Wallpaper Removal Cost Guide: DIY vs. Professional Removal

Removing wallpaper can rejuvenate or transform any space. Whether you’re updating your home’s look or preparing to put your house on the market. However, deciding between embarking on a DIY project or hiring professionals involves more than just time and effort.

It’s also about understanding the costs involved. I will share my knowledge of the financial aspects of wallpaper removal. You will see insights into the DIY route and professional services to help you make an informed choice.

Understanding how to remove wallpaper can be especially essential when selling a house. Ask most real estate agents; they will tell you it dates a home and makes selling more challenging.

Unfortunately, some people make remodeling mistakes and add wallpaper to their homes.

For this reason, many homeowners listen to a wise agent’s advice and plan on removal.

Understanding wallpaper removal

Wallpaper removal can seem daunting, especially with the variety of wallpapers available. There are traditional, peelable and vinyl wallpapers, each presenting its own set of challenges.

The process involves peeling or scraping away the old layers and preparing the wall underneath for its next finish. Unfortunately, the need for additional repairs or treatment has been found in many of my clients’ homes. This is not uncommon.

For those considering DIY removal, an essential toolkit might include scoring tools, spray bottles for wallpaper removal solutions, scrapers and a steamer for more demanding jobs.

Understanding the nature of your wallpaper and the wall condition is crucial before starting. This will determine the approach and tools that are necessary.

DIY wallpaper removal: process and costs

DIY wallpaper removal can be cost-effective for those willing to invest time and effort. It is one of the worst ROI improvements in a house. Here’s a step-by-step guide, including a breakdown of the costs involved.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Preparation: Remove furniture and cover floors with drop cloths to protect them from moisture and debris. Safety goggles and gloves are essential to protect against chemicals and sharp tools.
  2. Scoring the wallpaper: Use a scoring tool to create tiny perforations in the wallpaper. This step is crucial for allowing the removal solution to penetrate and loosen the adhesive.
  3. Applying the solution: A mixture of warm water and fabric softener, vinegar or a commercial wallpaper remover can be used. Apply generously with a spray bottle or sponge.
  4. Peeling and scraping: After letting the solution sit for a few minutes, peel the wallpaper by hand or with a scraper. For stubborn areas, reapply the solution and wait a bit longer.
  5. Cleanup: Remove any residue with a sponge and clean water. Repair any wall damage before repainting or applying new wallpaper.

How much will it cost?

Tools and materials:

  • Scoring tool: $8-$15
  • Spray bottle: $2-$5
  • Scraper: $5-$10
  • Wallpaper removal solution or DIY mix ingredients: $10-$20
  • Drop cloths: $10-$20
  • Safety goggles and gloves: $10-$20
  • Total Estimated Cost: $45-$9000

Time investment: DIY removal can take several hours to an entire weekend. It will depend on the room size and wallpaper type.

Potential challenges: DIY methods might not be effective for all wallpaper types, especially older or more adhesive-heavy wallpapers. There’s also the risk of damaging the underlying wall, which could incur additional repair costs. I have witnessed this happening a few times in homes I am preparing to list for sale.


The upfront costs of DIY wallpaper removal are relatively low. However, when using household items for the removal solution, the value of your time and the potential for unforeseen challenges should not be underestimated.

Proper preparation and patience are crucial to minimizing damage and additional expenses.

Professional wallpaper removal: what to expect

For most of my clients, I recommend hiring a professional. Without a contractor background and knowledge, it can be challenging work.

Hiring a professional for wallpaper removal offers convenience and expertise. It ensures the job is done efficiently and effectively. Here’s what to expect when opting for professional services.

Professional approach

Professionals use advanced techniques and tools to remove wallpaper. They typically use steamers and specialized solvents to handle various wallpaper types without damaging the walls.

They also manage the entire process, from setup to cleanup, including repairing any wall damage uncovered during removal.


  • Efficiency: Professionals can complete the job faster due to their experience and tools.
  • Quality: Experts can minimize wall damage and address any issues immediately.
  • Convenience: Hiring a professional eliminates the need to purchase tools and spend time on the removal process.

Overview of services

  • Consultation: Many companies offer a preliminary assessment to discuss the project scope and provide a quote.
  • Removal: This includes all steps from preparation to the actual stripping of wallpaper.
  • Cleanup and repair: Professionals ensure the workspace is clean and any wall damage is repaired.

Cost factors:

  • Room size: Larger spaces require more time and materials, increasing costs.
  • Wallpaper type: Difficult-to-remove wallpapers can increase labor costs.
  • Location: Labor costs vary significantly by geographic location.
  • Additional services: Wall repairs or priming for new wallpaper/paint may incur extra charges.

Professional wallpaper removal costs range from $1 to $3 per square foot. Depending on the abovementioned factors, a typical room costs between $300 and $800.

Cost comparison: DIY vs. professional

When weighing DIY options versus hiring a professional for wallpaper removal, consider both direct and indirect costs, such as the time and the potential for mistakes.

Direct costs

  • DIY: Initial costs are lower, primarily involving tools and materials. A standard room costs $45 to $90.
  • Professional: The cost of the same space averages between $300 and $800. It will depend on room size, wallpaper type and location.

Indirect Costs

  • DIY: Time investment is significant and the risk of wall damage could lead to unexpected repair costs. The lack of professional tools and experience can also make the job more time-consuming and less efficient.
  • Professional: The higher upfront cost buys efficiency, expertise and peace of mind. Professionals can also handle unexpected issues more efficiently. This can potentially save money in the long run.

Decision Factors

  • For DIY: Consider this route if you have a flexible timeframe. Are you willing to learn the process? Is the wallpaper simple to remove? DIY might also be preferable for those on a tight budget. Some folks love to engage in a hands-on home improvement project.
  • For professional: This option is best if the wallpaper removal requires specialized tools or techniques. When the project is large-scale, or if you prefer a guaranteed level of quality and convenience, I recommend this route. It’s also advisable when there’s a risk of significant wall damage.


Deciding between DIY and professional wallpaper removal involves weighing each option’s costs, benefits and risks. While DIY can be more cost-effective and rewarding for simple projects, professional services offer expertise, efficiency and peace of mind for more complex or large-scale removals.

By considering the factors outlined in this guide, homeowners can make an informed decision that best fits their budget, timeline and home improvement goals.

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