Wallpaper vs. Paint Part 2 – A Contractor’s Perspective

Wallpaper vs. Paint

From a Contractor’s Perspective

wallpaper vs paint - wallpaper installation elgin il


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In our last blog article, Wallpaper vs Paint: Part 1, we gave some straightforward dry information from several experts on the difference or “VS” between wallpaper and painting. This time, we get a little more down-to-earth from the perspective of the wallpaper installers who install the wallpaper and the painters who paint.

The time has come to decorate for the first time. Maybe the wallpaper in your home or office is older than the Maytag man still waiting to fix your dishwasher. You may just be tired of the Miami Vice pastel collection. Are you looking to have the work done in a home or commercial office? (and does that even matter?)

So once again, we discuss Wallpaper vs Paint.

  • Where will you be painting or wallpapering?
  • What colors, design, or style are you looking for?
  • How long do you want either the paint or wallpaper?
  • Budget-the cost to paint vs wallpapering?


Are you painting or wallpapering your home or a commercial space?

  • Contractors who paint and or wallpaper in homes are usually more available than those who work commercial jobs. Schedules for commercial jobs can be more demanding with starting and completion time frames. Insurance requirements for home or commercial are very different, so home paint and wallpaper installers may not be properly insured for commercial work.
  • The lifespan of paint in a home differs from that of a commercial environment. Commercial spaces have decidedly more wear and tear than in a home. On average 3-4 years paint is in need of a touch up or repainting. A commercial-grade wallpaper has a lifespan of 15 years.
  • You can check out a short video that we did on YouTube with some commercial wallpaper for residential buildings.

Color, design, style

What color, design, or style do you want?

wallpaper vs paint - commercial wallpaper huntley

Commercial wallpaper (digital mural)

  • The great thing about paint is you can change it often, quickly, and in radically different colors. You can even create your own colors!
  • If you start looking at decorating TV shows or magazines, you can see a great degree of design styles. Textures, shapes, designs, prints, and patterns are all part of the overall feel you are looking for. Some of these you cannot achieve simply by using paint.
  • However, the world of Faux finishing can bridge that gap. (this will be a future blog post; too much detail to discuss here) Faux finishes use different types of paints, substrates, stencils, tools, and materials to duplicate some wallpaper patterns/styles. Wallpaper comes off the wall when you want a change, faux finishes are a little more tricky to remove (unless they have been installed over a removable wallpaper-you can say it is ok-what? Why bother doing a Faux then?)
  • Faux finishes and paint have no seams on the wall. Wallpaper will always have seams or edges.
  • Murals painted or wallpapered is another style that can be a separate blog in itself. Have it hand-painted on-site, as you want it seamless. Then you can also have it printed on wallpaper and installed, removed, and reinstalled somewhere else.
  • Texture fabrics on your walls or ceilings change your home’s feel. If you get into acoustic wallpaper, you get into a whole new level of noise and feel of a room. There are some manufacturers of acoustic wallcoverings that are in use for special needs of people sensitive to sound in a given space.


What if I want to change the color or wallpaper? How long will it last?”

Some of this section is stated on the blog already but just worded differently.

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Faux Finished Wallpaper

  • How long do you want the paint or paper? Paint should be looked at in 3-4 years. Wallpaper will last as long as it is cared for and not abused.
  • If you are tired of paint, you just paint again
  • If you are tired of the wallpaper, you have to remove it from the wall, wash the walls, then start with either new wallpaper or paint
  • Anything you paint on your wall is usually part of the wall. Wallpapers can be removed and made to relocate.


What will this cost me?

At the end of the day, what you want and how much you want to spend is what it comes down to. Know your budget ahead of time. Read some of the blog posts on our website for costs, and then you can make the right decision.

  • Paint is about .95 (to start) per square foot plus materials for two coats.
  • Faux finishing is going to be $2.50 per square foot plus materials to start (and it will go up). Color, texture, and layers all affect cost.
  • The wallpaper will cost you the wallpaper, materials to install it (primers and adhesive), and labor. For an average room to be completed in a day, it will cost you about $550 to install it.

So wallpaper vs. paint? Not easy to answer. It really comes down to personal preference and what you are looking for. There is no wrong answer; it is all about what you want. what do you think? We would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call or ask us about your upcoming project. Chicagoland- we are here to help!

Wallpaper Vs Paint

Wallpaper vs Paint – What to Consider
Cost Analysis by Canada Wallcoverings Corp.

