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Types of Wallpaper: Flocks, Foils, Burlap, And What Not


Today we will review the multitude of available wallpaper options so that you would be able to apply your preferences and choose an appropriate type of wallpaper for each space.

Vinyl wallpaper

According to the material it is made of, the wallpaper can be divided into:
- Paper – self-explanatory.
- Vinyl coated – paper or cloth backing coated with liquid vinyl or acrylic. This is the most common kind of stock wallpaper.
- Vinyl – made of vinyl entirely. It is the easiest to hang and remove, very washable and suitable for high traffic areas.
- Fabric – a textile with or without a paper or vinyl backing. This type gives a nice texture and a look of luxury. However, the washing abilities are poor. Unbacked varieties are quite difficult to apply (need to be smoothed out very well) and remove, show defects on the walls, and require clear adhesive. Paper backed varieties are better at hiding flaws on the surface and are easier to apply.
- Grass cloth or Hessian – woven strands of grass or burlap. The superb texture, organic qualities and Zen-like feel of this type should be weighed against low moisture resistance and poor washability. It is relatively easy to hang.

Striking and elegant flock wallpaper

Paper and vinyl coated wallpaper can be further divided into a multitude of options with different qualities. According to its appearance and manufacturing process, wallpaper can be:
- Printed – the most common type when the design is printed onto a paper or vinyl background. A one-ply paper with a printed design is called Simplex, while two layers laminated together are called Duplex. Printed wallpapers are further diversified by design into Chintz, Jaspe, Gravure, Mural, etc.
- Embossed (or Relief) has a strong texture that hides wall imperfections and normally should be painted. It is usually easy to install, remove and clean.
- Flock – capable of creating a striking affect and is made by application of powdered silk, wool, or flock onto a tacky background. The result is a felt-like pattern on a paper or vinyl backing. Certain flocks can be more challenging to hang and clean. Even though flocks are considered old-fashioned, they are quite capable of creating a modern look. Just see the picture above.
- Foil – metallic looking wallpaper that is created with powdered metals combined with paper. These create very sleek and modern interiors, but they demand a thorough wall preparation (as they accentuate all surface imperfections) and can be more difficult to apply evenly. Cleaning is easy though. For a proof that this type of wallpaper is not only for the modernists, check out the vintage design foil pictured below.

Vintage design foil wallpaper

There is a special purpose wallpaper – lining paper – a plain one-ply paper used to prepare/even out the surface of a wall.

With lots more ground to cover in the wallpaper world, stay tuned.

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