Vinyl is a synthetic man-made plastic material that is widely used in construction due to its durability and effectiveness. Vinyl wallpaper consists of a base, and a vinyl film that is layered on top. This process is done to create a durable wallpaper that is thick, durable, and long lasting.
There are typically four main vinyl wallpaper bases to choose from. When choosing vinyl wallpaper, it is important to consider what material backing is best for the room that you are planning on installing the paper.
Fabric Backed Vinyl wallpaper, consists of a thick woven fabric base that is used instead of paper. The fabric base is best suited for areas with high foot traffic. Fabric backed vinyl wallpaper is categorized by heavy, medium, and light duty options that you can select depending on how much wall protection the area needs.
Paper Back/Solid Sheet wallpaper is a moisture resistant option that is most commonly used in kitchen and bathroom areas. It is easily cleaned from grease and stains. Paper back vinyl wallpaper is sold as a single solid sheet of vinyl, so it can be a bit difficult to install without assistance.
Vinyl Coated wallpaper has a paper base that is treated with a chemical form of vinyl, such as acrylic vinyl. The coating adds an extra layer of protection from humidity and moisture.
Solid Vinyl wallpaper is made completely of vinyl. It is scratch and tear resistant and, able to be scrubbed with a lot of water. This option is best suited for a child’s room, kitchens, and bathrooms.
Today, it is possible to create a digitally printed vinyl mural that is customized with a design or photo of your choice. This option is typically an extremely thin paper base that requires an extra liner to ensure that it is installed smoothly.
Is vinyl wallpaper toxic?
Wallpapers typically installed before the 1980’s were found to contain harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that caused health problems and symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and constipation. Vinyl wallpaper was typically hung using a paste that released toxic fumes into the air, and was often unable to withstand high humidity areas – causing excessive mold buildup that brought additional health concerns.
In addition, vinyl wallpaper typically contained asbestos – an extremely harmful chemical that is known to cause mesothelioma. If you do have old vinyl wallpaper in your home, it could contain asbestos, and should be carefully and promptly removed or replaced.
Today, it is possible to use vinyl wallpaper without toxicity concerns. You can find safer wallpaper options that are free from carcinogens and toxic pastes here.