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Guide to Paint & Wallpaper Costs & Estimates
in Canada

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Paint is quick and easy way to completely transform a room. Similarly, wallpaper can elevate a room with a little more work involved. Both can produce dramatic results and take a room from boring to statement making. If you’re thinking about updating the walls in your home, but aren’t sure of paint and wallpaper costs, keep reading to see how much this project will cost you.

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Paint

How Much Does Paint Cost?

One cost factor that may be overlooked during your painting project is the cost of the paint itself. Paint costs depend upon the quantity as well as the quality of the paint and primer you choose. Once you have an idea of the colour you want, you can compare prices at your local paint store. Painting professionals can also quote average prices due to their years of experiencing working with different paints.

Remember that you want to get the highest quality paint that your budget can afford. This will ensure that your paint will last and look its best for longer. Other cost factors to consider include painting supplies like primer, brushes, rollers and painter’s tape. A professional painting company should have these items on-hand. According to statistics, paint and other supplies account for about 15 percent of a professional painter's total cost; labour will factor into 85 percent of their charges.

Average Paint Prices

In general, it will take a minimum of two gallons of paint to cover an average sized room. For higher end paints, you can expect to pay anywhere between $30 and $79 per gallon. Most paints will come in three different finishes: Flat, semi-gloss or high-gloss. Flat finishes are the least shiny and are best suited for areas requiring frequent cleaning. Semi-gloss finishes are a bit shiny but can also be easily cleaned. A high-gloss finish is stain-resistant and easy to clean. Traditionally, living rooms should be painted with a flat finish to allow the paint to stand out. Glossy finishes should be reserved for hallways, and a semi-gloss is best suited for trim.

When possible, invest in pre-primed paint. This will cut down the time by combining the layering process. Almost all paint jobs will require a primer, which can cost between $7 and $20 per can. Primer is needed as it helps the paint to stand out against the underlayer of paint it’s covering. Primer is especially important if you’re trying to cover a dark colour underneath.

Here are some paint brands and their average price per gallon:

How Much Paint Do You Need?

Before you begin, you need to know how much paint you will need. Use the room measurements in the list below and round to the nearest foot. If you have cathedral ceilings that create sloping walls, follow the special case instructions on how to derive this square footage. To ensure you will have enough paint, do not worry about excluding areas not to be painted, such as windows and doors, a 10 percent waste allowance is automatically added to the total.

  1. Wall Height
    Measure from floor to ceiling.
  2. Wall perimeter for areas you plan to paint
    Measure the length of each wall. Add all length figures together to obtain the total horizontal distance or perimeter.
  3. Ceiling width and length
    Omit if you do not plan to paint your ceiling.
  4. Sloping walls
    Sloping walls form a triangular wall space. To calculate a triangle’s square footage, multiply the length of the wall at the base of the triangle by its height and divide by 2.

 Tip: One gallon of paint covers approximately 400 square feet.

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Wallpaper

When it comes to estimating the cost of wallpapering one or more rooms of your home, the cost is highly specific and dependent on a combination of everything from the size of the room to the quality of the paper to the intricacies of your architectural design. In general, the cost of wallpaper and hangers will typically range between $378 and $800, with an average cost of $660.

Types of Wallpaper and Their Costs

Vinyl-Coated Wallpaper

Vinyl-coated wallpaper is one of the most diverse types, suitable for most any room, particularly the kitchen and bathroom due to its improved water resistance. This type of paper is made when printed paper product is sprayed or coated with acrylic vinyl or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) on its surface. This coating makes washing easy and also makes the surface resistant to grease and moisture penetration. This type of paper is also easy to hang and strip due to its paper backing. A popular and easy-to-find wallpaper, vinyl-coated wallpaper generally sells for around $40 per roll, though costs can vary.

Coated-Fabric Wallpaper

Coated-fabric wallpaper is made by printing patterns directly onto a vinyl or acrylic-coated fabric. Considered more breathable and of higher quality than vinyl-coated paper, it can be up to twice as expensive per roll. It’s important to note that coated-fabric paper tends to absorb moisture rather than repel it. Therefore, this type of wallpaper is a poor choice for kitchens and bathrooms as well as for homes in climates with sustained high humidity levels and no air conditioning.

