Hire a Pro Advice: Remove Wallpaper

Get help finding a paper hanger or painting contractor and advice about what should be in a written contract with a paper hanger or painting contractor.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

If you want to hire a contractor, look for a painting contractor or paper hanger and make sure the bid includes making any repairs to the wall that might occur during the removal process. Since the bulk of the work is in the preparation, wallpaper removal and subsequent repairs, consider getting a bid for the entire project, including the painting or application of new wallcovering.

Whoever does the work, it's important for them to know what finish is planned after the wall covering is removed. Painting requires a near perfect finish because painting makes problems more noticeable, not less. The same is true for some types of wall coverings, such as shiny foils. In cases where wall covering removal reveals plaster cracks or drywall damage, you may have to change your plan midstream. For example, you might choose to cover a damaged wall with a wall liner and wallpaper instead of the paint you had planned.

A friend or neighbor can be a good source for referral of a painter or wallpapering contractor which you'll find as "Painting Contractors" and "Wallpaper & Wallcoverings" listed in the Yellow Pages. So is an online contractor referral service. You may get a recommendation from paint and wallpaper stores as well. Make sure the contractor has a certificate of insurance and workers' compensation insurance, if he has employees.

Generally, the contractor will come to your house for an assessment of the conditions of the job before quoting a price in a written proposal or contract.

Here are the basic points that should be included in a written contract with a painting contractor or paper hanger for removing wallpaper.

  • Room or rooms with the number of layers of wallpaper to be removed
  • Total cost
  • Start and completion dates
  • Condition of the walls when the job is completed (i.e. washed, scraped, etc.)
  • Specific repair work (i.e. wall cracks) to be completed
  • How the site will be protected from moisture and residue
  • Who is responsible for moving furniture and cleaning up