Laminating Project Cost
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How Much Does it Cost to Laminate Paper?

Last Updated on January 18, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Looking to preserve important documents or make professional looking signs? Laminating paper is an easy and affordable way to protect paper from wear, liquids, rips or creases. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about laminating paper including costs, where to get laminating services, and tips for best results.

Laminating coats paper with a thin flexible plastic film to make it more durable and long-lasting. Laminated paper resists fading, stains, and damage from regular handling. From important legal papers to classroom learning aids, laminated sheets have hundreds of practical uses while only adding a few cents per page in cost.

Understanding typical per-page or per-square-foot laminating prices will help you budget for any project needs. Let’s look at what factors impact the cost of laminating paper.

Highlights

Laminating is an affordable way to make documents more durable and professional-looking. Here are some important tips to remember:

  • Retail copy shops charge $1 to $5 per standard page on average
  • Letter-size lamination typically costs $1 to $2 each
  • Shop retail rates and look for bulk order discounts
  • Owning a laminator saves the most on high-volume use
  • Only laminate when needed to control costs

How Much Does it Cost to Laminate Paper?

It costs $1.99 to $2.49 to laminate a letter-size page, while poster laminating can cost $6.49 to $31.99, depending on where you’re getting it done, its size, and so on. Most office supply stores, shipping centers, and print shops offer on-site laminating services for walk-in convenience:

  • Staples – Charges $1.99 to laminate up to letter-sized pages. Format poster laminated at Staples costs $6.49 for 24” x 36”.
  • Office Depot – Page laminating costs $1.79. If you want to laminate blueprint-size engineering documents, these cost $6.99 per linear foot.
  • FedEx – Provides laminating from $1.19 for letter-sized sheets up to $26.99 for 24” x 36” posters.
  • UPS Store – Letter or legal-sized lamination is $2.49 per sheet. Oversize poster/banner lamination costs range from $6.99 to $31.99 each.
  • Local Print Shops – On average, small copy and print shops offer laminating from $1 to $5 per standard page. Ask about volume discounts.

While retail laminating or using a commercial laminator is quick and easy, it comes at a premium cost per page. Purchasing your own laminator allows high-volume usage at the lowest cost.

What Impacts the Cost of Laminating Paper?

On average, laminating paper costs $1 to $5 per standard page depending on source, thickness, and quantity. However, exact laminating costs depend on:

  • Location – Getting paper laminated at copy shops costs more than DIY laminating. Retail rates range from $1 – $5 per page on average.
  • Laminating Pouch Size – The cost directly relates to the dimensions of the pouch. Expect to pay about $1 per letter-sized page.
  • Lamination Thickness (Mil) – Thicker 7 and 10 mil laminating film is more expensive but offers greater protection.
  • Finishing Options – Glossy, matte, or luster finishes have little impact on cost. But rounded corners or sealing the edges cost extra.
  • Quantity – Laminating in bulk lowers the per-page cost. High-volume orders can be 50% less than small quantities.

The price to laminate a standard 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper runs between $1 – $5 depending on these important factors. Let’s look closer at laminating costs by source and quantity.

DIY Laminating Machine Costs

Laminators allow unlimited use for a one-time purchase price in the $25 to $75 range:

  • Amazon Basics Thermal Laminator – $24.99 with multiple pouch sizes available. Good for home and classroom use.
  • Scotch Thermal Laminator – $34.99 model laminates items up to 9” wide. Handles 175 pages per hour.
  • Fellowes Saturn 3i 125 Laminator – $74.99 high volume laminator with 12.5” width capacity and large feed tray.
  • Apache AL13 Thermal Laminator – Commercial grade machine priced around $1,100 with industrial performance and output.

Once you own a laminator, the only ongoing cost is purchasing laminator film pouches. Prices range from $0.10 to $0.50 per pouch depending on dimensions and mil thickness. Smaller pieces of paper like business cards will be cheaper.

Laminating 400 pages per month would cost $40 using a retail service. The same quantity costs around $20 in supplies using your own machine. The initial investment pays back quickly with high usage.

Oversized Document Laminating Costs

Standard letter or legal-sized laminating costs about a dollar per page. But larger oversized document or poster laminating often is priced by the square foot. Here are typical rates:

  • 11”x17” Documents– ~$2 each
  • Large Posters – $3 to $5 per square foot
  • Blueprints – $5 to $10 per square foot
  • Maps, Charts, Artwork, Photos – $5 to $10+ per square foot

Add $5 to $15 per square foot for mounting oversize items to rigid backing boards for display use. Retail shipping locations usually offer the most convenient oversized laminating. Costs vary by region.

You should also read our articles about the cost of laptop hinge repair, gravestone engraving, and Costco passport photos.

For industrial oversized document laminating exceeding 3 feet wide, many digital printers like FedEx Office offer media lamination services starting around $8 per square foot.

Factors That Increase Laminating Costs

A few special options or extra steps can also drive up the price per page:

  • Rush Orders – Getting something laminated in 1 hour or less often costs 2-3 times standard rates. Plan ahead to save.
  • Premium Edges – Rounded corners or sealed edges for moisture protection cost $2 to $5 more per item.
  • Specialty Laminates – Anti-glare, writeable dry-erase, and other films cost slightly extra per page.
  • Mounting & Boards – Adhering posters or signs to backing boards adds $5 or more per square foot.
  • Volume Discounts – Retail laminating services offer lower rates for big orders. Check for high quantity price breaks to save on big projects.

While retail laminating is fast and convenient for small quantities, consider buying a laminator or negotiating volume discounts to get the lowest laminating costs per page for big projects.

Tips for Getting Paper Laminated Inexpensively

Laminating MaterialsHere are some tips to get laminating done at the lowest price:

  • Compare local print shop rates and look for coupons or bulk order deals
  • Buy your own laminator for unlimited in-house use if laminating frequently
  • Only use thicker pouches when needed so regular pouches cost less
  • Ask schools and libraries if community members can rent laminators
  • Utilize laminating machines at schools, churches, or community centers for minimal fees
  • Share a laminator with friends, family, or colleagues and save on the purchase price
  • Purchase laminating pouches in bulk online for the deepest volume discounts

With some cost comparison shopping and buying in larger quantities, you can get professional quality laminated paper for just pennies per page. Having access to your own machine Whenever needed saves the most over time.

Should You Laminate Paper at Home or Use a Service?

Laminating paper yourself using a laminator offers these benefits compared to using retail services:

Pros

  • Much lower long-term costs for frequent laminating
  • Fast, unlimited access without leaving home or office
  • Wider pouch size selection for unique items
  • Better control over pouch thickness and quality

Cons

  • Higher upfront cost of buying a laminator
  • Need storage space for the machine and supplies
  • Time spent maintaining and troubleshooting issues

Retail laminating services are best for:

  • Occasional small laminating jobs
  • Unique items like oversize posters
  • Thicker 10 or 20 mil film not used in home machines
  • Maximum convenience without any setup

Decide whether the savings outweigh the hassle of buying and operating your own laminator. Retail services make more sense for very occasional laminating. But frequent high-volume usage gets the lowest price per page with a personal or office laminator.

Final Words

Knowing typical per-page laminating costs and sources will ensure your next project stays within budget. With some careful shopping, you can get top-quality laminated paper for just penned per sheet.

Alec Pow
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