods used in the removal/stripping of wallpapers are;
Stripping: stripping the wallpaper is the easiest and most widely used method. A chemical stripper is applied before time to loosen the wallpaper. After a while, the wallpaper is then scraped off the wall.
Scraping: the wallpaper is scored and soaked with a liquid agent. When the wallpaper is wet and loose, it is scraped off the wall. This is the most labor-intensive method used to remove wallpapers.
Steaming: here, a steamer (instead of a liquid agent) is used to heat the adhesive holding the wallpaper. When the wallpaper is loose, it is scraped off the wall. Although it is similar to scrapping, it leaves less damage to the wall.
Who Exactly Would Be Working on the Wallpaper Removal/Stripping?
Depending on the scale of your job and the busyness of your contractor, the contractor may involve a colleague or apprentice to complete the job quickly or subcontract the task. Nonetheless, it is your duty to clearly identify each worker delegated to complete your job and ensure they are appropriately licensed, insured, and bonded. This is to ensure your contractor does not put you in financial liability if any worker is injured on your property. Also, this helps ensure the delegate has the professional expertise to complete your job satisfactorily.
Does Your Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor Offer a Warranty?
A warranty provides more confidence in the contractor's good workmanship and saves you from some repair or replacement costs in case of a defect consequent upon poor delivery. Well-experienced and professional wallpaper removing/stripping contractors near you will be willing to offer a warranty against damages to your walls or any other fittings. Typically, such warranties will be for a limited period and subject to the use of the wall.
It is recommended to have your warranty in writing with the name and address of your contractor clearly stated, and the time frame of the warranty clearly identified. Before signing, carefully read the terms of your warranty to know the conditions that may invalidate your claims.
Will You Require a Permit for Your Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor?
Removing wallpapers is not classified as making major alterations to the footprint (structure) of your home. As such, permits are usually not required for projects of that nature. However, it is always a good idea to contact the local building department office near you to determine what kind of home improvement job requires a permit in your area.
Will Your Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor Be Providing References?
Asking for references is a way to assess the level of workmanship of your contractor. It is recommended to request up to three different references. Upon request, a professional wallpaper remover/stripper will be more than happy to provide a list of happy clients, especially ones living near you. Because of the nature of the job, you can also request pictures of completed works for better assessment. You are at liberty to contact these previous clients to determine their satisfaction with the contractor's work.
Alternatively, you may seek honest ratings or reviews of your wallpaper removal contractor on third-party websites including Yelp, Google Review, and Better Business Bureau.
Do You Have a Business License?
Individuals that operate a business are typically required to obtain a business license from the Office of the Secretary of State in the area where that business is located. Before hiring a wallpaper removal/stripping contractor, always ask whether they have a valid business license. You can confirm their answer through this online portal that provides access to a database of businesses licensed by each state's Secretary of State.
What are Common Problems Removing/Stripping Wallpapers?
Problems common to stripping wallpapers include:
- Wall damage: removing wallpapers with scraping blades may leave the wall with dents. Also, where chemicals are used to remove damaged wallpapers, it may leave sections of the wall looking discolored. You will have to skim, sand, or repaint the wall, or have a new wallpaper installed.Â
- Leftover adhesive: adhesives are usually applied in ample quantities to keep the wallpaper in place. If not taken care of immediately, adhesives harden over time, and removing every bit from the wall becomes a problem.
- Wallpaper remnants: if not professionally removed, it is common to end up with patches of old wallpapers on the wall. To completely remove remnants of wallpapers, you may need to use a steamer, chemicals, or wallpaper shredder.
- Painting problems: painting over a wall where wallpapers have recently been removed is usually problematic. The wall is either uneven with patches, discolored, or wet from the chemical application.
Hiring an experienced and professional wallpaper removing/stripping contractor near you will help mitigate the above problems effectively.
How Much Does Wallpaper Removal/Stripping Cost?
For a regular size room of 10 by 8 by 8, the average cost for removing wallpaper is between $600 and $1,000 depending on the removal method used, the type of wall, and the amount of wallpaper. Professionals will charge between $0.75 and $3 to remove a square foot, therefore, a 100 square foot will cost $75 to $300. This price is usually exclusive of equipment and material fee, which usually ranges from $50 to $100. Required materials include scrapers, steamers, glue dissolving solvent, sponges, and perforator. Generally, the average cost per room in a typical house include:
Room Average Cost Key Determinants
What are the Factors that Affect the Cost of Wallpaper Removal/Stripping?
