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All About Wallpaper

Choosing new wallpaper can sometimes be a little overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. We have put together a list of the top wallpapers to help you better understand what makes each unique so that you can choose the best fit for your project.

 

1. VINYL WALLPAPER

Vinyl wallpaper is one of the most popular choices for a reason.  Vinyl wallpaper is fairly inexpensive, very durable and scrubbable.  It doesn’t fade and is and easy to hang and remove.  Vinyl also has different options to choose from so you should be able to find one to suit whatever project you are working on.

There are a few downsides to vinyl that are important to note before purchasing.  First, vinyl does not allow your walls to breath.  What that means is that any trapped moisture can’t evaporate through the vinyl and may lead to mold issues.  Secondly some vinyl wallpaper will expand or contract depending on the temperature causing the seams to gap or ripple

  •  Solid Sheet Vinyl – This is your basic wallpaper. It is a solid sheet of vinyl that can be a plain flat surface or embossed for a beautiful texture.  It is resistant to scratching and tearing so it works well in children’s rooms. Because it is waterproof it is great in rooms that have high humidity. Being waterproof can also make it harder to remove than the other vinyls, but there are tools today that make it much easier.
  • Vinyl Coated Paper – This is another durable choice for your home. It is made with paper that has a protective coating of acrylic vinyl on it, making it waterproof, scrubbable, resistant to heat, humidity and grease.  Because of its great durability it can be used in any room of the house with great success.  It is also easier to remove than its solid vinyl counterpart. 
  • Vinyl Coated Fabric – Another great choice for a durable wall treatment, fabric is coated with acrylic vinyl to create a beautiful textured wallpaper that looks wonderful in a sitting room or dining room.
  • Paper Backed Vinyl – This is made by laminating paper to the back of a solid sheet of vinyl. Because of this process it is actually thicker than most other wall coverings and can help you hide any wall imperfection.  It is also very durable.  If the paper backing is exposed to moisture on a regular basis this will cause the paper and vinyl to separate and the wallpaper to eventually fall away from the wall and need replacing.  This does not mean it is not a good choice for most of your home, but not the best choice for your kitchen and bathroom.
  • Fabric Backed Vinyl - Fabric backed vinyl is a great choice for any room in your home. It’s made by laminating a piece of woven fabric to a solid sheet of vinyl making it thick enough to hide rough or blemished walls. Besides being very durable and versatile it is also very easy to remove and peels away in full strips if you have primed your wall properly.  Used for home and business, it comes in different levels of durability that accommodate light, medium and heavy grade.  Most homes will only need the light grade... unless you have kids… or pets… or both!  

 

2. NON-WOVEN WALLPAPER

Non-woven wallpaper is fast becoming the most popular choice for wallpaper.  It is a completely vinyl free option that’s breathable, washable and durable.  The paper is made up of a special blend of natural and synthetic fibers similar to what can be found in tea bags or coffee filters, making it a great choice for anyone who is sensitive to their environment.  The fibers allow your walls to breathe so they do not hold moisture which can lead to mold development. 

Non-woven wallpaper is a simple and easy product to work with.  Not only is it easy to install but is very easy to remove in dry full sheets without special tools or chemicals.  It is amazing as it can be completely removed from your wall is you need to do repairs on the wall itself.  When you are ready you can reapply easily and quickly.  Non-woven paper can also be painted so you will always be able to find the perfect colour to match your home.

 

3. GRASSCLOTH WALLPAPER

Grasscloth is made of woven cotton thread and a variety of natural or synthetic fibers adhered to a rice paper backing that creates a textured wallpaper.  There are many different fibers that can be used such as jute, bamboo, sisal, arrowroot and silk which determine whether the finished product has a fine or course texture. The texture allows you to hide rough walls as well as mask holes from picture hooks etc.  The natural weave does not allow pattern match and leaves seams visible creating a panel effect.

It is very important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation.  Using the wrong adhesive can lead to stains on the paper or having it all fall down.  Grasscloth is not suitable for high traffic areas where it will be exposed to moisture or stains.  Any moisture splashed on it will leave a stain that can’t be removed, so it is non-washable. 

Because it takes more time to install it is sometimes used as an accent for a wall or a panel instead of the whole room.  You can paint over some Grasscloth with some special prepping but it will still show its texture through the paint so know what you want to accomplish before you paint.

