Types of Vinyl Wall Coverings

Written by angela roe
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Types of Vinyl Wall Coverings
Select the right weight and style of vinyl wallcoverings for the room. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Vinyl wall coverings are wall coverings with some type of vinyl protection. Coatings are protections applied to the top of the wall coverings, while backings are adhered to the back of the wall coverings. Vinyl wall coverings with backing hide imperfections in wall surfaces better than vinyl-coated wall coverings. Not all vinyl wall coverings state whether they're paper- or fabric-backed or vinyl-coated. Ask questions to understand what type of vinyl wall covering is under consideration.

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Vinyl-coated wall coverings differ from most vinyl wall coverings in that there is no vinyl backing on the wall covering. Vinyl-coated wall coverings have a vinyl top coat that's misted onto the surface to protect it. This type of vinyl coating is used to cover intricate detailing in the wall cover pattern. This wall covering doesn't hide wall imperfections well and it's not as durable as other types of vinyl wall coverings. Vinyl-coated wall coverings show fingerprints and wash marks after a short period of time.


Paper-backed wall coverings have a paper backing applied to the vinyl wall covering. Paper-backed wall coverings are stronger than vinyl-coated wall coverings. This type of wall covering washes well and can be used in low-humidity rooms. Avoid this wall covering in high-humidity areas, especially bathrooms without exhaust fans. High humidity can create delamination, the separation of the paper backing from the vinyl wall covering.


Fabric-backed wall coverings are the most durable type of vinyl wall coverings. The fabric backing is stronger than paper backing so this wall covering is easier to clean and stands up to wear and tear better than paperbacked vinyl wall coverings. Hide imperfections on the wall surface with fabric-backed vinyl wall coverings. Select fabric-backed vinyl wall coverings for long-term installation. This type of wall covering can last a decade or more.

Common Terms

Learn what the features of each type of vinyl wall covering means to select the best option for each room. A washable vinyl wall covering means it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or sponge. Scrabble means the vinyl wall covering can be cleaned with mild soap and water. Stain-resistant wall coverings are hard to discolour. Abrasion-resistant means the vinyl wall coverings are washable, scrubbable, stain-resistant and hard to tear or rip. Colour-fast wall coverings fade less in sunlight than non-colour-fast wall coverings. Peelable wall covering are easy to separate from their backings, while strippable wall coverings are easy to remove and leave little glue behind.

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