Understanding Wallcoverings


Key chapters in this section include:


Pattern and Run Numbers

A pattern number and dye-lot or "run number" is printed on each roll. A pattern number identifies a particular design and color way of a pattern. The dye-lot number represents a particular group of rolls that are printed on the same print run. Different dye-lot numbers could signal variables such as a possible tonal change of color, a change in the vinyl coating or a change in the embossing process.

Because of this, it is very important to check each individual roll in your wallpaper job to ensure uniformity in color and pattern. It is also important to record pattern numbers and dye-lot or run numbers in case additional rolls are needed to complete a project.

Back to top

Common Wallpaper Characteristics

Below is a listing of the most important or common characteristics and definitions for wallpaper:

  • Scrubbable means that the wallpaper can withstand scrubbing with a brush and a prescribed detergent solution. (An attribute that would be useful for wallpaper used in a kitchen, bath or laundry room, for example.) Washable means that the wallpaper can withstand occasional sponging with a prescribed detergent solution. (Great for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms.)
  • Stain Resistance is the ability to show no appreciable change after the removal of different types of stains such as grease, butter, coffee, etc. (Ideal for kitchens and baths.)
    Abrasion Resistance is the ability to withstand rubbing, scraping or scrubbing. (A good attribute for wallpaper in a foyer or hallway.)
  • Colorfastness is the ability to resist change or loss of color caused by exposure to light. (Most of today's wallpapers easily provide this attribute.)
  • Peelable means that the decorative surface and ground may be drypeeled from the wall, leaving a continuous layer of the substrate on the wall. This remaining substrate can be used as a liner for hanging new wallpaper. Peelable paper is great if you love the look of wallpaper and plan on redecorating with it again and again.
  • Strippable means that the wallpaper can be drystripped from the wall leaving a minimum of paste or adhesive residue and without damage to the wall's surface. This is the type to use if your are renting or leasing, as the paper can be easily removed when you leave. Prepasted means that the substrate of the wallpaper has already been treated with an adhesive that is activated by water.

Whether a particular wallpaper is strippable, peelable, washable and so on is shown in the sample book or on the label of the wallpaper bolt.

Back to top

Packaging and Sizes

Wallpaper comes in different lengths and widths and, although usually priced by the single roll, it is packaged either as double or triple rolls. People may find this packaging versus pricing situation hard to understand. However, wallpaper is packaged this way because double and triple rolls provide more usable wallpaper than single rolls. In addition, extra wallpaper allows for a margin of error during hanging, will help avoid the problem of finding the same dye lot or printing run when reordering to complete a project, or if the wallpaper on the wall has been damaged and needs repair.

Important things to note:

  • Wallpapers can be manufactured in different widths -- primarily due to different equipment in different factories.
  • Metric, also called Euro, single rolls have between 27 ½ and 29 square feet. Double rolls have 56 to 58 square feet.
  • American single rolls, which are being phased out, are packaged with almost 25 percent more wallpaper than a metric roll. American single rolls, regardless of their lengths and widths, usually have about 36 square feet of surface; double roll bolts about 72 square feet and triple roll bolts between 101 and 108 square feet.

Back to top

Pattern Matches

All wallpapers, except some textures and murals, have a pattern repeat. The repeat is the vertical distance between one point on the pattern to the identical point vertically. This pattern repeat is an integral part of the design. The repeat can range anywhere from an inch -- or even occasionally less -- up to as much as the width of the wallpaper or more.

If the wallpaper to be hung has a pattern, find out what type of pattern match it has. There are three major types of pattern matches:

  • Random Match -- In this type of pattern, the pattern matches no matter how adjoining strips are positioned. Stripes are the best examples of this type match. It is generally recommended to reverse every other strip to minimize visual effects such as shading or color variations from edge-to-edge. Note that any random match will produce less waste since there is no repeat distance to take into account.
  • Straight Across Match -- This match has design elements which match on adjoining strips. Every strip will be the same at the ceiling line.
  • Drop Match -- This match has several different types: 
    • Half-Drop Match -- Every other strip is the same at the ceiling line and the design elements run diagonally. It takes three strips to repeat the vertical design. If you numbered the strips consecutively, the odd numbered strips (1, 3, 5 and so on) would be identical and the even numbered strips (2, 4, 6, and so on) would match one another. (Note that a drop match is simply a straight match split in half.) Be sure to lightly number (in pencil) on the back of each strip the order in which they are to be hung to avoid confusion.
    • Multiple drop Match -- a match that takes four or more strips before the vertical design is repeated. Similar to drop match except it takes more strips to repeat the first strip.

Back to top

International Wallcovering Symbols


Back to top

Back to Residential Wallcoverings Resource Center

more Latest News
There are currently no news items posted.
more Calendar

10/21/2020 » 10/22/2020
2020 TecTrac

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal