Each of us, starting repair work, first of all thinks about the future interior of the room. Wall decoration is one of the most important issues to be solved. The modern market offers so many different options that the eyes just scatter, but many choose the traditional and proven option for decades – wallpaper. But if a couple of decades ago, paper wallpapers were at the peak of popularity, today vinyl wallpapers won the palm. They are striking in variety, performance and relative ease of installation. This is a versatile option that fits almost all rooms in an apartment. But in order to get a great result, you first need to figure out how to choose vinyl wallpapers, how to glue them, and what they generally are.
What is vinyl wallpaper? They consist of two layers: the upper or front layer is made of polyvinyl chloride, hence the name, and the lower, main layer can be paper or non-woven. The top layer can be of any color and texture, imitate any material, it perfectly resists a variety of dirt and mechanical damage. Non-woven base is much stronger than paper, more durable and strong, but also more expensive.
Both non-woven and paper are breathable, but the vinyl layer cannot boast of such a feature, which is one of its main disadvantages. Today, in the collections of some European manufacturers, vinyl wallpapers have already appeared, which can “breathe”, but they cost a lot, and are not yet very common.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vinyl Wallpaper
Before proceeding with the selection and gluing, you must carefully weigh all the pros and cons of vinyl wallpaper.
The advantages include:
an endless variety of options that differ in color, relief, can imitate wood, stone, leather, fabric, etc. With vinyl wallpaper, you can easily make any interior dream come true;
- vinyl wallpaper can easily mask small defects and uneven walls;
- relatively low cost;
- vinyl wallpaper can be used even in rooms with high humidity, without fear of harming their appearance. In addition, they are resistant to changes in humidity levels;
- over time, even in the sunniest rooms, such wallpapers will not fade and will not lose their previous appearance;
- non-woven vinyl wallpaper takes the shape of a wall well, does not shrink, therefore it can be used even in new buildings.
There are also some negative aspects:
airtightness, which can negatively affect the microclimate of the room, so you should not use such a finish for a children’s room. If, nevertheless, the choice fell on vinyl wallpaper, then it is better to find one that will allow air to pass through, but such a solution will not be cheap;
- Some types of vinyl wallcovering may have difficulty gluing due to expansion when wet and contraction when dry. As a result, there may be a problem with seam fitting;
- some specimens have a specific odor, but odor tends to disappear quickly with proper ventilation.
How to Choose Vinyl Wallpaper?
Vinyl wallpapers of different types may differ slightly in characteristics and performance. Depending on where the wallpaper will be glued, and what requirements are put forward for them, you can choose one of the following types:
foamed vinyl. This is one of the most common wallpaper options that can be recognized by the relief. They are produced by cold embossing, and their surface is never smooth. Their difference is very low weight, so the volumetric-looking rolls are light in weight. Due to this relief, the wallpaper can hide small irregularities and even cracks on the walls. Moreover, the walls do not require careful preparation before gluing them. It is very easy to glue them, and due to their minimal weight, they will stay on the wall for a long time;
silkscreen printing. Contrary to the name, there are no silk threads in such vinyl wallpapers, and the main feature of their production is the use of hot embossing of the pattern. This type of vinyl wallpaper is also popular in the modern construction market, as it combines a lot of advantages: chic appearance, the ability to choose absolutely any pattern and texture, durability, strength. They can resemble textile wallpapers, metal surfaces, decorative stones, etc. – there are a lot of options. The outer surface of such wallpapers, as a rule, is durable and smooth, it can be matte or glossy;
smooth vinyl (kitchen or heavy vinyl). These wallpapers are perfect for rooms with high humidity, in particular for kitchens and baths. They are made from rubberized vinyl. The finished product looks very dense, but it has amazing performance properties: it is dirt-repellent, water-resistant, and can be washed. Such wallpaper can easily replace ceramic tiles. Despite the name of this type of wallpaper, they are not always smooth, but may also have a relief surface. As for the variety of patterns and textures, there is a lot of them, so any design idea can be easily implemented. Caring for them is also as simple as possible, and some manufacturers offer wallpapers that can even be cleaned with a washing vacuum cleaner. With all these advantages, this type of finish can only be used in bathrooms and kitchens, and in no case in a nursery or bedroom. Firstly, these wallpapers are thick and rough, and, secondly, they are not environmentally friendly enough for use in such premises;
hard vinyl is a relatively new coating that has not yet found wide distribution in the domestic market. It is a dense and durable material that can be used perfectly in high humidity conditions, but at the same time it is breathable. It can have any color, pattern and relief, repeat the texture of stone, wood, leather, Venetian plaster.
Naturally, you need to choose the type of vinyl wallpaper, starting from the type of room where they will be used, and only then determine the color and other purely aesthetic parameters. By the way, it is worth noting that if the walls are not even enough, then you can hide all defects with the help of voluminous wallpapers, and smooth matte ones will only emphasize all the shortcomings.
