Thirty years ago, if you wanted to wallpaper your bathroom or kitchen, your choices were thick, ultra-plastic looking, shiny rolls of vinyl, with few patterns from which to choose. Not only that, but when applied, the resulting appearance was so obviously not "wallpaper", but more like a heavy plastic shower curtain glued to your wall! Delicacy and refinement went right out the window. That's all changed today. Technology in wall coverings has advanced such that you may be hard pressed to tell the difference between wallpaper and vinyl wall coverings.
The advantage and purpose of vinyl wall coverings is to have a decorative design on walls prior to moisture in the bathroom and grease in the kitchen. Regular wallpaper does not wear well in these conditions, becoming dingy or discolored in the kitchen, or moldy in the bathroom. Regular wallpaper can not be wiped clean, whereas these look good as new with a swipe of your sponge. In the old days, the "good news, bad news" was that, yes, the they were clean, but you were still stuck with that less than aesthetically pleasing vinyl wall covering.
Today's vinyl wall covers are so attractive, you are not faced with choosing between practicality and good looks. These are now available in grades of thickness, labeled as # 1, # 2 and # 3, with # 1 most commonly used in home settings, while # 3 is qualified to heavy traffic areas such as businesses, schools, hotels and hospitals. The vinyl wall coverings of today will stand up to years of heavy use. Some are manufactured with different coatings to serve specific criteria in your application. For example, there are even sterile coats available for use in medical offices and hospitals.
There are two basic types of vinyl wall coverings available: solid vinyl, most suitable to bathrooms or other areas with consistently humid conditions. Solid vinyl is waterproof. The other type is vinyl-coated paper, which most closely approximates regular wallpaper and is sufficient for most home uses. Vinyl-coated paper wall coverings have the same advantage of being scrubbable. The vinyl-coated type is also strippable, so if you ever want a change, it's easily done.
Beside the fact that these wall coverings are easily cleaned, they are also easily repaired should damage occur. Vinyl wall coverings are also fire-retardant, a definite advantage in your kitchen, schools and hospitals as well as business and office applications.
There are "liners" available which are worth your consideration when installing vinyl wall coverings. These liners hide any imperfections in your wall surface, while also making it easier to strip your wall covering later on down the road.
When measuring the amount you'll need, ask your dealer for help. Repeating patterns require matching motifs with each new strip, so you'll have to allow for waste. So today, there's simply no excuse to not take a look at some of these durable and beautiful products when you're thinking of papering a room!