 

4. FLOCKED WALLPAPER

Flocked wallpaper is a very well-known wall treatment consisting of a paper backing with a “velvet” pattern on it.  Today’s manufacturers use small nylon, rayon or polyester particles onto an adhesive surface.  You can choose from a soft velvety pattern or a hard texture like pointy paint splatters.

Unless otherwise stated you should never wash flocked wallpaper, instead gently vacuuming or wiping it to keep the dust off.  There are also wallpaper cleaning putties/doughs that you can get that will help with cleaning.  Because it cannot easily be cleaned you should be careful what room you hang flocked paper in, preferably not a high traffic room or one that has a lot of moisture.

  

5. BAMBOO WALLPAPER

Natural bamboo wallpaper is handcrafted wallpaper with different variations of colors and textures and is made with environment – friendly natural material and will add a distinctive look to your home and office. It is made by applying bamboo reeds, or vines onto a paper backing with glue.  Bamboo Wallpaper will create a paneling look on the walls due to the natural pattern which leaves seams showing when installed.

It is very important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation as using the wrong adhesive can lead to stains on the bamboo.  It can also be affected by high moisture and isn’t washable. Bamboo wallpapers are not recommended for kitchen or bathrooms. Many manufacturers recommend cleaning with a gentle dusting or vacuuming. Bamboo must be wet to remove, removal is easy to moderate.

  

6. CORK WALLPAPER (CORK VENEER)

These wallpapers are ideal for any room in your home and are available in tiles, panels and strips.  Cork wallpaper is a natural, decorative and modern alternative for traditional wall and ceiling. It is usually up-cycled and a very environmentally friendly choice for your home, with the added benefit of insulating your home from heat and cold.  Unless specified, cork wallpaper is not suitable in high humidity areas and is not washable.

Cork veneer is shaved from cork planks or blocks and laminated to a substrate that may be coloured or plain.  It has variegated texture with no definite pattern or design.

  

7. WOOD, WOOD VENEER & WOOD CHIP WALLPAPER

For a great way to bring part of the natural environment into your home in a unique way, you may want to consider wallpaper that is made from wood. This is excellent choice if you suffer from allergies or environmental sensitivities.

  • Wood Veneer – Wood veneer is a thin coating of genuine wood that has been bonded onto a fabric, paper, plywood, or other substrate.  Due to natural patterns and unique grain you do not match patterns and instead get a panel effect with seams showing. Wood veneers are used mostly in the office or conference room along with some other specialty areas, such as large columns.
  • Wood Chip - Wood chip is a relatively inexpensive wallpaper consisting of small chips of wood on the finished side of a basic paper base. A number of grades of wood chip paper are available that range from fine chips of wood to quite coarse pieces. Wood chip is ideal for hiding small defects in walls/ceiling and is usually finished by applying paint after the paper has fully dried. The finish depends upon the choice of paint used and on the type of paint originally applied. An inexpensive face-lift can be had by repainting.

 

8. TEXTILE WALLPAPER

Textile wallpaper comes in many colours, patterns and textures that make it usable in any room from very casual to elegantly formal.  It is usually made of cotton, linen and other natural plant fibers or synthetic fibers, often bonded to a paper backing.  This home wallpaper gives the look and feel of fabric, velvet, silk, linen or cotton - depending on the composition.

Textile Wallpaper gets affected by moisture, and quickly absorbs odours, so it needs cleaning to keep it in fresh condition.  This wallpaper requires dry cleaning or vacuuming and unless otherwise stated you never clean it with water.

  • Natural Textile Wallpaper - Natural Textiles are laminated to a backing of acrylic or paper to give them stability and to prevent the adhesive from coming through to the surface.  Natural textiles can be finely designed or coarse in texture depending on the desired look.
  • Synthetic/Polyolefin Textile Wallpaper - Synthetic/Polyolefin textile wallpapers are made to look like natural textiles in appearance but are made with synthetic fibers that have acrylic or paper backing.  These wall coverings have increased stain and damage resistance which makes them suitable for high traffic areas.

  

9. FOIL WALLPAPER

Foil wallpapers are quite striking and add a dramatic, contemporary look to any room. They are created by applying a thin sheet of metallic foil to a paper backing with different finishes like marble, dull sheen or a bright reflective surface.  The most popular colors are gold, silver and copper. Some types of foil can be polished with a dry cloth to maintain their sheen.

