Blog written by Walls Revived Inc. in Edmonton
I once read an Instagram post by a local mural artist claiming that murals can be cheaper than wallpaper. Perhaps…but there are many factors to consider, and the two are tough to compare directly, but let’s try!
Here’s a disclaimer: there is no standard wallpaper installation or mural painting price – each tradesperson charges according to the project specs and their experience. The purpose of this article is to try and compare both in design, cost, and ease of removal.
A quick background about me – I am a red & blue seal journeyman painter & decorator who mainly focuses on repainting interior homes with sprinkles of wallpaper and faux finish projects. I have yet to paint a mural, but I would be quite capable as I have a creative flair, steady hand, and background in fine arts. The opportunity has never materialized, so for now, I leave it to talented mural artists.
The sky’s the limit! Scrolling through Instagram, I’ve seen some amateur-looking murals, to wonderous works of art. I admire the artists creating these one-of-a-kind feature walls. Working with the clients to conceptualize an idea or recreating an existing design makes murals appeal to anyone craving something unique and personal. Metallic or textured paint can add a new dimension to these creations.
This industry has come a long way within the last decade, and we’ve seen a resurgence and reinvention of the product (i.e., peel n stick). The options to choose from are endless. From realistic brick & shiplap patterns, embossed damask designs, texture-rich grasscloth to full wall customized landscapes and anything else you can imagine. You can spend hours perusing online stores. Often product pricing and ordering are an easy click away. Note: A common mistake is ordering based on wall square footage and not accounting for adequate waste.
Quality does matter for the installation and longevity of the product. I would recommend you purchase the best wallcovering your budget can afford. Wallpaper prices can range from $20/roll to $100 or more. Side by side, you will notice a difference in thickness, texture, ink, inset shimmer, etc. The variety of wallcoverings and widths can affect the installation labour and material costs.
On average, a good quality roll of wallpaper will cost $65, which will typically yield three strips. An average-sized bedroom feature wall needs approximately eight strips; therefore, three rolls are required. The total cost of $195 + possible shipping and tax. Adhesive @ $30 is extra. Installation labour will range, but on average, it would be $440. It’s fair to say for one feature wall it could cost $665 + tax
At the very least, you should see a portfolio of the artist’s past projects and the associated costs. This will require some inquiries as artists don’t readily list their prices.
We need to consider the artwork’s intricacy, paint colours, materials, etc. Let’s assume the artist charges an hourly rate of $75. Paint and materials would be additional. Let’s say a modest eight hours of labour and five colours (a quart of quality paint is $30). This adds up to $750 + tax. There might also be additional design/consultation costs.
EASE OF REMOVAL
This can be a breeze or your worst nightmare. Wallcoverings installed with an adhesive can be challenging to remove and often need a stripper agent. Peel N Stick products that claim easy removal should just lift off the wall, therefore offsetting their initial higher cost. I’ve installed heavy-duty vinyl sticker-backed murals that I doubt will come off with ease and will most likely tear off the top layer of drywall. It could be a gamble for removal and might be a consideration when selecting the product.
When it’s time for a change, or you inherited a mural with a home purchase, you’ll need to paint over it. But it may not be so simple! Free-hand or tape-assisted murals will most definitely have a raised profile or edge. If you simply paint over it without sanding it down or skim-coating with a drywall compound, you will see an outline of the design underneath. If the mural was drawn with a permanent marker-type pen or similar, this could bleed through the latex paint. It needs to be primed with a stain blocker. It’s best to expect some effort and added costs to cover a mural.
If you’re interested in a feature wall, contact Walls Revived for more information!