Cost of Wallpaper Vs Paint: Why This Pro Painter Bans WallPaper!

wallpaper or painting

After 10+ years with a paintbrush in hand, I can tell you without hesitation – skip the wallpaper if cost is your bottom line. Sure, unrolling those decadent designer prints promises a quick transformation, but don’t be blinded by short-term beauty. As a professional Sydney residential painter, I’ve removed one too many failed wallpaper jobs, watching clients fork out big bucks just years after installation.

Look, wallpaper has its place if money’s no object and you fancy testing the latest bold prints. But painting brings a comparable style at a fraction of the commitment. Thanks to innovations in materials and techniques, painters can achieve dazzling high-end finishes for less. I’m talking textured metallics, faux marbles – all bringing depth and intrigue without installers, steamers or fear of moisture ruining your design dreams shortly down the track.

Now I know some homeowners get starry-eyed over those trendy wallpaper patterns and textures. Don’t get me wrong – installed properly, wallpaper can look fabulous, lending a special decorative flair. However, the reality is you’ll likely face more upkeep down the road. Seams may lift, moisture damage can occur, and you could find yourself facing pricey removal or replacement jobs within 5-10 years.

And here’s a little industry secret for you! 

While wallpaper may momentarily jazz up a space, its failure rate means you could face multiple installation costs over a decade. A quality paint job done right the first time will stand the test of time and trends. So if you’re after affordable, low-maintenance revitalization, look no further than paint. 

So if saving money long-term is your priority alongside style, I typically guide my clients toward smart paint choices. But everyone’s home and budget is different – it just comes down to weighing upfront costs with lifetime value and maintenance.

Trust me, I’ve spent years mastering the art of protective coatings and seen disappointed clients overpay for impermanent wall décor. Let me save you the hassle so you can enjoy the process…and have cash left for the rest of your home makeover.

Cost Comparison: Wallpaper vs. Paint

Cost FactorWallpaperPaint
Initial Material Cost (for average room size of 8sqm)$500 – $1,500 for rolls$100 – $200 for cans
Additional Supplies$50 – $100 for adhesive, primers, tools$20 – $60 for brushes, rollers, trays
Professional Installation (average room size 8sqm)$400 – $2,000$600 – $1,600
Total Upfront Cost (average room of 8sqm)$950 – $3,600$720 – $1,860
Long-Term Maintenance Higher from moisture damage, seams liftingLower for occasional touch-ups
Lifetime Costs$1,500 – $5,000 over 5-10 years$800 – $2,000 over 10+ years

Cost of Wallpaper Removal and Painting

After 10+ years in the trade, I’ve scraped back my fair share of dated wallpaper nightmares. And let me tell you – it’s never a pretty job. We’re talking potential wall repairs, dry time, priming and protective prep before the makeover magic happens.

For an 8 sqm room, you may fork out anywhere from $500 to $800 to safely remove wallpaper and debris before painting prep starts.

Now, if it’s a single layer of vinyl wallpaper in decent shape, we could steam and strip that for around $500, including dump fees here in Australia. But if previous handymen took shortcuts and trapped moisture under layers of paper over plaster, you could have bubbling sheetrock and corner damage; I’ve gotta fix it. That’s when removal costs creep towards $800 or beyond.

The thing is – with unknowns beneath aged wallpaper in existing homes, there’s always risk of addressing underlying issues before the fun stuff. Once we expose those bare walls, we’ll provide clear pricing to skimcoat, prime, and repair corners or holes…that’s over and above painting. But I offer free quotes, work with every budget, and have seen it all, so there are no surprises.

After stripping is complete, for an 8 sqm interior paint job including prep materials, two coats of quality paint, and cutting in edges, allow $600 – $1000. So, all up for wallpaper removal and painting an average room, keep $1100 – $1800 earmarked depending on what we uncover. 

But for a personalised quote explaining each step and cost, call me anytime – my priority is setting realistic expectations so you gain confidence in selecting colours and finishes.

Can I just paint over the old wallpaper?

I generally don’t recommend simply painting over existing wallpaper. While it may seem like an easy fix, there are a few critical downsides to be aware of if going that route.

  1. Firstly, without removal, you run the risk of concealing existing or future moisture issues behind the layers. Trapped condensation can cause wallpaper to bubble or peel, which will now hide behind the paint and spread mold without detection.
  2. Additionally, paint adheres best to properly prepared substrates like bare drywall or plaster. The layers of wallpaper create uneven sufaces for the new paint to cling to, meaning it could easily scratch or chip down the track despite using top-quality primers.
  3. There’s also the frustration of future removal if desired – with multiple layers of paper and paint fused together, stripping the wallcovering turns into an even bigger headache. The materials don’t separate easily and you might damage the drywall trying to get things smooth again.

While painting over wallpaper appears quick and inexpensive upfront, I’ve been hired too often to remedy problems after the shortcut was taken. I’d compare it to placing a thin bandaid over a bigger issue in terms of risk and longevity.

Now if wallpaper is sound, adhesive remnants are removed and primers penetrate the remaining layers, you CAN responsibly paint over SOME wallpapers. But for peace of mind without surprises down the road, I always recommend removal to provide the best painting surface possible.

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Owner at Painters Parramatta | + posts

I'm Ibby, the lead painter at Painters Parramatta. I'm not just a professional painter; I'm a passionate writer with a deep love for all things related to painting. As the proud owner of PaintersParramatta.com.au, I've dedicated my career to the art of transforming spaces and enhancing the beauty of homes and businesses in the vibrant city of Sydney, Australia. With nearly two decades of experience in the painting industry, I've left my artistic mark on countless homes and spaces. My love for painting is evident in the meticulous craftsmanship I bring to every project, creating stunning transformations that captivate the eye and enrich the soul.

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