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Is Wallpaper Waterproof?

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Posted on: May 15, 2019 by admin

Is wallpaper waterproof for bathrooms?

Is wallpaper waterproof? If you are looking to wallpaper a bathroom, or a room with high moisture, a frequent problem that arises is that the humidity may cause water to seep into the back of the paper. The last thing you want is for your gorgeous floral print to start peeling only a couple of months after it’s installed.

The easiest choice when installing wallpaper in a high moisture environment is to use vinyl wallpaper. It is the most durable wallpaper type and can be wiped clean easily. Almost any wallpaper can be used in the bathroom area, but solid vinyl is the best material for high humidity areas.

However, vinyl is often very limited in its selection, and you may just not want to use vinyl material. If you are looking for a printed wallpaper or other options, you can easily add a top coat of varnish onto any type of wallpaper. Doing so will create a waterproof seal that will keep moisture out and prevent the paper from curling or peeling. It will also make any wallpaper easy to scrub and clean.

Waterproofing your wallpaper is an easy job, and can be done without having to call in a professional. Here are some important tips to read before beginning:

  • Make sure the room is free of humidity. The waterproofing should be done when there is little to no humidity in the air. The room should ideally be about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to complete the work on a day without any excess moisture from the weather.
  • Choose the right finish. You can choose a varnish with a finish that you prefer. Varnish is typically available in gloss, satin, and flat finishes. You can do a combination of two to get the ideal look for your space.
  • Make sure the entire room is clean. Clean the walls, the floor, and windowsills to make sure there is no dust or dirt. This will make sure that the varnish stays clean while drying. Wipe down the walls with soap and water to remove any dirt and make for a smooth varnish application.
  • Fix any blemishes first. If the wallpaper has any existing damage, such as cracks or peels, make sure to fix it before beginning the waterproofing. It is important to make sure that there are no cracks in the paper, no matter how small. The varnish can damage the walls and paper by filling the cracks – which can cause discoloration throughout the walls. (If there are any small cracks, an easy fix is to apply a thin coat of glue and letting it dry before starting with the varnish.)
  • Do NOT shake the varnish. Shaking can cause the varnish to bubble, which will make it difficult to apply evenly on the walls. Instead, mix it with a paint stirrer or wooden stick.
  • Apply the varnish evenly. When applying the varnish with a brush, make sure to not over brush. Apply one coat – over brushing can cause the varnish to streak and become visible.
  • Let the varnish dry. It typically takes approximately 12 hours for the varnish to dry. Do not touch the walls at all if possible, for about 24 hours to ensure that it dries properly and completely.

Not all wallpaper is already waterproof but it’s possible to make any wallpaper that way, if you are willing to put in the effort to do so. Wallpaper can enhance the look of any room – even a bathroom - and waterproofing is a quick and easy way to make that possible. 

Design Notes:

  • Almost all wallpaper being made now is washable and scrubbable. You can use almost any solid vinyl, vinyl coated or non woven wallpaper in your bathroom area. Acrylic and grasscloth prints might want to be avoided in these areas because they're just too delicate.
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