Did I Mention that I DON’T LIKE Solid Vinyl Papers?!

Digital Image

Digital Image
Solid vinyl adhered to a somewhat gritty manila-type paper backing, usually pre-pasted and at the lower end of the price scale, is one of my LEAST favorite types of paper. The photo at top shows you exactly why.

Under humid conditions, or, as in this case, where the original installer failed to use a primer under the wallpaper, it’s common for the seams to curl just a little. It’s not a loose seam that can be pasted back, but rather the material curling back on itself, and it’s virtually impossible to fix.

My theory is that the porous manila paper backing tends to absorb moisture / humidity, and when it does, because it is paper, it swells. But the vinyl surface does not expand and is forced to curl back on itself as the backing gets larger.

There is one redeeming quality about this paper, though. Well, two, actually … The first being that these papers are usually fairly washable, and also resistant to some surface stains. Just don’t brush your cleaning sponge crossways across the seam.

The best thing about them, though, is that they usually come off the wall fairly easily. They are called “peelable” papers, and here is the process:

In the second photo, on the left, you see the dark wallpaper still adhered to the wall. To the right, on the lower half of the photo, I have peeled the vinyl surface away from the wall, which usually comes off in pretty big pieces.

The paper backing is still clinging to the wall. No problem. All it takes is a sponge and a little warm water in a bucket. If you’re lucky, as I was today, the paper will peel right off the wall in large strips. At worst, you will have to gently scrape it off with a putty knife.

On the right half of the photo, you can see where I have wet the paper backing, and the water has darkened it. The paste has been reactivated, and the paper is coming away from the wall easily. At the top of the photo, the paper has already been removed completely from the wall, leaving a nice, clean, smooth surface.

Ready for a PRIMER – which the builder’s installer guy should have done in the first place.

NOTE: I am talking about solid vinyl papers with a paper backing, most of which are pre-pasted, and many of which are sold at a low price-point. The newer vinyls on a non-woven backing behave differently, and will probably hold up much better on your wall, without curling seams.

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