Wallcovering vs. Wallpaper

What's the Difference?


What’s the difference between a wallpaper and a wallcovering? Many say it’s the same product but they are two very different products.

Wallpaper is exactly what it is: a coated paper and mainly used in residential homes.

A wallcovering is more suited to the commercial industry and mainly made up of a fabric composition. It is ideally used in heavy traffic areas, for example: entrance hallways, corridors and board/meeting rooms, etc. There are paper wallcoverings but these are mainly used in light traffic areas and not as robust as fabric.

Wallcoverings are wider than your normal roll of wallpaper that’s 52 cm x 10.05m and known as “Wide-Width”. Wallcoverings can vary in widths from 75cm to 140cm with any length required but will be prepared in specific batch numbers for hanging purposes. They’re often found with no trimmed edges and mostly doubled-cut in position on the wall using specialist tooling and knives with cutting strips. This is to protect the wall behind it and prevent seams from opening up.


The designs of wide width wallcoverings are endless. Manufactures have their own design libraries from a simple marble effect to complex patterns and anything is possible. They can even be bespoke to suit your business; after all, why not incorporate your company’s logo into a great image? It’s something for potential clients to admire, especially in boardrooms and meeting rooms, as well as a great talking point.

The complexity of using a wide wallcovering is speed of installation: with more square metres covered, less seams present, completely washable (depending on product suitability) and are often fire retardant. For the product to comply, manufacturers’ guidelines need to be followed with precision. Correct preparation should be carried out and the right choice of adhesive used, which is absolutely crucial when installing a wide-width wallcovering – otherwise the product could fail especially with the integrity of fire retarding. If in doubt always consult the manufacturer for further guidance.

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