Career Profile: Paperhangers

Career Profile: Paperhangers

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

On your walls at home, you might have wallpaper designs like stripes, trees, or birds. Wallpaper can make a room look bright and cheerful, but someone needs to put it up before people can enjoy it. Paperhangers can do that. If you like to work with your hands and to make houses look good, the job of paperhanger might be right for you.

Like in many other trades, paperhangers can either learn on the job or complete an apprenticeship program taking several months or more. The job involves covering walls or ceilings with wallpaper, fabric, or posters. Often, this involves first removing the old wallpaper or scraping off chipped paint before hanging the new wallpaper.

Paperhangers measure the right length of wallpaper to fit each section of wall, apply the glue to the back of the paper, and press it onto the wall. Often, this involves matching the designs on the paper so that it looks like the wallpaper is all one piece. Any mistakes in doing this could make expensive wallpaper look bad. Neatness and attention to detail are important in this job. Taking mathematics courses in high school can help with measurements, and English courses are important for being able to read instructions.

When the paper is on the wall, paperhangers use brushes or rollers to smooth the wallpaper and make sure that there are no bubbles or gaps in the paper. They may also need to wipe off any extra glue that has been squeezed out onto the surface. If some of the edges are rough, paperhangers might need to use knives to trim off the extra parts. If the length of the piece of wallpaper is not exactly right, the paperhanger might need to trim off a section at the top or bottom. Cuts and other injuries are possible at this point, but people who take their time can often avoid problems. Working on ladders is also normally required, and paperhangers need to be careful not to fall off.

Although the job is not especially dangerous, it can be tiring. Paperhangers need to bend and stretch all day, and they are normally on their feet for hours at a time. This job is not good for anyone with back problems or anyone who has trouble with using tools. A certain amount of strength is necessary, although people do not need to be especially strong. However, having a good sense of colour and design is important, especially with clients who are unsure of what they want. Paperhangers might have to advise clients on the best wallpaper for the room and for the type of wall they want to cover.

Paperhangers work mainly at private homes, but they may also work at hotels or theatres which have wallpaper. Construction or interior design companies are possible sources of jobs, but about half of paperhangers are self-employed. Current job prospects are somewhat limited, but opportunities are available for people who are willing to move. Like in most trades, jobs are more plentiful in larger cities, but the competition can also make it difficult to find work.

Salaries for paperhangers begin at about $38,000 per year and can rise to $63,000 with experience. Although the job may be too difficult for older workers, some people can continue in it until retirement. If you have a sense of colour and style and you like to work with your hands, then it’s a good idea to do some more research on the job of paperhanger.



Big Future. “Career: Painters and Paperhangers.” https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/careers/construction-painters-paperhangers.

Careers in Construction. “Painter and Decorator.” https://www.careersinconstruction.ca/en/career/painter-and-decorator.

Careers.org. “Occupational Profile for Paperhangers.” http://www.careers.org/occupations/47-2142.00/paperhangers.

Owl Guru. “Paperhangers.” https://www.owlguru.com/career/paperhangers/.

Salary Expert. “Wallpaper Hanger.” https://www.salaryexpert.com/salary/job/wallpaper-hanger/canada.

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