Paper-Backed or Solid-Sheet Vinyl Wallpaper

Paper-backed vinyl wallpaper, also known as solid-sheet vinyl wallpaper, is incredibly durable and easy to clean. It is made when a paper substrate is laminated into an acrylic to create a single, solid decorated surface. Solid-sheet vinyl papers are also often embossed to give texture to a wall surface, making them a more dynamic alternative to vinyl-coated paper while remaining available at a similar price point of about $45 per roll on average. Because they are easy to peel, removing this paper is simple, but that also means that paper-backed or solid-sheet vinyl does not hold up well in high-traffic areas such as mudrooms.

Fabric-Backed Vinyl Wallpaper

Similar to the vinyl-coated paper, fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper has a strong, moisture-resistant surface of acrylic or vinyl. However, as the name implies, this type has a fabric backing rather than a paper one. As a result, fabric-backed vinyl paper is incredibly durable and tear-resistant as well as impervious to moisture and humidity. Because of these traits, it is common to find fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper in commercial applications and in high-traffic residential rooms. Depending on its design, the price of fabric-backed vinyl ranges from about $45 to $70 per roll.

Tips for Hiring a Painter

There are a couple of things you should take into consideration when hiring a painter. Keep in mind that their rates typically go down in winter as business slows down. Ask them about discounts if they’re able to fit you in as an in-between project. Also consider if there are multiple painting projects they could take care of at once, as this could help cut down costs.

Painter Hiring Tips to Keep in Mind:

  1. Ask for recommendations: Consult with friends, family and neighbors to see if they've hired a good painter for a similar project. Be sure to check out those recommendations on websites like HomeStars to find quality painters who have good ratings and reviews.
  2. Get multiple estimates: Narrow your list of potential contractors down to four and then get four bids to make sure they're within the same price range. If one seems too high or too low, ask additional questions to understand why.
  3. Interview potential painters. Ask questions like:
    • How long have you been a painting contractor?
    • Are you licensed and insured?
    • Do you perform the paint job yourself or hire out freelancers?
    • Can you provide contact information for previous clients as references? 
    • Do you have guarantees of your work?
  4. Review credentials: Make sure potential painters are actually licensed and insured so you aren't left with repairs or financial hassles after they complete the job.
  5. Figure out a payment plan: Never pay more than one-third of the total cost upfront.
  6. Get the contract and review it thoroughly before signing.
  7. Pick the paint and finish: The painter should work with you to find the right colour, but the decision is ultimately yours. Make sure it's a colour you'll enjoy for years to come.
  8. Check for lead: If your home was constructed pre-1978, the older layers of paint might contain lead. If this is the case, you'll need to have a lead testing and removal contractor come out to handle the problem before repainting your walls.

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Brand

Flat

Behr

$31

$55

Benjamin Moore

$45

Olympic

Sherwin Williams

Valspar

$45

$31

Semi-gloss

up to $220

up to $400

$81

$62

up to $200

High-gloss

$30

$66

$120

$71

$20

How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Room?

For an average sized room (10 x 12), the cost ranges from approximately $500 to $1040. This price does not include ceilings, trim or the cost of paint.

When estimating the cost, painters will start with how much paint will be required to complete the job. To know this, they first need to know the size of the area to be covered. The easiest way to calculate the size of the paintable area is to add together the length of the wall and multiply it by the width of the room from floor to ceiling. This amount is the room's square footage.

This total is a starting point, as it is not all paintable surface. The painters won't paint the windows and doors and they must account for ceiling trim and baseboards as well. The next step is to subtract the area of the doors and windows, along with the square footage of the trim and baseboards, to get an average. Then, use the same calculation (length x width) on the windows, doors, trim and baseboards, and subtract all of those numbers. The result of this equation is the square footage of the room's walls. This is your surface area number. Painters will typically add a little square footage back in to this amount to account for extra paint, which may be required.