Foil Wallpapers are also available with patterns similar to traditional wallpaper, but the design is screen-printed onto the surface so it will not soften when it becomes wet. This also means the pattern never repeats itself and can’t be matched. 

Foil wallpaper is very difficult to hang. The foil is extremely thin so it wrinkles and tears easily.  It is essential that the wall surface is carefully prepared, treated or covered with lining paper first as every little imperfection will be seen. Unless otherwise stated they are not washable and are not recommended in rooms with humidity.

NoteWhen applying foil around light switches and outlets -- cut the material a good distance away, as metal foil conducts electricity.

  • Fabric-Backed Foil Wallpaper - This type of wallpaper will hide some wall imperfections.  The metallic finish can crease and wrinkle so take extra care when pasting and installing.  Fabric-backed Foil Wallpapers are very durable after installation.
  • Fiberglass-Backed Foil Wallpaper - The metallic finish will crease and wrinkle so take extra care when pasting and installing.  Walls must be smooth and in good condition for installing this wallpaper.  This type of foil wallpaper is easy to remove in full strips.  Fiberglass-Backed Foil Wallpapers are washable.
  • Paper-Backed Foil Wallpaper - This wallpaper is very delicate to install and very hard to remove.  Liner wallpaper is recommended before installing most Paper-Backed Foil Wallpapers.  The metallic finish will easily crease and wrinkle so be extra careful when pasting and installing.  Walls must be smooth and in excellent condition before hanging this type of wallpaper.  It is also washable.
  • Mylar Wallpaper by DuPont - Mylar wallpaper is the brand name of wallpaper with a wet or shiny appearance similar to foil wallpaper. This type of wallpaper is printed on a paper backing with a polyester film applied on top of a decorative design. This makes it washable and moisture resistant so that it is usable in bathrooms and kitchens.  Mylar wallpaper creases easily so care is needed in pasting and hanging.  It will show wall defects so walls must be smooth and in excellent condition. It is fairly easy to remove. 

  

10. FABRIC WALLPAPER

Fabric wallpaper is a high quality product that creates a sense of well-being.  It can be made of silk, cotton, linen, felt, raffia, twine or feathers which gives it a gorgeous effect.  Fabric Wallpapers are breathable, flame-retardant, stain-resistant and provide exceptional insulation quality. They are extremely expensive and can be hard to apply.  Unless otherwise stated they are not washable and should only be used in low traffic rooms.

  • Natural Silk Wallpaper - Threads are applied to a paper backing, creating a light elegant texture.  Take extra care when pasting and installing because the wallpaper paste stains the front surface and can’t be washed off.  Wallpaper removal is easy.  This type of wallpaper is very delicate, choose your room wisely.  Natural Silk Wallpapers are not washable.
  • Natural String Wallpaper - Natural String wallpaper is created by applying fibers to a paper backing. Texture can range from a moderate to very heavy depending on the string size applied.  The wallpaper is very delicate to work with as the paste will definitely stain the front of the wallpaper and cannot be washed off. Wallpaper removal is easy.  Natural String Wallpapers are not washable.

  

11. FIBERGLASS WALLPAPER

This wallpaper is made of glass fibers woven and bonded together to form a sheet material.  Made from natural non-toxic materials like quartz, soda, lime, and dolomite it is considered a green product.  It is flame resistant and prevents flames from spreading, a key benefit in fire safety.

Due to the way the wallpaper is produced it is incredibly strong and provides a great reinforcement to any wall or ceiling and is a great way to treat re-appearing wall cracks. It can be plastered over or painted over many times without peeling.  It is washable and very durable.

12. EASY-WALLS

Easy-Walls is an environmentally friendly wallpaper substrate. It is vinyl free, with no PVC or VOC and is printed with water based inks. Wallpaper made with this eco-chic material is pre-pasted and easy to install and easy to remove without harsh chemicals, making wallpaper décor projects a pleasure! The revolutionary Easy-Walls wallpapers are also washable and breathable, inhibiting mold and mildew.

  

12.  PAINTABLE WALLPAPER

Paintable Wallpaper is made with various materials such as paper, glass fiber, synthetic materials or textiles.  It can vary from light, random patterns to heavily embossed geometric patterns which need to be lined up strip by strip.

This is a great wallpaper for hiding defects in walls.  It is important to pay close attention to manufacturer’s instructions as not all types are washable and may not be suitable in high moisture rooms.