The Great American Wallpaper Scam.

How long is a roll of wallpaper?

As one who owned a professional painting and decorating business in the UK for a number of years, I can tell you the answer. It’s thirty-three feet, or 10.05 meters. It always was thirty-three feet, or 10.05 meters, and there’s no reason not to believe it always will be.

If you think I might be wrong, please check out the links at the foot of this page.[1][2]

It’s important that a roll of wallpaper be thirty-three feet, or 10.05 meters, because that allows for at least three drops per roll on most walls, even if the pattern drop is 20 – 24 inches.

If a roll of wallpaper was, say, sixteen and a half feet long, and the pattern drop was twenty inches, even on an eight foot high wall only one drop of paper could be utilized, leaving a near useless length of around seven feet.

One drop to a roll! Ridiculous! No-one could entertain that. The waste would make it economically unviable.

On this side of the Atlantic, Americans agree. Thirty-three feet, or 10.05 meters, is the right length for a roll of wallpaper.

Well, actually two rolls of wallpaper – in one roll.

A roll of American wallpaper is sixteen and a half feet long (I kid you not!). But as sixteen and a half feet is useless for wallpapering, US wallpaper manufacturers combine one roll into two rolls, but on one roll, if you get my drift?

Don’t worry if you don’t. I didn’t for quite some time. The whole idea is so ridiculous the human brain doesn’t handle it well – until, you realize the reason why US wallpaper manufacturers have devised this convoluted system.

They charge twice as much. They sell a single roll of thirty-three feet as a ‘double’ roll, and charge you double for it. I guess that’s why it’s called a ‘double’ roll! Of course, they’d like you to believe you’re getting twice as much on your roll, but you’re not. Thirty-three feet has been an industry standard for wallpaper rolls for forty-odd years, to my knowledge.

Recently, I purchased eight rolls of wallpaper. The website of the Sherwin-Williams Company advertised the paper at “$22.49 a roll”. They also stated, “This wallpaper is packaged in two rolls. It is priced in single rolls.”

I ordered eight rolls, expecting to receive four packages of two rolls, shrink-wrapped together, each thirty-three feet long. What I received was four individual rolls thirty-three feet long – only half as much paper as I’d expected and needed, each costing, not $22.49 but $44.98. The label informed me these individual rolls were ‘double’ rolls of paper.

To proceed with my decorating I would have to purchase double the amount of paper I’d received, at double the price. Nearly $360.00 for eight rolls of wallpaper.

No wonder they call them ‘double’ rolls. This is an obvious case of ‘double-dealing’.

To perpetrate such a scam in the United Kingdom would never be tolerated.

But then, I guess that’s what marks the difference between the evil Socialism, and Capitalism.

[1] “Wallpapers Direct (UK)”

[2] “

Postscript: Since writing this article, I’ve priced a similar wallpaper in the UK. It works out substantially cheaper to purchase in the UK and have it shipped, than to buy one’s wallpaper on High Street, USA.

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