This textured grey wallpaper is being exposed to direct light, a wet kitchen area and a high-traffic stairway – all factors that should be considered before buying.
An in-depth explanation of wallpaper symbols
When picking a wallpaper, there is more to consider than simply the design elements. The difficulty level of hanging, how high-traffic the area where it’s being hung is and the amount of exposure it will be getting to light, are among many things that should be taken into consideration when choosing a wallpaper. Familiarize yourself with these wallpaper symbols before shopping to ensure that you choose a functionally appropriate wallpaper that will last for years to come!
Most wallpapers have a pattern on them that needs to be lined up and some are more complicated than others. The type of pattern match will affect how much of the wallpaper you need to buy, as well as, how you will need to hang the wallpaper and how difficult this will be.
Also called 'open match', 'no match', 'random match' or 'no repeat'. This wallpaper doesn't have any design elements that need to be lined up. Therefore, it is the easiest to hang, you will need less of it and it will produce the least waste.
Straight match wallpaper has a pattern that needs to be lined up, but each strip of wallpaper will be exactly the same. Straight match wallpaper is not too hard to hang and it will produce more waste.
Depending on the repeat value, offset wallpaper can be either ‘half drop’ or ‘multiple drop’. With half drop wallpaper, every other strip will be the same and with multiple drop, it might not repeat for 3 or more strips! This is the most difficult wallpaper to hang and produces a substantial amount of waste.
For an even more in-depth explanation of free match, straight match and offset match, and how to calculate how much wallpaper to buy for each, check out our article Wallpaper Pattern Match Explained.
Reverse Alternate Lengths
This means that every other strip should be hung in the opposite direction. These are usually plain, free match wallpapers and it is meant to prevent noticeable seams due to shading.
Read our article "What does 'Reverse Alternate Lengths' of Wallpaper Mean?" for even more in-depth information.
This wallpaper must be hung horizontally. It is very uncommon.
The application method will greatly affect the difficulty level of hanging your wallpaper. The type of application also tends to be tied to the type of material that the wallpaper is made of.
Keep an eye out for this – it’s the easiest application method. Simply apply the paste to the wall and stick the dry product to it. These tend to be non-woven materials and also a bit more expensive.
This symbol means that the product needs to be directly pasted. These wallpapers tend to be paper material and are generally cheaper. This is also a more difficult process as you must be conscious about even soaking times in order to properly match the pattern as the paper changes size when it is wet.
Pre-pasted wallpaper comes with an adhesive already dried to its’ back and it needs to be activated by being dipped in water. This application method is uncommon.
Water Resistance and Washability
If you are looking to wallpaper a bathroom, kitchen or anywhere else that the wallpaper might be exposed to water, then water resistance is an important factor to consider. Keep in mind that wallpaper for high traffic areas, like hallways or kids’ rooms, will also need to be washable and so the scrubbing resistance is also a relevant factor.
In the process of hanging, wet adhesive can be wiped from the front side of the wallpaper without causing visible damage. No other type of washability is implied.
With soapy water on a damp cloth, water based stains (not oily) can be gently wiped from this wallpaper without causing damage.
With soapy water on a damp cloth, some greasy stains can be gently wiped from this wallpaper without causing damage if action is taken quickly.
Using mild detergents or abrasives on a soft brush or sponge, dirt, most domestic water based stains and even some oil, fat or solvent based stains can also be removed.
Dirt and all domestic water based stains maybe cleaned from the wallcovering by intensive treatment with a sponge or soft brush and a mild detergent or mild abrasive. Oils, fats and certain solvent based stains can also be removed.
This symbol will indicate how fade-proof your wallpaper is. This is most relevant for when you are wallpapering a space like a sunroom where long hours of direct sunlight will be had. If it is simply a room that has a normal window in it, wallpaper technology has come far enough that this shouldn’t cause your wallpaper to fade - so don’t worry too much about this.
Are you the type of person that likes to redecorate every other year? Will you likely move out at the end of the year? Ask yourself these questions to determine how important the ease of removal should be to you. Some wallpapers are easier to remove than others, so if you know that it might need to come down in the near future, be considerate to your future self.
Look for strippable wallpaper, it is by far the easiest to remove – simply peel the whole strips from the wall dry.
The patterned surface of this type of wallpaper will come off dry very easily, leaving behind the white backing. This backing is difficult to remove but this struggle can be avoided because it is perfect for hanging wallpaper on top of.
This wallpaper is the most difficult to remove because it needs to be made wet and then scrapped off with tools and often with chemicals.
Overlap & Double Seam Cut
Common with murals, this is a technique whereby the edges of the wallpaper sheets are overlapped and the excess in between is cut out. It is slightly more work but it produces a perfect seamless look.
This is high quality embossed wallpaper that will retain the structure even after being wetted and hung.
This symbol implies a strong wallpaper that can absorb shocks of up to one joule of energy. This might be relevant for hallways where bikes might pass or children’s rooms where rough-housing might occur.
In areas where we eat, wallpaper often needs to be wiped – make sure the wallpaper you choose won’t get ruined. Check out this wallpaper here
- There is more to think about when shopping for wallpaper than just the design.
- Look at the type of pattern match a wallpaper has to gauge the difficulty level, method of hanging and amount you’ll need to buy.
- Application method refers to how the adhesive is applied and will also affect the level of difficulty in hanging the wallpaper.
- Water resistance is relevant for areas where the wallpaper might be exposed to moisture, as well as, for high traffic areas where the wallpaper might need to be cleaned more often.
- Color-fastness shows how resistant to light a wallpaper is and is mostly relevant for spaces that endure long hours of direct sunlight.
- If you expect to have to remove the wallpaper any time soon, aim for strippable wallpaper.
- There are other less common factors to consider and this list is not necessarily exhaustive
Are you still confused or need more details about any of the wallpaper care symbols? Feel free to contact us or leave a comment below!