What are our wallpapers made of?You are excited to choose a wallpaper design for your upcoming renovation. But do you know what material is your wallpaper made of? There are several different wallpaper substrates that also have different application processes. This needs to be considered before starting your project. What does it mean when the wallpaper is described as non-woven or paste the wall wallpapers?
With the introduction of the non-woven substrate over a decade ago, the world of wallpaper has experienced a revolution. The principle of wet laying process for non-woven wallpapers is similar to paper manufacturing. Non-woven wallpapers are sheets of directionally or randomly orientated fibres. These fibres are a mixture of synthetic and natural.
Non-woven wallpapers are also known as "paste the wall" wallcoverings.
Traditional wallpapers have their paste applied directly onto the back of the wallpaper, which requires more preparation time as you need to have your paper soaked.
For non-wovens, however, you will need to apply the paste to the wall. This makes it easier for the installation: Non-wovens can be placed dried against the wall and therefore have a big advantage compared to the papers ones, as the soaking of the paper makes other wallpapers more delicate to tear.
Non-woven wallpapers are renowned for their sturdiness. They are more durable than other paper substrates. For some areas in your home, like a humid bathroom, non-woven wallpapers might not be as durable as vinyl wallpapers, however, they are certainly much more environmental friendly.
Vinyl wallpapers are, as their name says, made of vinyl (PVC plastic). Polyvinyl chloride plastic is uniquely toxic among plastics because of its ingredients, extreme pollution from production, and last but not least its disposal. The essential raw materials for PVC are derived from salt and oil, and it is produced with chlorine. This results in the release of toxic, chlorine-based chemicals. PVC, therefore, is the most environmentally damaging of all plastics. Vinyl is widely used in the building industry (flooring, plumbing), transport, packaging, toys, etc. About 40 million tonnes are produced per year.
Non-woven wallpapersdo not contain vinyl. Therefore they have a significantly lower carbon footprint.
It is normal being a little hesitant to put wallpaper in your home. Many of us are renting and no one fancy to scrape it off painfully cm by cm when moving out again. Well, given that the landlord or new owner is not that much in love with your wallpaper as you are.
Luckily this is not the case with non-woven wallpapers. They are easy to be removed, as they are strippable. This means they are made to be removed in long flowing strips. Over are the days when paper-based wallpapers left damage to the wall. And as non-wovens should not tear during the removal, you will have it all in one piece.
The blend of natural and synthetic fibers makes non-woven wallpaper easy to be cleaned. In the past, any spill of coffee, tea or similar would have left a mark on your wallpaper that you couldn’t get off that easy. Non-woven wallcoverings, however, can be cleaned with mild soap and a bit of water.
Another advantage is that non-wovens are breathable.
Back in the 90ies wallpapers became less desired because people were scared that they cause a problem of mould. The paper substrate the manufacturers used at this time was locking in vapours between itself and the wall. Which meant that the wallpaper back then was unable to breathe. Nowadays, thanks to the new substrate non-wovens are made of, we do not have this problem anymore. They are made of breathable material, resulting in that there is no moisture locked between the paper and the wall.
l Compared to papers, non-woven wallpapers have:
l Higher strength: They are more durable than paper bases
l Better tear resistance: They are renowned for their sturdiness and have a thick feel.
l Are easier to install: Paste the wall and not the paper.
l Are easier to remove: They are strippable. No more scraping like back in the old days.
l Can be cleaned: They are slightly washable with a sponge and mild soap.
l No mould: Wallpapers used to be non-breathable which means that they were locking in vapours between itself and the wall. This could have caused mould. This won't happen with non-wovens as they are breathable.
l Compared to vinyl: Significantly lower carbon footprint