Wallcoverings Characteristics


While the Federal Government ratings are important, it is also important to understand the definition of each wallcoverings characteristic. The more a designer knows about which characteristics, the better choices they can make in specifying the proper wallcovering.

Key Points

A listing of the most important or common characteristics and definitions are as follows:

  • Washable – wallcoverings that can withstand occasional sponging with a prescribed detergent solution.
  • Scrubbable – wallcoverings that can withstand scrubbing with a brush and a prescribed detergent solution.
  • Stain Resistance – the ability to show no appreciable change after removal of different types of stains such as grease, butter, coffee, etc.
  • Abrasion Resistance – the ability to withstand mechanical actions such as rubbing, scraping or scrubbing.
  • Colorfastness – the ability to resist change or loss of color caused by exposure to light over a measured period of time.
  • Peelable – the decorative surface and ground may be dry peeled leaving a continuous layer of substrate on the wall. This remaining substrate can be used as a liner for hanging new wallcoverings. It must, however, be scraped off to prepare the wall for paint. Peelable wallcoverings are usually paper-backed vinyl products in which a layer of solid vinyl is adhered to a substrate.
  • Strippable – wallcoverings that can be dry stripped from the wall leaving a minimum of paste or adhesive residue and without damage to the wall's surface. Be sure to note the difference between strippable and peelable.
  • Prepasted – the substrate of the wallcoverings has been treated with an adhesive that is activated by water.
  • Unpasted – the substrate of the wallcoverings has not been pre-treated with an adhesive. An adhesive must be applied to the wallcoverings or wall (depending on type and manufacturer’s instructions) to apply wallcoverings to the wall surface. Common in specialty and non-woven contract wallcoverings.
  • Self-adhesive – found in wallcoverings borders, the substrate has been treated with a self-sticking adhesive. No water is needed to activate adhesion.

The specific characteristics of an individual wallcoverings will be listed on the label, on the bolt or designated in the sample book using international symbols.

International Symbols

International Symbols


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