There are some important things to know before starting a wallpapering project. This page covers general wallpaper information, from what is available to estimating, ordering, and checking your wallpaper before installing it.
On the following couple of pages, we'll explain specific how-to wallpapering techniques.
Pre-Pasted and Unpasted Wallpaper
You can get prepasted wallpaper with the paste already applied to the back. You just soak that in water to activate the paste when you're ready to apply it.
You can also get unpasted wallpaper, but you have to buy the adhesive yourself and apply it to the back of the paper. Check the label carefully on the wallpaper you choose before buying it to make sure you know which type you're getting.
Prepasted papers are usually easier for first-timers to hang, but the soaking needed to activate the paste can stretch the paper a little and result in gaps at the seams after the paper dries.
Vinyl and Vinyl-Coated Wallpaper
Vinyl and vinyl-coated wallpapers are now the most common since they provide the most durable and water-resistant surfaces.
And even though vinyl is thought of as a shiny material, vinyl and vinyl-coated papers now come in a variety of textures.
They're also fairly easy to apply and to remove, so they've become the most popular choices for do-it-yourselfers.
Here are some other types of wallcoverings, which are generally more expensive than the vinyls and more difficult to hang:
Foils and Mylars are wallcoverings with a highly reflective, thin metal coating, which show any surface flaws.
Paintable wallcoverings are neutral in color and manufactured to be painted after application.
Grasscloths are highly textured wallcoverings woven from natural fibers.
Flocked wallcoverings have raised fiber patterns that look like velvet.
Embossed wallcoverings are papers stamped to create a 3-D, relief pattern.
Washable and Scrubbable Wallpapers
Wallcoverings vary in how much cleaning they can withstand. Some can be scrubbed down every day, but others can't stand even a light sponging.
If a wallpaper is described as washable on the label, that means it can be sponged occasionally with soap and warm water.
Scrubbable wallpapers, on the other hand, are strong enough for washing with a soft brush if need be.
Strippable and Peelable Wallpapers
Wallpapers are also categorized by their "removeability" after they've been on the wall for a while.
Strippable wallpapers will easily pull off the wall in one piece, so those would be a good choice for people who tend to redecorate every few years.
Peelable papers usually come off in a couple of layers, with the top layer pulling off as easily as a strippable paper. But that usually leaves a second, thin layer stuck to the wall, and you'll probably have to moisten that to loosen the adhesive before you can pull that layer off.