Wallcoverings: Variations on a Theme

Wallpaper is an attractive wall covering. Modern design, colour and texture are so varied that it is often difficult to make a final choice. There are wall coverings to complement any décor scheme and finishes designed to wear well in a variety of situations.


Vinyl paper is a paper treated with a thin coat of PVC. The PVC coating provides toughness, durability and easy-clean properties. Vinyl papers can be lightly scrubbed, without affecting the surface.

Vinyl-coated papers are available in a wide range of colours and designs. Surface effects vary from high sheen to matt or metallic finishes.

As vinyl is such a tough paper, it is suitable for use in heavy-wear areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, hallways and children’s rooms.

Vinyl covering should be hung on dry, non-porous surfaces. On porous surfaces, a suitable sealant should be applied before papering. The wall should be lined and the vinyl hung, using anti-fungicidal paste.

Some vinyl papers are pre-pasted. If using a pre-pasted covering, apply a coat of fungicidal solution to the plaster surface before starting to paper.

The method of hanging vinyl paper varies from that used to hang standard papers. As the paste is applied, the backing paper immediately soaks it up. No pre-soaking of paper is necessary and hanging can start straight away.

It is important to paste right to. The edge of each length. If there is an overlap the paper cannot be stuck down with a heavy-duty-adhesive.; a PVA adhesive has to be used.

A neater way is to cut away the surplus paper overlap, using a steel straight-edge and a trimming knife. Place the straightedge over the centre of the overlap and cut through. Remove the cut paper, apply a little more paste and brush the vinyl back into position. This should give a good butt joint.

Washable wallpapers

These are coated with a thin, transparent resin and are suitable for use in kitchens and bathrooms where there is, at times, a lot of steam. Where washable papers are used in kitchens or bathrooms, they should be hung with an anti-fungicidal paste as the finish cover is impervious.

In any other situation, starch flour glue, hot- or cold-water paste, or tub glue can be used. There is a wide range of colours and designs, and the finish can be matt or gloss.


When removing vinyl or washable paper, the impervious resin or vinyl surface must be scored to allow water to soak through to the backing paper.

One product consists of a vinyl coating applied to a specially constituted backing paper. The decorative coat can be peeled or stripped off, without soaking or using chemical strippers, leaving the backing paper, as lining paper, if wished, for the new decorative coat.

Embossed papers

Embossed papers provide an attractive textured effect that can also disguise minor blemishes. Walls should first be lined, with the paper hung horizontally, and a thick paste should be used to apply the final wall-covering. A thin, watery paste tends to soak into the backing paper. Causing the two layers to stretch and pull apart.

Soak the paper with paste for a few minutes before hanging, so that it becomes supple. When hanging, apply even, but very gentle, pressure. Heavy pressure may flatten the embossed design and cause stretching.

The bristle end of a paperhanger’s brush, tapped lightly on the surface, aids even adhesion. Cutting, for fitting round corners and so on, is best, done with a sharp knife against a straight-edge, rather than with shears or scissors.


Flock paper is of heavy quality and highly decorative, with a finish resembling the pile of velvet. Modern flock papers may have a vinyl finish; these do not need soaking and, once pasted, can be hung immediately.

Edges should be butt joined as it is not possible to stick the overlap with heavy-duty paste. Lapped joints can be dealt with in the same way as lapped edges on vinyl papers.

When cutting, use a straight edge and a really sharp knife, which will make cutting easier and minimize the risk of cutting the lining paper. Peel back the edge, remove the surplus paper, apply a little more paste and roll the edges back in. Wipe off surface adhesive with a sponge.

A roller covered with rubber, cloth, baize or chamois leather should be used on flock paper.

Ingrain or woodchip paper Ingrain or woodchip paper is made from high-grade wood pulp. To give a woody or oatmeal effect, minute particles of wood chips are added to the pulp. This paper is very versatile and can be used to add texture to wall finishes. Some ingrain or woodchip is sold pre-decorated.

This is suitable for walls that have irregularities in the plaster. When painted, ingrain papers have an impervious surface, so should be hung using a heavy-duty, anti-fungicidal paste. Wood textured paper is useful for papering ceilings.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wallcoverings: Variations on a Theme


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