Wallpaper - What You Need to Know About the Different Types of Wallpaper

Wallpaper has come a long ways in recent decades, gone are the nauseating floral patterns and nightmarishly difficult application and removal processes. Wallpaper today is a viable, stylish alternative to decorative paint and faux finishes that won't make you want to rip your hair out during installation or removal. Durability has also increased, making modern wallpapers less susceptible to scuffs and tears and more resilient to scrubbing and washing. The durability of wallpaper today matches or even exceeds that of painted surfaces. Thanks to an influx of creative designs and manufacturing improvements, wallpaper has bounced from the proverbial edge of interior decor back into the mainstream. This article covers the three most commonly used types of wallpaper materials and their strengths and weaknesses. This guide will give you a good idea as to the different characteristics to be aware of when choosing wallpaper, and how those characteristics affect the performance of the wallpaper.
First let's cover the two key considerations: durability and 'clean-ability'. Durability is the ability of the wallpaper to stand up to the various abuses it will be subjected to. These can include abrasion, impact damage, and moisture damage. It is particularly important to have durable wallpaper near high traffic areas and in areas that are prone to high levels of moisture. These areas include entryways, laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and kids' rooms.
Closely related to a wallpaper's durability is its ability to stand up to cleaning chemicals and scrubbing. This is less important in low traffic areas or areas that are out of reach, as they will not need to be cleaned frequently. But areas that will be subject to frequent staining and cleaning such as in the kitchen or bathroom will need to be covered with a wallpaper that can stand up to repeated scrubbing.
Now let's take a look at the different kinds of wallpapers themselves. There is Vinyl Coated Paper, Paper Backed Vinyl, and Fabric Backed Vinyl. Their details are below:
1. Vinyl Coated Paper is by far the most commonly used wallpaper. Its popularity is due to its balance of cost effectiveness and durability. Vinyl Coated Paper consists of paper treated and sealed with acrylic vinyl or polyvinyl chloride. Vinyl Coated Paper is known for being easy to clean and moisture resistant. It is appropriate for virtually all interior residential applications including tough areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
2. Paper Backed Vinyl is slightly less common type of wallpaper (although it is still widely used). It is sometimes known by another name: Solid Sheet Vinyl. Paper Backed Vinyl is used less often due to its inferior resistance to impact damage and abrasion. Also, it does not hold up as well as Vinyl Coated Paper to cleaning and scrubbing.
3. Finally there is Fabric Backed Vinyl, by far the most durable of the three! Fabric Backed Vinyl is extremely durable and extremely resistant to cleaning and scrubbing. Fabric Backed Vinyl is generally more expensive than Vinyl Coated Paper and is found more frequently in commercial applications than residential ones. Fabric Backed Vinyl is known for being resistant to extreme conditions including excessive oil staining, moisture, humidity and frequent abrasive cleaning and scrubbing.

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