Types of Commerical Wall Coverings

Commercial wallcoverings are produced specifically for use in hotels, apartment buildings, office buildings, schools and hospitals. They are manufactured to meet or surpass minimum physical and performance characteristics set forth in Federal guidelines (Federal Specifications CCC-W408). The guidelines focus on requirements for flammability, tear strength, abrasion resistance, washability, scrubbability, and stain resistance. Examples of various types of commercial wallcoverings are:

Vinyl Coated Paper

A wallcovering that has a paper substrate on which the decorative surface has been sprayed or coated with an acrylic type vinyl or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Paper Backed Vinyl/Solid Sheet Vinyl

is a wallcovering that has a paper (pulp) substrate laminated to a solid decorative surface. This type of wallcovering is very durable since the decorative surface is a solid sheet of vinyl. It is classified as scrubbable and peelable.

Fabric Backed Vinyl

is a wallcovering that has a woven substrate of fabric or a non-woven synthetic substrate. In either case, the substrate is laminated to a solid vinyl decorative surface. General categories of this type of wallcovering include:

Type I (Light Duty) -- For use in office areas, hospital patient rooms, and hotel rooms.

Type II (Medium Duty) -- For use in foyers, lounges, corridors and classrooms.

String Effects are wallcoverings that have very fine vertical threads laminated to a paper type substrate.

Natural Textile Wallcoverings

are usually laminated to a backing to enhance dimensional stability and to prevent the adhesive from coming through to the surface. These backings are usually acrylic or paper. Textiles are manufactured in a variety of widths and are constructed of natural fibers. Natural textiles can be finely designed or coarse in texture depending on the desired look.

Polyolefin/Synthetic Textile Wallcoverings

are woven and non-woven looking wallcoverings and were developed to give the aesthetic appearance of a natural textile while adding an increased value in stain and abrasion resistance. These products are generally put up with an acrylic or paper backing. Many of these products are comprised of polyolefin yarns, which are olefin fibers made from polymers or copolymers of propylene.

Acoustical Wallcoverings are designed for use on vertical surfaces, panels, operable walls and any place sound reduction is a primary factor such as meeting rooms, offices, theaters, auditoriums, restaurants as well as corridors and elevator lobbies. These products are predominantly made of man-made polyester and olefin fibers, and are tested for a special sound absorption rating known as a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NCR) rating. This rating indicates the amount of sound absorbed into the wall. The higher the number, the more noise absorption.

Cork and Cork Veneer

have a variegated texture with no definite pattern or design. Cork veneer is shaved from cork planks or blocks and laminated to a substrate that may be colored or plain.

Wood Veneer

wallcoverings are mostly laminated to fabric backing. They are usually made in sheets 18 to 24 inches wide and provided in any length up to 144 inches long. Due to characteristics relative to environmental and grain matching, wood veneers are used mostly in the office or conference room environment along with some other specialty areas, such as large columns.


is a blank stock-type wallcovering. It comes in different weights such as light, medium and heavy. It can be plain paper stock or a non-woven type material. Liner can be used on almost any wall surface, such as plaster, plasterboard (drywall), paneling and cinder block. Its purpose is to provide a smooth surface for the installation of wallcoverings.

Content Provided by the Wallcoverings Association (WA).