types of wallpaper that can be washed

6 min

When preparing for repairs, everyone is sure to come across such a concept as washable wallpaper. Their main feature is clear from the name, but not everyone thinks about what washable wallpaper can be. This is a whole group of materials, different in composition, some operational and decorative qualities, price, but united by one quality – the ability to withstand washing, and sometimes the use of brushes. Let’s consider what the main types of washable wallpaper are presented today and compare their properties.

Washable wallpaper features and labeling

All types of washable wallpapers are durable, durable and durable, easy to clean and can be used in rooms with high humidity and risk of contamination. This type of finish is indispensable in the kitchen, bathroom and hallway. The downside of the attractive performance of some types of wallpaper is the inability to let air through, so you have to provide good ventilation.

The marking will inform you about the washing properties of the wallpaper:

  • one wave is moisture resistant wallpaper, but you can wash them with a damp sponge as much as possible;

  • two waves – washable wallpaper, however, only non-aggressive compounds should be used when cleaning;

  • three waves – washable wallpaper that is not afraid of saturated soap solutions and most detergents;

  • wave and brush – wear-resistant washable wallpaper that can be washed with alkaline solutions and rubbed with a brush;

  • three waves and a brush – a rare type of wallpaper that is especially resistant to abrasion and it will be almost impossible to damage it during operation and cleaning.

washable wallpaper markings

Washable wallpaper types

Washable wallpapers include vinyl, acrylic, metallic, glass and cork waxed wallpapers. Their performance depends on the composition and method of production, which is why they are popular for different types of premises.

Vinyl wallpapers

washable vinyl wallpaperMost often, washable wallpaper is understood as vinyl, which is explained by their wide distribution, huge selection and affordable price. They do not fade in the sun, are durable, and for rooms with high humidity it is better to choose non-woven fabric as a base, rather than paper. For bathrooms and kitchens, this is a great material.

Depending on the production characteristics, washable vinyl wallpaper can be of different types:

  • Washable Vinyl Wallpaper 2foamed vinyl. This is a voluminous-looking wallpaper without embossing, which is light enough and therefore easy to install. Due to their appearance, they are able to hide some wall defects; it is not required to carefully prepare the surface for gluing them;

  • flat vinyl. Such wallpapers are obtained by the method of hot stamping, they imitate decorative plaster, stone, textiles, hide the flaws of the walls well, are durable;

  • kitchen vinyl (dense or smooth). The name suggests that such wallpapers are indispensable for decorating kitchens. They are made of rubberized vinyl, the material is thick and dense, has dirt-repellent properties and, according to many experts, can even replace ceramic tiles. Such wallpapers can be not only smooth, despite the name, but also embossed. For the kitchen, however, the latter option is not very appropriate, because it is more difficult to remove dirt from the recesses. Some manufacturers offer this type of wallpaper with the ability to clean it with a washing vacuum cleaner.

Acrylic Wallpaper

washable acrylic wallpaperAcrylic wallpaper in many ways resembles foam type vinyl, but instead of polyvinyl chloride, acrylic is used in the manufacture. The basis is paper, and acrylic is applied not in a continuous layer, but in a dotted manner, hence the main properties of such wallpapers. Due to the structure of the outer layer, the material allows air to pass through, allowing you to create a favorable microclimate in the room.

The material is durable, practical, wear-resistant, but in terms of performance it is still inferior to vinyl wallpaper. The thickness of the outer layer is 2 mm, while for vinyl wallpaper the same figure is 4 mm. This explains the lower durability, but at the same time, acrylic wallpaper can also be washed, but do not use abrasive detergents and too hard brushes – a soft sponge and plain water are optimal. The vapor permeability of this material expands the scope of use of wallpaper: they are acceptable even in bedrooms and living rooms. The choice of colors and ornaments is quite varied.

Glass fiber

washable glass wallpaperGlass fiber is made from natural materials: the basis of the material is glass threads, which are woven in the likeness of a fabric, and special impregnations are used to give strength. The main advantages of glass fiber wallpaper include:

  • naturalness and vapor permeability;
  • strength and durability. It is not so easy to scratch such a coating;
  • incombustibility;
  • durability;
  • the ability to additionally strengthen walls and hide surface imperfections;
  • the possibility of multiple staining.

Glass fiber is sold both white and already painted in some color. In any case, it is not difficult to change the color if necessary. To prevent the wallpaper from losing its detergent qualities, it is necessary to choose the right paint. Water-based, latex and acrylic paints are suitable.

As for the appearance, several types of patterns can be found on sale, such as a herringbone, rhombus, matting, etc. Depending on its depth, the maximum number of paint layers without loss of relief can vary and range from 6 to 20.

Metallic wallpaper

washable metal wallpaperMetallic wallpaper is a two-layer material consisting of a paper or non-woven base and aluminum foil, which can be embossed, patterned, painted in a specific color. Initially, such wallpapers were assigned the function of protection against electromagnetic radiation, but now they have become just an unusual decoration, while possessing a lot of useful properties:

  • durability;
  • ease of gluing;
  • sound insulation properties;
  • resistance to prolonged exposure to sunlight;
  • resistance to moisture, which makes the wallpaper washable and easy to clean.

If you want to choose metal wallpaper for finishing one of the rooms, you need to remember about the high price of the material. Unfortunately, this is not the only drawback. This type of wallpaper does not breathe, the surface is easily scratched, during installation it is necessary to turn off the electricity and carefully level the surface. In return, the owner gets a luxurious finish. Often, metal wallpaper is used only for one of the walls: the one that will most often have to be cleaned of dirt.

Wax-coated cork wallpaper

washable cork wallpaperCork wallpaper is one of the most natural options for wall decoration, because they are made from the bark of cork. By themselves, the wallpaper does not have impressive moisture-resistant qualities, but thanks to the wax impregnation, they can not only be used in rooms with high humidity, but also must be washed.

In addition, cork wallpaper does not accumulate static electricity, has excellent sound and heat insulation qualities, is bactericidal, does not absorb odors, is durable and easy to clean. Such material does not differ in a wide range of colors – rather, on the contrary. Cork wallpapers do not tolerate mechanical damage very well, they are easily scratched. Even after applying impregnations or varnishes, the surface can only be washed with water and a sponge, without aggressive agents and hard brushes.

Features of gluing

washable wallpaperFor each of the types of wallpaper described above, there are nuances in terms of installation, but there are some general points that are important to consider before gluing. Glue plays an especially important role, because it should be more powerful than the adhesive composition for ordinary, non-washable, wallpaper. For example, for metal wallpaper, dispersion adhesive with a fungicide is required, for acrylic and glass wallpaper – acrylic glue, for vinyl – special compositions designed for this type of wallpaper.

Many of the listed types of wallpaper are capable of hiding small irregularities in the walls, but it is wrong to think that the thicker the material, the more effectively it hides defects. This ability depends on plasticity and relief, therefore, all the pits will be visible through the cork wallpaper, and vinyl and acrylic wallpapers will hide them.

The most vulnerable place of washable wallpaper is the seams, so when gluing them you should pay maximum attention. It is better to spend more time forming neat and even joints than to negate all the unique properties of the wallpaper with careless gluing. And finally, it is important to note that washing wallpaper should be washed only as it gets dirty – it is better not to touch them once again.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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