Room Painting Cost Factors

Size of Room

The size of the room to be painted is the most important factor in determining the total cost. The larger the room, the more it will cost to cover. This is due to the amount of paint and time and labour it will take to finish the job. You will be charge for the number of paint cans needed in addition to other factors. Keep in mind that the average can of paint covers about 400 to 450 square feet.

Textured Walls

If you’re planning on painting a textured wall, keep in mind that this will require more paint than a smooth wall. The texture adds more surface area even though it doesn’t increase the square footage. Be sure to mention a textured wall during the quoting process so that the painters know how much paint they will need and are able to give you an accurate estimate. 

Speed Factor

The speed at which a painter can complete your job will affect the final cost, however time is difficult to estimate. Some painters may have more experience and can cover a wall faster, whereas some are more methodical and can take more time. On average, most painters should be able to cover about 100 to 120 square feet of flat surface in an hour, unless they are working on a very large wall. Wood or plaster might reduce that amount to 80 to 100 square feet. You should also consider the time required for a first coat to dry before a second coat may be applied. This will add time as well, anywhere from one to 48 hours depending on the paint.

How Much Do Painters Charge?

When it comes to hiring painters, you can either go with a self-employed painter or hire a larger company that employs painters. Another cost factor is the time of year. Painters often charge more in the summer and less in the winter. Ask your painter if time of year will affect your cost.

Painters might charge a flat project fee for exterior areas like siding, garages, decks or sheds. Otherwise, they typically charge by the hour. A painter's total estimate is based on how many hours they believe it will take to complete the project, plus a few varying factors, which include:

  • Location
  • Type of job (interior versus exterior)
  • Painter's experience
  • Season

Typically you will pay less to have an interior painted than an exterior because there's more square footage to cover; however the reverse might be true if you were to have a simple deck painted versus multiple interior rooms. You also have to account for staining and protective sealants required outdoors, which can add to the total cost. For special projects like these, be sure to ask multiple painters for quotes.

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Tips for Buying

Wallpaper is sold in individual rolls, or two or three rolls to a package. Each standard American roll comes with 35 square feet of wallpaper. When you factor in trimming and waste, the usable amount in each roll generally comes to about 27 square feet. This amount also factors in waste resulting from the drop pattern. This is the distance one section of new paper must be dropped to match the pattern on the panel just installed. To eliminate this concern and save paper, use two rolls at a time and alternate.

Wallpaper is identified not only by its pattern number but also by a number that is variously called a lot, batch, or run number. This number shows that an entire print run was made in that colour, which indicates that the colour is consistent. The same colour in a subsequent run with a different lot number may be noticeably different. When buying wallpaper, purchase more than you need of the same lot number so you can match colours later for repairs or additional papering. You can save the excess for future repairs or for shelf and drawer liners.

Installation Costs & Considerations

Determining the exact cost of your wallpaper installation job is difficult due to the various factors in your home that will affect labour rates. These factors include high ceilings, soffit areas above cabinets, and architectural details like crown moldings and archways.

The cost of installation varies by contractor. Some will charge by the roll of paper while others will charge based on the complexity of the job. Another may charge by the square footage of the area that needs to be covered. The final cost will all depend on the type of paper you choose, the complexity of the design, and the intricacies of your room. This is why it is essential to get multiple quotes from several different companies.

Removing Wallpaper

If you need to have old wallpaper removed before installing new, this will add to the total cost of your installation. Cost factors include the type of paper currently on the walls and how it was installed. For example, if your wallpaper was installed by a professional, this is generally easier to take down because professionals tend to use higher-quality primers than DIYers.

If you’re concerned about this additional cost, ask your wallpaper installers if it’s possible to add new wallpaper on top of the old. In some cases this is possible but not always. Ask your installer about the options and find the best one to fit your budget.

When you’re ready to revamp your home, consider adding new paint or wallpaper. Freshening up your walls is a great way to inject personality into a space and totally transform it. Be sure to get quotes from multiple companies and discuss your options so you get the best outcome for your home.

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