Vinyl wallpaper was once looked on with disdain. It had an obvious look, and a very odd smell! The textures and patterns used were rather ordinary, and it's only advantage seemed to be that it was tough, and stood up well to rough treatment.

But not anymore.

Good quality ones are almost impossible to distinguish from other wallcoverings. Many reputable companies market quality vinyls, and they are now a valuable alternative to other forms of coverings for your walls.




First of all, these papers are different from so-called washable ones. You'll often see standard papers which claim to be 'washable' or 'wipeable' or even 'scrubbable'!

Now these papers do have some resistance to water, and certainly won't be spoiled if you spill water on them, or wipe them.

The original reason why they were given water resistance was to protect them when paste - which is normally water based - inevitably got onto the front surface. If the paper soaked up the water you got nasty marks on it, especially along the joins.

Many of these work by having a plastic coating applied to the front surface. This is a good treatment, and works well.

But vinyl wallpapers are made from polyvinyl chloride with a paper backing. This makes them waterproof. They can stand much harsher treatment when being applied to your walls. This resistance to rough treatment makes them ideal for areas where the paper is likely to be rubbed and brushed against. Hallways and kids rooms are prime areas.

Because of their water resistance they are obvious choices for bathrooms and kitchens.


vinyl wallpaper from Zoffany

This wallpaper was from a range produced by Zoffany Ltd. It is a traditional design, and you'd be hard pressed to see that it is a vinyl paper. The processes used to produce vinyls have improved over the years, and are now produced to very high standards.

Photo courtesy Zoffany Ltd.



Mistakes to avoid

The most common mistake made when hanging these papers is to use normal adhesive. Why is this wrong?

  • These papers are much heavier than normal, and will therefore need a much stronger adhesive.
  • The adhesive needs to have a fungicidal element in it, to prevent a very disagreeable mould from forming beneath the paper.

So make sure when you buy your rolls of paper that you also buy the correct adhesive. Read the instruction carefully, and then you'll ge the best out of the paper and avoid any future mishaps.



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