Wallpaper is a kind of material used to cover and decorate the interior walls of homes, offices, and other buildings; it is one aspect of interior decoration. It is usually sold in rolls and are put onto a wall using wallpaper paste. Wallpapers can come either plain (so that it can be painted), or with patterned graphics.
Wallpaper printing techniques include surface printing, gravure printing, silk screen-printing, and rotary printing. Mathematically speaking, there are seventeen basic patterns, described as wallpaper groups, that can be used to tile an infinite plane. All manufactured wallpaper patterns are based on these groups. A single pattern can be issued in several different colorways.
Types and sizesEdit
Modern wallcoverings are diverse. Two of the most common factory trimmed sizes of wallpaper are referred to as "American" and "European" rolled goods. American rolled good are 27 inches by 27 feet in length. European rolled goods are 21.5 inches wide by 33 feet in length. Approx. 60 square feet. Most wallpaper borders are sold by linear foot and with a wide range of widths therefore square footage is not applicable. Although some may require trimming.
The most common wall covering for residential use and generally the most economical is prepasted vinyl coated paper, commonly called "strippable" which can be misleading. Cloth backed vinyl is fairly common and durable. Lighter vinyls are easier to handle and hang. Paper backed vinyls are generally more expensive, significantly more difficult to hang, and can be found in wider untrimmed widths. Foil wallpaper generally has paper backing and can (exceptionally) be up to 36 inches wide, and be very difficult to handle and hang. Textile wallpapers include silks, linens, grass cloths, strings, rattan, and actual impressed leaves. There are acoustical wall carpets to reduce sound. Customized wallcoverings are available at high prices and most often have minimum roll orders.
Solid vinyl with a cloth backing is the most common commercial wallcovering and comes from the factory as untrimmed at 54 inches approximately, to be overlapped and double cut by the installer. This same type can be pre-trimmed at the factory to 27 inches approximately.
Like paint, wallpaper requires proper surface preparation before application. Additionally, wallpaper is not suitable for all areas. For example, bathroom wallpaper may deteriorate rapidly due to excessive steam. Proper preparation includes the repair of any defects in the drywall or plaster and the removal of loose material or old adhesives. Accurate room measurements (length, width, and height) along with number of window and door openings is essential for ordering wallpaper. Large drops, or repeats, in a pattern can be cut and hung more economically by working from alternating rolls of paper. Paper is sold (with very few exceptions) in double rolls.
The simplest removal option is to brush the paper with water. Water soaks through the paper and saturates the glue, allowing the paper to be peeled off.
This does not work well with nonpeelable vinyls, as vinyl is not porous. Nevertheless it is still effective on many modern papers.
Chemical wallpaper stripperEdit
Chemical wallpaper stripper can be purchased at most paint or home improvement stores. It is mixed with warm water or a mixture of warm water and vinegar, then sprayed onto wall surfaces. Several applications may be required to saturate the existing wallpaper. Perforation can aid in the absorption of the mixture and lead to faster removal. After the mixture has dissolved the wallpaper paste, the wallpaper can be removed easily by pulling at the edges and with the aid of a putty or drywall knife.
Another method of removal is to apply steam to wallpaper in order to dissolve the wallpaper paste. A wallpaper steamer consists of a reservoir of water, an electric heating element, and a hose to direct the steam at the wallpaper. The steam dissolves the wallpaper paste, allowing the wallpaper to be peeled off. However, care must be taken to prevent damage to the drywall underneath. Sometimes steaming can lead to the crumbling of underlying drywall or plaster, leaving an uneven surface to be repaired.
- A Hyatt Mayor; Prints and People; Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971 (reprints Princeton).
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