In addition, it is also important to immediately realize on what basis the wallpaper should be. Of course, if it is a kitchen or a bath, it is better to choose a non-woven one, and for a living room, bedroom or office, you can use more affordable vinyl wallpaper on a paper basis.
Everyone can cope with the choice of color and pattern on their own: it all depends on their own taste and future interior. But nevertheless, you should not glue gloomy wallpapers in dark rooms, and cold-colored wallpapers in rooms with windows to the north, and vice versa. If the room is small, then it is also better to refuse from too large drawings on the wallpaper. But thanks to vinyl wallpaper, you can create an imitation of brickwork, tiles, fabric coverings, etc. on the walls.
In addition, having decided on the type and design of wallpaper, and are going to make a purchase, pay attention to some subtleties:
all wallpaper rolls must be of the same batch and made at the same time. At first glance, the same wallpaper may differ in color if it was produced at different times. This will be very noticeable in the room;
- plastic packaging must be intact;
- gluing instructions must be available;
- compliance with all standards and norms;
- if the price is lower than the market one, then such wallpapers will hardly surprise you with their quality. Therefore, think carefully before making such a deal;
- the name of the manufacturer means a lot today, so it is better to give preference to well-known and reputable companies.
How to glue vinyl wallpaper?
Basically, the process of gluing vinyl wallpaper is not that difficult, and almost everyone can handle it. But still, there are several nuances that are worth paying attention to.
First of all, you need to figure out what tools you need:
- selected wallpaper;
- level, ruler and knife;
- primer brush;
- glue roller;
- spatula for smoothing wallpaper;
- a roller for rolling seams;
- a rag or sponge for wiping off excess glue;
- small brush for gluing wallpaper in hard-to-reach places.
Before starting work, you need to get rid of traces of the old coating and level the walls. Small defects can be putty, and in the presence of large irregularities, plaster or even drywall may be needed, with sheets of which you can simply and quickly level the walls.
After leveling, the walls are primed. If the walls are concrete, then you can’t do without a primer, otherwise stains may appear on the wallpaper. You can use special compounds or simply dilute the wallpaper glue. It is also advisable to treat the surfaces with a fungicidal composition to prevent mold.
It is better to draw a vertical line on the wall strictly according to the level so that the wallpaper canvases are glued as evenly as possible. Before gluing, remove the skirting boards, socket and switch covers.
Before opening the rolls of wallpaper, make sure once again that they have the same pattern and they belong to the same batch. Cutting plain wallpaper is not a hassle: you only need to know the height of the wall and leave a few centimeters below and above for allowances.
If a pattern is applied to the wallpaper, then it must be correctly combined. Cutting in this case is carried out taking into account the alignment of the pattern, and much more wallpaper will be used for the allowances. On the reverse side, each canvas is numbered, and it is marked on it where the top and bottom are. If you have chosen wallpaper with a pattern, then it is better to buy them with a good supply.
First you need to prepare wallpaper glue. It is better to choose special formulations for vinyl wallpaper and prepare them exactly in accordance with the instructions and let it swell for 10 minutes. The wallpaper must be marked as to how it should be glued: apply the glue to the wall or wallpaper. By the way, there are wallpapers on which glue has already been applied, and in this case the task is simplified as much as possible.
If the glue needs to be applied to the wall, then the section of the wall under the first canvas should be smeared with a roller. If the canvas is glued, then it is unnecessary to apply too much glue on it, otherwise it can noticeably stretch: the glue is applied with a roller in a thin even layer.
Experts recommend starting gluing from the window and working together, holding the canvas from above and below. After you attach it to the wall, carefully use a roller to squeeze out excess glue and air bubbles from under it. Movements are made from the center of the strip to its edges. The protruding glue is immediately wiped off with a sponge or cloth.
When the wallpaper strip is glued on, you can cut the seam allowances. Near the ceiling, it is removed completely, cutting off with a sharp knife and holding the edges with a spatula. The lower edge of the wallpaper should go 4-6 mm under the skirting board.
We do the same with the next strip. Vinyl wallpaper is glued end-to-end, so you need to be very careful and focused. If you have chosen a plain wallpaper, then the task is simplified. You can overlap the canvases, then cut through the place where they overlap in the middle with a knife and remove the two thin strips formed. The result is a perfect fit.
The places where the sockets and switches are installed are sealed, and after the glue dries, slots are made in their place. For example, wallpaper is not glued behind radiators, as this is a laborious process. The walls there can be painted to match the wallpaper and that’s it, if that’s possible.
The optimal conditions for these works are a temperature of 20-240C and the absence of drafts.
Vinyl wallpaper is a versatile option for wall decoration. They are suitable for any type of room, as there are different types, they can satisfy any design idea, since a wide variety of patterns and textures are produced. Glueing is also not difficult to cope with, and even a beginner can do this, but if you are not completely confident in your abilities, you should start with finishing the hallway or corridor, so that later in the living room or bedroom you can glue the vinyl wallpaper perfectly.