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Wallcoverings (wallpaper)

November 13, 2012

Osborne and Little Dog Wallpaper

Wallcoverings’ durability depending on the backing material used and whether they are coated or not. The least durable backing that wallcoverings can have is paper, then vinyl, then fabric – which is most typically used in commercial settings. Wallcoverings can be coated either PVC or acrylic to make them scrub-able and more resistant to grease and moisture, which makes them more suitable for kitchens and bathrooms.

Tip: Jute backing should only be used in non-humid conditions as it expands when wet and shrinks on drying.

Types of Wallcoverings

  • Lining Paper does not have a decorative finish and is used on bare walls and ceilings in preparation for painting or papering. Lining paper is often used to uneven walls or walls painted with a strong colours before the decorative paper is applied. As a general rule, lining paper is hung in the opposite direction to the top paper.
  • Woodchip. This is a relatively cheap wallpaper with small chips of wood or cord incorporated between two layers of paper. Woodchip wallpaper is available in a number of grades from fine to course, depending on the size of chips used. It is ideal for hiding defects in walls and can be used on most surfaces. Normally it is painted after the paper has dried.
  • Pulp wallcovering. This is generally the cheapest type of decorative wallpaper and is just paper with a pattern printed upon it. It is easy to hang but you need to be careful not to over stretch it when hanging it as this can cause problems when trying to match patterns. It is also easy to remove.
  • Washable wallcoverings have a thin coat of transparent plastic over underlying patterned pulp paper. The coating makes it more resistant to stains and marks and means that they can be regularly wiped down.
  • Vinyl-coated wallcoverings are normally printed vinyl with a paper backing and a thin skin of vinyl. They are generally easy to hang and fairly easy to strip down. Washable and tough, this type of wallcovering is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Vinyl wallcoverings tend to be tougher than vinyl-coated wallpapers as the layer of vinyl is thicker. Unlike other wallcoverings these are normally hung by applying paste to the wall and not the paper. Vinyl wallpaper can be hard to strip unless it is peelable (see stripping wallpaper). Vinyl wall coverings are rated by weight
  • Anaglypta wallcoverings are a mixture of cotton and paper and come with a variety of patterns embossed on them. The patterns vary – from light, random ‘line’ patterns (like the grain of leather) to heavily embossed geometric patterns which need to be lined up strip to strip. Like woodchip, anaglypta wallpapers are ideal for hiding defects in walls and are normally painted after hanging.
  • Embossed wallcoverings are wallpaper with a decorative finish pressed into the paper, giving a 3-d effect similar to anaglypta. They are excellent for hiding imperfections on walls.
  • Blown-vinyl wallcoverings are like embossed wallpaper but with a tough vinyl finish.
  • Flocked wallcovering are one of the oldest types of wallpaper. They have a raised patterns that look and feel like velvet. They can become easily marked as the natural tendency when one sees this type of wallpaper is to reach out and feel it.
  • Hand-printed wallcoverings are generally expensive and not widely available. Generally they are supplied untrimmed and should only be hung by professional paperhangers as, being untrimmed, a lot more skill is required to hang them.

Choosing Wallcoverings
Obviously the main thing you will look for when choosing wallpaper is the pattern and colour, but beyond that there are a few technical issues to consider.

Kitchens and bathrooms need vinyl wallpaper as these can be cleaned and won’t be affected by the humidity. Four degrees of clean-ability are indicated on rolls of wallpaper; they range from spongeable, washable, extra washable and scrubable. If the roll does not indicate how it can be cleaned do not assume that you’ll be able to clean it.

A wallcovering will also indicate it’s resistance to fading, ranging from moderate to good, with good meaning that the paper is resistant to fading in daylight.

Patterns on wallpaper can be matched in one of the following ways; no vertical offset in pattern, vertical pattern offset by a specified distance or vertical pattern repeated by a specified distance. The vertical offset of the pattern will determine how much waste you are likely to get when you match up a pattern. A straight pattern has either white paper or a continuous stripe of color along the edge, so that there’s no pattern to match up to the next piece when you hang it. This type of pattern will require the least amount of wallpaper. When the pattern is different along the right and left edge, you have to take the pattern into account when hanging the wallpaper. This requires cutting a piece off the top at times, so you can shift it up and match it to the pattern on the piece you just hung. This drop pattern requires ordering more wallpaper because the part you cut off the top is often wasted.

  • A drop pattern of 0 to 6 inches has 25 square feet (2.3 square meters) of usable wallpaper.
  • A drop pattern of 7 to 12 inches has 22 square feet (2 square meters) of usable wallpaper.
  • A drop pattern of 13 to 18 inches has 20 square feet (1.8 square meters) of usable wallpaper.
  • A drop pattern of 19 to 23 inches leaves only half a single roll as usable.

In addition to pattern and colour another factor to consider is texture. If your walls are uneven textured wallcoverings are ideal for concealing imperfections, and conversely wallcoverings with a sheen highlight, such as foil coated papers, will highlight imperfections in the wall beneath.

Tip: Wallpaper is always printed in batches and differences will exist in the shading between one batch and another so always buy wallcovering with the same batch number printed on the roll.

Hanging Wallcovering
The direction of a pattern will be noted on a roll along with instructions on whether the wallcovering needs to have alternative lengths hung in opposite directions, as is the case with grasscloth.

There are three ways that the adhesive can be applied when paper hanging – paste the paper, paste the wall or the paper is ready pasted.

Paste-the-paper is the traditional method of applying adhesive when hanging wallpaper and most wallpapers are of this type. Suitable adhesive needs to be purchased separately, normally mixed and brushed on the ‘back’ of the wallpaper. The type of wallpaper will determine the strength of adhesive required, so read the packet. Paste-the-wall-papers are rarer, but some do exist so check the instructions. Pre-pasted /ready-pasted wallpaper is laid in a trough of water for a period of time before it is hung; this activate the paste already on the back of the paper.

