Not all wallpaper is the same. Wall coverings differ not only in colour and pattern, but above all in the materials used and the surface application. Most of the time, the designation only says something about the backing material or the surface treatment. This usually leads to confusion. Strangely enough, vinyl wallpapers and non-woven wallpapers, for example, are often confused. Properties of non-woven wallpapers are attributed to vinyl wallpapers. However, one has nothing to do with the other - or only to a limited extent. Let's take a closer look at the different types of wallpaper and see which is which.

Wallpapers differ according to their backing material

Apart from woodchip and glass fibre, the wallpaper market is dominated by two substrate materials - paper and non-woven. There are also special wallpapers with a fabric backing. However, these are more likely to be wallpapered by a professional. Both paper wallpapers and non-woven wallpapers have very different qualities, which are not easy for the layman to recognise. For example, wallpaper with PVC foam gives the impression of being very thick and robust. But it is only the foam that makes the wallpaper thicker. It says nothing about the quality of the backing.

By and large, you can assume that very cheap wallpapers are also of poorer quality. This means that the backing material no longer has the promised properties. This is very noticeable with cheap non-woven wallpapers with thin non-woven backing. In most cases, these wallpapers cannot be removed completely dry. This means that, as with adhesive paper wallpapers, you start to soak the wallpaper when stripping it and have to scrape it down laboriously. This is certainly not what the inventor had in mind, but it accommodates the "cheap is cool" mentality.

Paper wallpapers - the classics among wallpapers

The first paper wallpapers were made in China as early as the 14th century. At that time they were still painted by hand. The first printed paper wallpapers were created in the 18th century. Today, there are paper wallpapers with different coatings and prints:

  • Simple paper wallpapers with pattern printing
  • Paper wallpapers with double paper layer (duplex)
  • Paper wallpapers with PVC foam
  • Paper wallpapers with vinyl
  • Paper wallpapers with fabric application
  • Paper wallpapers with natural materials
  • Paper wallpapers with metal coating
  • Paper wallpapers with velour
  • Photo wallpapers on paper

Paper wallpapers with vinyl coating or a PVC foam can often be split. You only peel off the top layer when wallpapering and can leave the paper as waste on the wall. With paper wallpapers, in contrast to non-woven wallpapers, you must always allow for a soaking time. Soaking causes the paper to expand and become more pliable. Depending on the wallpaper, the soaking time can be between five and ten minutes. You should allow the same soaking time to take effect for all strips.

Non-woven wallpapers - modern and easy wallpapering

Non-woven wallpapers are still very young in the history of wallpapers. The first non-woven wallpapers came onto the market around 1990. The wallpapers were developed for professional painters. However, do-it-yourselfers quickly discovered non-woven wallpapers for themselves, as they are particularly easy to apply. Today there are different types of non-woven wallpapers:

  • Simple non-woven wallpaper
  • Non-woven wallpapers with vinyl
  • Non-woven wallpapers with PVC foam
  • Non-woven wallpapers with velour
  • Non-woven wallpapers with metal coating
  • Non-woven wallpapers with fabric
  • Non-woven wallpapers with natural materials
  • Non-woven photo wallpapers

Of course, new wallpapers are always coming onto the market, because manufacturers do not stand still. 

Differentiate wallpapers according to surface

Besides the backing material, the surface coating plays a role. It is not decisive for the way of wallpapering, but for the appearance and for various properties that are important for daily use. These types of wallpaper are currently on the market:

  • Vinyl wallpaper
  • Compact vinyl wallpaper
  • PVC foam wallpaper
  • printed wallpaper
  • textured wallpaper
  • textile wallpaper
  • natural wallpaper
  • satin wallpaper
  • velour wallpaper
  • profiled wallpaper
  • metal wallpaper
  • photo wallpaper
  • murals

Colloquially, there are of course many more wallpapers. Depending on the wallpaper, the production is very different. Properties such as lightfastness, washability and fire behaviour also vary greatly depending on the wallpaper. If you are looking for an abrasion-resistant wallpaper, you should choose a vinyl wallpaper. Wallpapers with natural materials are suitable for natural living styles and metallic wallpapers have a metal coating that looks very glamorous. As you can see, it's not that easy to find the right wallpaper. In our next article, we will introduce you to the surface coatings of wallpapers.

Comments are closed.