Peel & Stick “Removable” – Stay Away!

Please don’t fall for the claims of “easy to install,” “easy to remove,” “temporary,” “no damage to your walls,” etc. Virtually all of that is untrue.

I won’t hang it, and most of my colleagues around the country won’t, either.

In the first photo, note the bubbles and wrinkles, which are virtually impossible to smooth out. Also, look carefully and you will see that this comes in panels (instead of strips), so you have horizontal seams in addition to vertical. And, to match the pattern, the seams are overlapped, so you have a ridge along each length.

A key thing they fail to mention is that this “removable” or “temporary” material is designed to be used for 30-90 days.  After that, the adhesive bond becomes more aggressive, and, when removed, will take the paint – or even the drywall – along with it.  I have seen this happen after only a single day.

The second photo shows the paint that pulled off the wall when the P&S strip was removed. The damaged wall had to be resurfaced and reprimed.

The material can be counted on to shrink over time.   During manufacture, the vinyl is heated to a very high temperature, which enables the material to be stretched very thin.  Therefore when cooled, it will shrink.

In addition, the manufacturer usually recommends special wall prep – smooth, dust-free, and primed with a semi-gloss paint – which has to ‘cure’ for a length of time… up to three weeks… before the paper can go up.  Stretching the job over this time period adds to (perhaps doubles) the installation cost.  

Yet one more reason to avoid this stuff … the plasticized-paper backing that is removed from this P&S material during installation cannot be recycled, so yards and yards of it end up clogging up your local land-fill.  

Please click the links below to see more photos and to read my opinion of this trendy-but-disappointing product.


Wrinkles in corner, due to paper not being malleable.
Many of these come in small rectangles, instead of wall-height strips. Note gapping and poor adhesion.
It won’t stick to the wall!
Removing this “removeable” material also takes paint off the wall.
Paint pulled off the wall, and you can see it stuck to the back of the P&S.
Look at this big balled-up mess! Virtually impossible to pull these sheets apart. If it sticks to itself like this when it’s stripped off the wall, just imagine how difficult it is to wrestle onto the wall in the first place!

What’s super disappointing in this saga is that ANY “typical” wallpaper will be “easily removeable” IF the walls are prepped correctly and the paper is installed correctly, and if the person removing it later follows proper stripping methods (as opposed to trying to yank it off the wall dry).

In addition, the newish ” non-woven ” materials were specifically designed to address this removability issue. They are made of synthetic fibers that hold together tightly, and are created to strip off the wall easily and in one piece when it’s time to redecorate. These are also referred to as paste-the-wall.

So, ditch the peel & stick and go with a traditional, a pre-pasted (but not vinyl ), or a non-woven / paste-the-wall material. And hire someone who will prep and prime the wall, and then hang the paper correctly.


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