Generally when buying wallpaper we don’t worry too much about how you are going to remove it but the options are as follows; strippable, wet strippable and peelable. Strippable means that it can be removed from the surface just by pulling. Wet strippable means you need to wet it then use a scrapper to remove it. Peelable means that the top paper can be removed leaving the backing paper, which can either be stripped back or painted.

Preparation
As with all types of decorating, it is important to spend time in preparation. Before wallpapering it is important that

  • The ceiling is completely finished.
  • Any coving, picture or dado rails are fitted and finished.
  • All woodwork (frames, skirting board etc), are fully painted or varnished.

Tip: Filling fixing holes for shelves, radiators, etc with matchsticks before papering helps to find them after papering.

The type of preparation required before papering completely depends upon the existing finish and type of wall.

  • If a wall has already been papered it is important that all paper and adhesive residue is removed from the wall surface.
  • Where a wall has been painted check to see if the paint is soundly bonded to the wall. If the paint is flaking off the wall you will have to sand it back to get a sound surface. In older houses, whitewash or distemper may have been used and because they are water-soluble these are unsuitable for wallpapering. This is particularly true above picture rails. To test if the paint is water-soluble, dampen a sponge or cloth and hold it against the paint surface for about 15 to 30 seconds. If when you rub the sponge on the paint a large amount of the wall paint comes off it is water-soluble. If only a small amount of water is transferred to the sponge it should be all right for papering. Removing most water-soluble paints just requires plenty of cloths, water, and elbow grease but be careful not to over-soak the wall as this can damage some plasters and the wall will need to dry out before it will be possible to hang your wallpaper.
  • Glossy and semi-gloss paint should be lightly sanded to dull the surface before papering and dark backgrounds may also need to be painted lighter or papered with lining paper before being papered.
  • New plasterboard needs little preparation before papering but make sure that all joints have been filled and that filler is completely cured and apply a couple of coats of primer before papering.
  • When papering old plasterboard check for, and rectify any cracks, pits and bumps and any cracks around door and window frames and along skirting boards should be rake out and filled with a flexible decorator’s sealant. Old plaster can become very powdery (often referred to as ‘blown’) and although small areas may be overcome by applying a coat of plaster sealer, large areas may need to be raked out and replastered.   Finally the surface will need to be ‘sized’, either using ‘size’, or a dilute mixture of wallpaper adhesive, which ideally should contain a fungicide (most do).
  • When papering new plasterwork ensure that the new plaster has been given enough time to dry out, typically 4 weeks is a minimum period but it depends, among other things, upon the thickness of plaster and the humidity in the room. Check for any bumps and hollows and rub down any high points. Finally the surface will need to be ‘sized’. This can be done either using ‘size’, or a dilute mixture of wallpaper adhesive.

Tip: Adhesive with fungicide is particularly important for hanging vinyl wallpapers because this type of wallcovering doesn’t allow the wall to breath and so is more likely to facilitate the growth of fungi if damp.

When hanging paper you need to decide on the starting and finishing points. The usual starting point for vertical hanging is on a wall adjacent to a window and the wallpapering should progress from this starting point in both directions around the room to finish somewhere opposite the window. This is done so that any overlap between adjoining lengths will not cast a shadow. The finishing point should be in some corner of the room so that any mismatch between rolls will not be noticed. Alternatively, have one wall with a different wallpaper pattern (or no pattern) then there is no worry about matching patterns.

Tip: When using paper with a large pattern, it is a good idea to centre the pattern on the chimney-breast or another main feature of the room.

Tip: Wallcoverings should not be trimmed with a craft knife, it will invariably tear the paper instead of cutting it. It is better to remove large quantities of extra paper with a sissors and then use a very sharp scalpel for the final trim.

Tip: Paste may discolour wallcoverings if it gets on the front face so the front of wallpaper should be wiped cleaned with a damp cloth / sponge as it’s hung. Foil paper can be carefully washed with mild cleanser and dried with soft cloth.

Tip: Paper must not be stretched when hung or it will shrink on drying and seams will pop.

Tip: Too much paste on strips of grasscloth will cause the paper backing to separate from leaves.

Estimating Wallcovering Requirements
Walls

Perimeter of room (m) Height of room above skirting
2.3 2.4 2.6 2.7 2.9 3.1 3.2
9.0
10.4
11.6
12.8
14.0
15.2
16.5
17.8
19.0
20.0
21.3
22.6
23.8
25.0
26.0
27.4
28.7
30.0
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
10
11
12
12
13
13
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
10
11
12
12
13
13
14
5
5
6
7
7
8
9
9
10
10
11
12
12
13
14
14
15
15
5
5
6
7
7
8
9
10
10
11
12
12
13
14
14
15
15
16
6
6
7
7
8
9
9
10
10
11
12
12
13
14
14
15
15
16
6
6
7
8
8
9
10
10
11
12
12
13
14
14
15
16
16
17
6
6
8
8
8
10
10
11
12
13
13
14
15
16
16
17
18
19
No of Rolls of Wallcovering required
Based on a wallpaper roll of 530mm x 10.06m

Ceilings

Perimeter of room (m) No of rolls of wallcovering required
12.0
15.0
18.0
20.0
21.0
24.0
25.0
27.0
28.0
30.0
30.5
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Based on a wallpaper roll of 530mm x 10.06m

Thank you to these websites where i sourced some of this information, www.wallcoverings.org, http://www.wikihow.com/

Also ….. Technical Information on Paint

 

 

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One comment

  1. […] Also ….. Technical Information on Wallcovering (wallpaper) […]



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