Paint and Wallcovering Costs for Ceilings & Walls

Some remodeling jobs require tearing out everything, right down to the studs. When you gut a room, you’ve got to factor in the cost of the ceilings and walls in your home remodeling costs. In this Remodeling Cost Guide, you’ll find approximate prices for these items, with a range of estimates for the type of finish you give them. We’ll look at drywall, paint, wallpaper and paneling costs, so you can determine what’ right for your budget.

Drywall Material and Finish

Drywall used for walls and ceilings is typically 1/2″ or 5/8” standard sheet rock. Drywall used for bathrooms is called green board because it is treated to be resistant to moisture and mold. Current prices fluctuate quite a bit from $8-$12 per 8’x4’ sheet, slightly more for green board.

The material, along with the tape, joint compound and nails comes to about $0.55 per square foot for the materials. The labor is roughly the same, though costs vary by local cost of living and what type of finish you have applied. The most expensive finish is usually smooth, which surprises some homeowners. A smooth finish requires more coats of joint compound and therefore more labor in applying it and sanding it. To have a textured ceiling costs less. It requires more compound, but that’s cheap compared with labor. There are several types of texturing that can be done on ceilings, and local drywall contractors in your area can give you details for styles and costs when you get estimates.

Paint, Wallpaper and Paneling

As you’d expect with, paint is the least expensive, wallpaper next, and paneling the most expensive. Paint has the advantage of being easier to change too, so it is commonly used in a kitchen remodel project. Repainting requires much less time than stripping off wallpaper and getting rid of glue if necessary, or even removing paneling and then patching/sanding nail holes.

Prices for paint are very affordable, even with quality primer and top of the line paint. The material usually comes out to less than $0.25 per square foot. Wallpaper can be very affordable when used in remodeling a bedroom as an accent wall, or somewhat expensive, and prices for the paper and glue range from $0.20 to $0.40 per square foot. Paneling costs can be as low as wallpaper for very basic plywood and veneer material. For solid wood paneling, they can be quite high, especially if its custom pine or oak, for example. If you choose paneling, your material costs will be $0.50 to $5.00 per square foot.

DIY Painting and Wallpaper Installation or Hire a Pro?

Many people consider doing some of their own painting, and if they’re experienced and careful, can do a very nice job. However, it’s surprising how bad a poor paint job can look, where rolled edges show or places are inadequately covered.

It’s much the same for hanging wallpaper. It requires being able to use a level, tools for smoothing the wallpaper without damaging it, a utility knife for cutting and trimming and a few other assorted tools. Wall preparation is also a key factor in getting the job done right. Drywall must be primed, painted walls need to be sanded to ensure good adhesion, and bumps or imperfections need to be filled and sanded or they will show through the paper.

In some respects, paneling might be the easiest for some to install. It requires being comfortable with a power saw and being very accurate with cuts and with a level.

If you don’t have the skills, the time or simply don’t want the hassle, hiring a professional is the right choice. You’ll get a professional job, and if you don’t, you’ll have recourse for making it look right. If you decide to have the work done by a pro, their costs will generally amount to 25% to 50% of the entire job, depending on the material being installed.

When working with contractors, get at least 3 written estimates for the job. You can then compare quotes while evaluating the experience and expertise of the contractors which is the most important part of getting a job that looks great. Most contractors offer free quotes with no strings attached.

Adding a fresh coat of paint offers the highest return on investment of just about anything you can do in your home. It’s quick, fairly affordable and can make a big difference. Wallpaper and paneling can do the same thing, but for a bit more money –quite a bit for high-end solid wood paneling. All of these are cost-effective ways to give your home a makeover that can boost its value and increase your enjoyment of the home.

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