Nothing changes the look of a room so quickly as putting up wallpaper. In one afternoon a small room can be transformed into a theme area with options of wild designs, calm textures or bold, border wallpaper.
The art of covering interior walls began in China when a paste was made from leftover fibers from the textile plants and pressed it into sheets. Legend has it the Marco Polo brought the craft of block printing on paper back from China but that the process was too expensive for Europeans, even nobles, until mechanical printing came into vogue. However, it was still a rich person's extravagance until the 1800's when more modern printing presses made wallpaper cheap enough for the new buyer.
From the mid-1800's until the mid-1900's wallpaper had its heyday, however this generation of paper was not without flaws. It stained and tore easily but in the late 1940's the manufacturers found that a plastic resin coating gave a smooth surface to wallpaper that was both washable and durable. With the invention of latex paint -which made interior painting easy wallpaper became a shadow of the force it had been in the earlier part of the century. However, in the 1970's the new vinyl-coated laminates, which allowed photos and a wide variety of designs on a large sheet, sparked a renewed interest in wallpaper but it still places second to painting. Mural wall coverings are still popular in commercial settings for background wallpaper.
Wallpaper and Wall Covering Materials
There are still many types of wall coverings that are popular with segments of interior decorators but they all come from the same basic materials:
- Common Wallpaper: This type of wallpaper ruled supreme for almost a hundred years until resins and vinyl came along. Its drawbacks were that it could fade in the sun and stain in humid conditions. The only place where this exists now is museums and restored period homes.
- Vinyl Wallpaper: For the majority of homeowners who value wallpaper vinyl is the standard. Made in a wide variety of prints and designs it is mildew-resistant and easy to maintain. As well, instead of the old method of having to swipe paste on the the back of the sheet to hang it most vinyl paper comes pre-pasted so it just needs to be soaked in water. In addition, the thicker vinyl is able to cover up wall blemishes.
- Lining Wallpaper Paper: Like a solid paint primer lining wallpaper is used on walls which have been painted with an oil-based paint and is too smooth to hold pasted. Lining wallpaper is thick and is useful for covering up small wall defects to prevent them from showing through the new wall covering. In fact it covers so well that it can make the grooves in wall paneling disappear. Unlike normal paper lining paper is installed horizontally to give a good adherence to the top paper. This lining product should always be put up before hanging special wallpapers like flock, foil, grass or bamboo.
- Foil Wallpaper: Another style that was popular in the past for feature walls and small rooms is a foil-based sheet. It made a brief resurgence in the 1970's but foil could wrinkle and fold during the hanging process if the installer was not careful. For the best results foil needs to go over a lining paper or any blemish will show through.
- Flock-Style Wallpaper: This is the wallpaper that looks velvety and is seen in old movies as the wall coverings in formal dining rooms. The original style came from raising the pattern from the paper by gluing wool lint onto surface. Wallpaper installers still hand flock but they must first put up a liner wall covering and then be careful to vacuum the loose particles off the flock paper before pasting.
- Fabric Wall Covering: This wall covering is manufactured from the waste fibers of textiles and makes a striking feature wall. It does pose its problems as it is not easy to maintain and stains are hard to get off. In addition, it takes a very skilled hand not to stretch the pasted fabric when hanging. This is another covering that needs a lining wall cover as a base.
- Grass Wall Covering: For those who want a tropical feel then there are many varieties of ornamental grasses and bamboo that can fill the spot. It works well in bathrooms because the moisture will not hurt the product however it does not clean easily and those with children might not want to try it. The installation is different as well. Because the textures and colors are different from roll to roll wall covering installers hang every odd layer upside-down to keep a consistent look.
Wallpapering a place on your own takes a great deal of learning and patience. Even though wallpaper costs to do a room are not high it is better to hire a wallcovering expert to get a clean, professional job.Posted by: TrustedPros