The following are some key factors affecting the cost of removing wallpaper:
- The type of room: the shape and size of the room is a key determinant and the presence of physical impairments (furniture, appliances) too.
- The method of removal: there are three types of removal methods, including stripping ($0.75-$1.50), scraping ($1-$2,) and steaming ($1-$2). The specific removal method applied will depend on the type of wallpaper or wall.
- The type of wallpaper: there are three types of wallpapers used in homes, namely strippable, porous, and non-porous wallpapers. The easier it is to remove, the cheaper the cost of removal.
- The type of wall: typically, stripping wallpapers from plaster walls is much easier than from drywalls. Removing strippable wallpapers from plaster walls will cost about $0.75 to $1.00 per square foot. Expect to pay more to remove wallpapers from drywalls.
- Height of walls or stairwells: Removing wallpapers installed on vaulted ceilings and stairwells costs more. This is because the wallpaper stripping contractor will need to work with ladders or scaffolding.
- Layers of wallpaper: Walls with multiple wallpaper layers require more effort for its removal. In some cases, the contractor may need to apply a combination of methods to remove multiple layers.
- Cost of labor: The size and complexity of the wallpaper removal will determine the number of hands required to complete the job in time. The average hourly rate for professional wallpaper remover is $50 depending on the neighborhood living standard. Note, hiring contractors near you may help reduce the cost of labor due to limited travel expenses.
What Qualifications Should a Licensed Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor Have?
Wallpaper stripping contractors require no formal education to enter the industry. Typically, they learn on the job as apprentices or helpers. A high school diploma or equivalent may make it easy to find an apprenticeship placement. Some wallpaper professionals are also painters who have earned further certifications as marks of mastery in the trade. Some of these certifications are from NACE International Institute and from the Society for Protective Coatings. Your wallpaper stripper may also hold membership of industry-leading organizations like the Wallcovering Installers Association, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and the Finishing Trades Institute.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor?
A handyman is a jack of all trade and will be willing to accept cheaper fees to a trained contractor. However, do not be deceived by such a discount to leave your job to any handyman near you as the cost of improper removal far outweighs the cheap fee. A handyman will cause extra damages to your wall that may require new plastering, screeding, and painting. In case of such an accident when working with a professional contractor, the cost will be covered by a surety bond.
Also, note, mishandling of the chemicals used in stripping wallpaper may result in injuries. The cost for the treatment of such injuries may become your burden if your handyman is not insured.
What are the Common Post Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor Expenses?
Common expenses consequent upon removing/stripping wallpapers from your walls include the cost of disposal of the removed wallpapers, prepping the wall for a new cover, skimming and sanding the wall, painting the wall, repairing damaged areas of the walls (if there were any), and installing new wallpapers.Â
If your wall is damaged after wallpaper removal, it costs $0.75 to $1.50 per square foot to apply a skim coat. This price includes both the cost of labor and materials. Many wallpaper strippers are also wallpaper installers or professional painters. You may want to find out which of these extra services can be offered by your wallpaper removing/stripping contractor and if they will be put on a separate bill.
Does Your Insurance Cover Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Expenses?
Homeowners insurance provides coverage for repair or replacement of your home and belongings if damaged by certain perils including fire, theft, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail. Therefore, if your wallpaper has been installed before taking a homeowner insurance policy, it is more likely the cost of removal will be paid for along with replacement expenses if damaged by a covered peril.
Typically, ice dams are responsible for many of the wallpaper damages. The water from melting ice backs up on the roof often leaks into the home causing damage to wallpapers, walls, ceilings, and other areas of the home. If your wallpaper was damaged in this manner, your homeowners' insurance will likely cover the cost of repairs.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Wallpaper Removing/Stripping Contractor?
The Federal Trade Commission advised homeowners not to pay cash for home improvement projects. Digital payments are a safer alternative with the added advantages of being faster, more secure, and facilitating good record keeping. More and more small businesses across America, including professional wallpaper removers/strippers near you, are open to accepting payments via digital platforms. Such payment methods include internet banking transfers, bank cards, eChecks, and mobile wallets transfers (on electronic platforms like PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Square Cash, and Venmo).
Before signing off on the paperwork, confirm with your contractors that they will be willing to accept their fees via a specific digital platform. If, however, your installer insists to be paid with cash or a cheque, request for a receipt, a written contract, and his GST to verify his tax records.