How to Become a Paperhanger

Applying a variety of coverings to walls is an essential part of decorating residential and commercial structures. Paperhangers are trained workers that apply a variety of materials to walls, ceilings, and many other interior surfaces.


This How to Become a Paperhanger review has been thoroughly researched with information and testimonials that are available to anyone in the public. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.

What does a paperhanger do?

Paperhangers typically apply wallpaper, fabric coverings, and vinyl to interior surfaces for decoration and preservation purposes. They prepare the surface by making sure it is clean and smooth and they then apply a compound that seals the area and helps the material adhere more effectively. They then measure the area, inspect the covering material, and apply the adhesive and covering. They make sure the covering is smooth and they remove any wrinkles or bubbles. Paperhangers also patch holes and fix imperfections as necessary. When paperhangers are working on surfaces that need to be redecorated, they often remove the old covering by steaming, soaking, or applying chemicals.

What kind of training does a paperhanger need?

Paperhangers typically need at least a high school diploma. Some paperhangers complete formal training programs through vocational and technical schools and others complete apprenticeship programs that combine classroom instruction and paid on the job training. Many apprenticeship programs are sponsored by union organizations and they provide aspiring paperhangers with instruction on blueprint reading, application techniques, the use and care of required tools and equipment, safety, and cost estimation of projects. Many paperhangers start out as helpers and advance to paperhangers as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Most employers provide on the job training to enable new paperhangers to learn the necessary policies and procedures. New paperhangers often start out completing simple tasks and move on to more advanced duties as they gain experience.

What are the prospects for a career as a paperhanger?

Employment of paperhangers is expected to decline rapidly, decreasing 14% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increase in homeowners switching to cheaper wall covering alternatives will contribute to the employment decline.

Job opportunities are expected to be limited due to the employment decline. Paperhangers with extensive experience and specialties in a variety of materials will have the best job prospects.

How much do paperhangers make?

As of January 2010, paperhangers with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $10.39 and $18.44. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average hourly rates between $12.33 and $17.32 (2).

A career as a paperhanger is an excellent choice for people with a strong interest in applying a variety of wall coverings for residential and commercial structures. Paperhangers must have a solid understanding of many different wall covering materials and application techniques. Manual dexterity, physical stamina, detail orientation, good vision, and a good sense of color are necessary characteristics. Paperhangers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of customers and other workers. They must be able to effectively work independently as well as part of a team.

Elijah Olivas
Founder | 9 To 5 Renegade

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