While few people would debate the aesthetic excellence of wallpaper vs paint, some might be surprised to learn that over time, vinyl wallcoverings are also a wise economical choice. According to the latest Hite Report, developed for The Bell Systems by Jim Hite, life-cycle analysis shows that wallcoverings now last five times longer than paint under normal usage conditions. Most vinyl wallpaper can retain their original beauty and performance characteristics for at least 15 years, whereas a painted surface must be cleaned more frequently to maintain its appearance, and generally requires repainting approximately every three years.

While the initial investment is higher, choosing vinyl wallpaper over paint can result in a savings of 30% or more over time. The following model is based on commercial usage. In home decor, the savings can be even greater. Our model is in United States Dollars and based on information from the Hite Report. The model is a 384 square foot office. Assuming that the initial cost to prime and paint is $173.00 (or $0.45 per sq. ft.) and that the room will be repainted every 3 years, the cost of maintaining this office over a 15 year period, with paint, will be $1,037.00, provided the cost of material and labor does not increase over the next 15 years. Using vinyl wallcoverings estimated at $1.69 per square foot including cost and installation, we assume a worker will wash the walls every five years at a cost of $0.33 per sq. ft., bringing the cost to $1.79 per sq. ft. over a 15 year period to $687.00. In dollar values, the cost of maintaining paint is $1,037.00 as opposed to $687.00 with wallpaper vs paint over the same period of time. A savings of over 35%!

Aesthetic Appeal

Modern wallcoverings contain aesthetic appeal unmatched by painted surfaces. Consider painted surfaces in their various states as compared to wallpaper:

  • Flat Color: One room, one color.
  • Accent Wall: One room, one color except for one uniquely colored wall.
  • Textured Paint: Paint containing a media to give it texture.
  • Custom Paint: Mural designs using paint.
  • Faux Finishes: Custom paint designs that add pattern and depth.

While most people are familiar with these major painting techniques, many are uninformed as to their counterparts in wallpaper. As well, few know of the unique features that one can only obtain with wallpaper vs paint.

  • Flat Color: Though not particularly popular, there are single color wallpapers available.
  • Accent Wall: Can be achieved by utilizing wallpaper on one wall.
  • Textured Paint: There are many varieties of textured wallpaper from plain to ornate.
  • Custom Paint: Wallpaper manufacturers have a wide variety of mural wallpaper.
  • Faux Finishes: Most popular faux finishes have their wallpaper counterparts.
  • Historic Aspect: Imagine a Victorian style house without wallpaper.
  • Digital: Computer generated designs custom printed onto wallpaper.
  • Photographic: Consider creating custom wallpaper using family photos.
  • Bridging Material: Using this special blank wallpaper, one can eliminate the costly and messy removal and repair of an unattractive textured or damaged wall surface.
  • Faux Surface: Applying an expanded texture wallpaper followed by paint is a way to replicate the look of an expensive tin ceiling or intricate molding with a greatly reduced cost.
  • Natural Surface: Discover the luxury of natural fibers on the wall such as jute, grasscloth, or bamboo among others.
  • Fabric Walls: Cover your walls with your favorite fabric. Fabric may be hung as it comes off the bolt or backed and coated for increased durability as a true wallcovering.
  • Wood Surfaces: The application of wood veneer wallcovering in a variety of species adds formality at a fraction of the cost of a traditional wood paneling.

Increased Functionality

Consider the use of the following specialized wallcoverings:

  • Whiteboard wallcovering: Allows the use of special dry erase markers for presentations or notes. Though predominately used in commercial settings, this type of wallcovering would also be excellently suited for a child’s room.
  • Magnetic wallcovering: Allows the use of magnetic appliqués for presentations. Though predominately used in commercial settings, this type of wallcovering would also be excellently suited for a child’s room.
  • Electromagnetic shielding wallcovering: Used in commercial applications to reduce the amount of electromagnetic interference associated with many industrial applications such as computer rooms.
  • Scented wallpaper: A wallpaper comprised of fibers that naturally give off a soothing fragrance such as lavender or jasmine. Deodorizing wallpaper: Wallpaper infused with charcoal particles which act as a natural deodorizer.
  • Acoustic wallcovering: Though traditionally associated with commercial applications, these are more commonly utilized in homes with expensive surround sound systems or home theaters. These wallcoverings are specifically engineered to absorb sound energy.
  • Glow in the dark wallcovering: Create a funky black light environment with fluorescent wallpaper.
  • Cork wallcovering: Useful as either a bulletin board, a natural sound deadening material, a natural wallcovering, a textured wallcovering, or a combination of its many functions.
  • Metallic or organic wallcovering: Imagine the impact of real copper or mica flakes as a wallcovering.
  • Leather wallcovering: Consider the unparalleled warmness that only be obtained with a leather wallcovering.

Want to use wallcoverings? Contact us to get started on your project!

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