Wallpaper has come a long way in the past few decades both in terms of the variety of designs available and in terms of its durability and performance. Technological advances have significantly improved wallpaper's resistance to staining, peeling, moisture damage, and scuffing; as well as the ease with which it can be installed or removed.
Although aesthetic factors will always be the chief consideration when installing wallpaper, there are other important aspects to consider such as the durability of the wallpaper. Below we’ll discuss the different factors that will determine how durable your wallpaper will need to be, and we’ll also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the most common types of wallpaper.
You’ll want to make sure the wallpaper you choose can stand up to the environmental abuses it will be exposed to. Kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms in particular are exposed to high levels of wear and tear including moisture, temperature fluctuations, and frequent cleaning. Also hallways, kids’ rooms, and recreation rooms are subjected to frequent impact damage.
You’ll also want to choose a wallpaper that can hold up to cleaning chemicals and scrubbing if need be. Areas that are out of reach or won’t be exposed to very much traffic don’t need to be cleaned often and therefore this is less of a factor. However wallpaper in kids’ rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, recreation rooms, and any other areas that are subject to stains will need to be able to stand up to frequent cleaning and scrubbing.
Almost all wallpaper is one of the following varieties: Vynyl Coated Paper, Paper Backed Vinyl, and Fabric Backed Vinyl.
Vinyl Coated Paper
The most common type of wallpaper is vinyl coated paper; it is paper that has been coated and sealed with acrylic vinyl or polyvinyl chloride. Vinyl coated wallpaper’s popularity is due to its durability and cleanability. Moisture resistant, durable, and easy to clean, it can be used in virtually any application including kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kids’ rooms. Vinyl coated paper is considered both scrubable and strippable.
Paper Backed Vinyl/Solid Sheet Vinyl
Similar to vinyl coated wallpaper, paper backed vinyl is durable and resistant to moisture and staining. Although paper backed vinyl is considered scrubable, it will not hold up to excessive scrubbing and is susceptible to abrasion damage in general.
Fabric Backed Vinyl
Fabric backed vinyl is extremely durable and is often used in commercial applications. These types of wallpapers offer high levels of durability and scrubability, as well as moisture, stain, and grease resistance. Generally speaking these types of wallpaper are used for commercial use as opposed to residential use.