There are many kinds of backing for wallpaper and non-woven is currently the most utilized for medium to higher end patterns. It was introduced to the marketplace 8 years ago and quickly established itself as the preferred substrate for most manufacturers. 2/3 new collections that come out now feature wallpaper printed on a non-woven finish.
So, what exactly is non-woven? Frankly, the inventors of it could have come up with a more useful name that describes what it is but in a nutshell, it’s a combination of natural and synthetic fibers. That’s it. How they got the name non-woven, we don’t know but that mixture singlehandedly contributed to the revival of the wallpaper industry as we know it today.
Non-woven is a light paper backing that is easy to hang and easy to remove. It is more difficult to tear, even when it is wet during the application process. You also don’t need to worry about the material contracting or expanding over time. Installers love this because it means they don’t have to book the wallpaper for long periods of time before hanging it.
Although lightweight, non-woven wallpaper is designed to go up and come down in long flowing strips. You can imagine how important that is if you’ve ever had the pleasure of removing old wallpaper. The whole process quickly turns into a nightmare when the paper substrate starts to break apart and you have to peel and scrape it off your wall, inch by inch. Non-woven was specifically made because the public was demanding a new kind of wallpaper that would be very easy to remove from walls once it has reached the end of its life.
Non-vinyl wallpaper is better for the environment since no vinyl is used to make it. Solid vinyl wallpaper has its benefits, the major one being its durability, but the vinyl (also known as PVC) manufacturing process is very hard on Mother Earth due to the chemicals released in the atmosphere. The manufacturing process for non-woven paper produces no such chemicals meaning an overall significantly lower carbon footprint.
The special blend of natural and synthetic fibers makes non-woven wallpaper breathable and washable. Now, a newbie to wallpaper might not think these two features are a big deal but any older person in this industry would quickly beg to differ.
Wallpaper wasn’t always as easily washable as it is now. We take for granted that you can spill someone on your kitchen wallpaper and simple wash it off with a damp sponge. In the past, that spill would leave a mark that you couldn’t easily get off. You would either have to replace that section of the wall or live with it. Non-woven wallpaper is remarkably easy to keep looking clean.
The wallpaper industry took a nose dive in the 90s due to the mold scare. During that decade mold became a hot button word and wallpaper was one of the scapegoats. Hint: it wasn’t the cause of mold but nevertheless the industry got attacked for it. Non-woven fibers addressed this problem because the material is made to breath. This means moisture isn’t locked between the paper and the wall thus eliminating the problem of mold and mildew.
While not as durable as some of the other vinyl-based backings, non-woven wallpaper is perfect for many different uses. They are the best for do-it yourself projects in the home, which is one of the reasons why so many companies are moving to manufacture more wallpapers with this strong and easy-to use backing.