What is the best type of wallpaper?

Wallpaper might not be as popular as it once was, but it’s still a great option for covering walls. It has some advantages to paint alone in certain situations, especially when you want a cool pattern for a feature wall. There are several different types of wallpaper to choose from including paper-backed, bamboo, and vinyl. If you’re considering putting up new wallpaper, you might be wondering what’s the best type of wallpaper. 

Overall, we think that you’ll get the best value from vinyl wallpaper. However, each type has its own pros and cons and we’ll cover some of them in this article. 

Paper wallpapers

It may seem strange that “paper” wallpaper is only one category. But that’s due to changes in wallpaper material over the years. Paper is still a popular option as it’s inexpensive and easy to find. 

Paper-backed wallpaper

Paper-backed wallpaper means that the back of the surface that goes against the wall is made from paper. It has a paper substrate on the back that is glued to the wall. On the other side, it may have different material such as decorative vinyl or it could have paper as well. Paper-backed wallpaper is peelable, but it doesn’t always come off easy. Take a look at our article How to Remove Wallpaper for an easier way to remove paper-backed wallpaper. 

Paper-faced wallpaper

Opposite to paper-backed wallpaper, paper-faced wallpaper means that the front of the surface is made from paper. The design will be printed directly on this paper on the visible side. The side connecting to the wall could be made from a different material such as vinyl. Paper-faced wallpaper is typically washable–you can use a light cleaner and wipe it occasionally–but may not be scrubbable for heavy-duty scrub cleaning without tearing. 

Vinyl wallpapers

Vinyl is a versatile material for wall coverings and many people choose to use vinyl these days instead of paper. The entire wallpaper can be made from vinyl, or one side can have a viny coating. 

Advantages of vinyl wallpapers

Vinyl has replaced paper wall coverings in many situations because it offers a number of advantages compared to traditional paper. Some of these include: 

  • Easier to remove. Vinyl wallpaper is much easier to remove than paper or other options. A solid sheet of vinyl will peel off without much trouble if you start from the corner. 
  • More Durable. Vinyl is more durable than paper. It’s thicker and more robust, so you won’t damage it easily.
  • Washable and scrubbable. Because it’s more durable, vinyl can be scrubbed without tearing. Most stronger cleaners aren’t an issue either. It is naturally water-resistant as well. 
  • More texture options. Since vinyl is thicker than paper, it has more options for texture like embossments. There are also different finish options like matte and glossy. 

Disadvantages of vinyl wallpapers

If vinyl is the best type of wallpaper with so many advantages, why doesn’t everyone use it? The main reason comes down to price. It’s not uncommon for vinyl coverings to cost twice as much as paper. Many older homes had wallpaper from before vinyl was widespread. Sometimes it’s easier to repair small sections in existing wallpaper than replace the whole thing too. 

Other types of wallpaper

There are some other types of wallpaper you may come across such as: 

  • Fabric coated wallpaper – This kind has a fabric substrate that is coated with acrylic or liquid vinyl. 
  • Grasscloth wallpaper – A category of wallpaper that relates to natural fibres instead of synthetic fibres. Bamboo and hemp are some examples. 
  • Foil wallpaper – Wallpaper that’s similar to aluminium foil on an industrial level. 

Which wallpaper is best for me? 

If it’s within your budget, we recommend getting decent vinyl wallpaper. We think it’s the best type of wallpaper overall. Your next best option is vinyl-backed or vinyl-faced, depending on if it’s more important to install or to clean. If both are out of your price range, go with one of the paper options. 

No matter which kind of wallpaper you have or want, our team can help you out. We can do wallpaper removal, installation, and minor repairs when possible of any kind of wallpaper. We can also help you pick out the best option for your property. Get in touch with us to find out more or to get a free quote. 

View other articles