Wallcovering Types and Uses
Let us help you send a Strong Adhesive, Long-Lasting Message!
Commercial Grade Type I, Type II, and Type III Vinyl Wallcovering
Hospital, Childcare Center, Convention Center, Hotels, Restaurants, Banks, Schools, Colleges, Universities, Retail Stores, Offices, Apartment Buildings, and Airport Terminal
Wallcoverings and murals are a great way to instantly add a pop of color to a plain wall. Although they often decorate homes, restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels, wall coverings are now seen in various offices, retail spaces, hospitals, banks, childcare centers, convention centers, schools, colleges, and universities.
What is the difference between residential wallpaper and commercial wallpaper?
Conventional residential wallpaper is used in commercial spaces, and what’s considered “commercial grade wallcovering” is also sometimes used in homes.
Many salons, spas, offices, and other small to medium businesses choose conventional vinyl coated, solid vinyl, non-woven, or paper wallpaper if there isn’t too much heavy foot traffic. If it is Class A Fire Rated, and most papers made in the United States will be, it will be acceptable and perfectly passable with the fire marshal.
On the flip side, many homeowners have used commercial-grade vinyl in their bathrooms, laundry rooms, hallways, and basements for decades. They like the durability and washability of fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper. We recently spoke to a man who is now pulling down commercial-grade wallpaper from his kitchen after 30 years. Safe to say, he got his money’s worth. The point is just because it says commercial doesn’t mean it can’t be used in homes, RVs, yachts, garages, and home businesses.
You would not want to install residential wallpaper in a heavily trafficked space like a hotel or large conference space. These wallpaper would look great the first day and be dirty, torn, and ripped to shreds by the week’s end. Also worth noting are the sizes for these “residential patterns.” They come in 20.50, 27- and 36-inch widths, sold in single and double rolls. These sizes are not ideal for large installation spaces, resulting in many unsightly seams if used. Commercial grade vinyl wall coverings are sold much wider so the printing can overlap and create a smooth continuous scene or pattern where seams are hidden or very minimal.
Today, there is no shortage of options for ornamenting the walls of interior spaces. But few products offer more durability and ease of cleaning than commercial grade vinyl wallcoverings, which are produced for use across hospitality, residential, workplace, retail, education, and healthcare sectors.
Not all vinyl wallcoverings are created equal, and it is essential to understand the characteristics that distinguish each type before sourcing for a specific interior project. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) assigns a type to wallcovering. Below breaks down the three types of vinyl wallcoverings and underscores the advantages of each for various applications.
Wallpaper has come a very long way over the centuries. It is certainly not your grandmother’s, and although you can still get wall “paper,” it is referred to as wallcovering in the décor and print industry. Today, you can choose a stylish covering without having to sacrifice durability. The problem is that you may not know where to start choosing the right wall covering because there are a few different types, including specialized covering. It can seem overwhelming, but ultimately there are three things you need to consider to get the optimal results for your commercial space, and we will try and simplify those for you here.
Type I and Type II Vinyl Wallcoverings
When searching for a wallcovering that works in a low-traffic space such as a restaurant, workplace, or even your home, a Type I vinyl wallcovering can fit the bill with its light-duty, commercial-grade material. Type I vinyl wallcoverings will typically weigh between 12 to 19 ounces per linear yard and are most quoted for use in hotel rooms, waiting rooms, and other budget-conscious projects—given its economic advantages—as well as for use along ceilings and areas of light abrasion. However, despite Type I’s popularity, affordability, and availability, these wallcoverings are often in the shadows of those deemed to be Type II.
Corporate, healthcare and hospitality areas can’t use regular wallpaper that you would hang in your living room. Even heavyweight solid vinyl wallpaper would get scratched and torn to shreds within weeks (or even days) due to too much high-traffic wear and tear.
Just take a hotel lobby, for instance – can you imagine all the suitcases, bellhop carts, and hundreds of travelers bumping against the wall daily? The only thing that could take that type of beating is a commercial-grade wallcovering specifically made to withstand it. Type II vinyl wall covering would be your best choice to get more bang for your buck.
Type II wallcoverings are made of medium to heavy-duty material, weighing between 20 to 28 ounces per linear yard. As such, Type II is considered the most widely specified category for commercial interiors and is more aptly suited for a broad range of high-traffic applications, including hospitality, healthcare, office, retail, education, and any interiors that endures moderate to heavy scuffing.
By law, both Type I and Type II wallcoverings are required to have the same flame spread and smoke development. They are manufactured to meet or surpass the minimum physical and performance characteristics set forth by Federal Specifications. Though the differences between Type I and Type II wallcovering are not extreme by any means, it is possible to distinguish between them just by touch. One can perceive the rigidity and hardiness of Type II wallcoverings compared to Type I by simply running a hand over both surfaces.
To qualify as a Type II wallcovering, according to CCC-W-408D specifications, a vinyl needs to meet or exceed a specific requirement in these categories:
- Abrasion Resistance
- Breaking Strength Crocking (the tendency of a fabric or paint to give off color when the surface is rubbed, in this case, wallcovering)
- Stain Resistance
- Tear Resistance
- Blocking Resistance
- Coating Adhesion
- Cold Crack Resistance
- Color Fastness
Type III Vinyl Wallcoverings
Type III vinyl wallcoverings are the most durable and robust of the contract wallcoverings. Made to withstand the most heavily trafficked areas and typically weigh over 33 ounces per linear yard. Type III wallcoverings must meet the highest federal requirements for abrasion resistance, breaking strength, and tear resistance. Best case use is in locations where more durable wall protection is needed, such as healthcare environments. Use this type for low-height areas such as hospital corridors or elevator banks, spaces often exposed to very heavy traffic by movable equipment or rough abrasion. A Type III wallcovering is also manufactured to meet the minimum physical and performance characteristics set forth in Federal Specifications.
Wallcovering Type II for elevator lobbies on two-floor levels and bullpen of children’s cardiology unit of a hospital
Below features photos of a Wallcovering, Type II project for a hospital client. The client specifically wanted the Wallcovering Type II material for its Class A fire rating as well as the durability factor to endure in high-traffic areas. The graphic design in the two elevator areas depicts a tree theme that is cohesive with the theme already in place within a newly built high rise on the hospital campus. At the same time, the playful and colorful graphics of hearts on various columns within the bullpen amplify the purpose of the children’s cardiology unit itself. One of the challenges of this project was to color-match the wallcovering graphics with the existing wall colors. This created a flawless transition from wallcovering to the wall, as if they are one and the same.
Tree theme wallcovering in elevator area of two different floor levels
Heart theme wallcovering in bullpen area of children’s cardiology unit
Want to know more about Wallcovering Type I, Wall Wraps, Wall Decal, Wall Lettering?
As an industry trend, we are noticing that Type I may be taking a back seat to Type II and, eventually, phasing out. Currently, there are quadruple the amount of 20 oz. options available versus the 15 oz. Many manufacturers have stopped making Type I vinyl and are concentrating on Type II because, when given a choice, most decision makers go with a Type II. The difference between low and high traffic can be highly subjective, and even the smallest one-person office can get damaged over time by that person bumping his chair against the wall daily.
It’s also worth noting the higher-end designer commercial grade vinyl will always be Type II – like Candice Olson, Stacey Garcia, Barclay Butera, Ronald Redding, Kenneth James, and Patty Madden, for example. Their collection has never contained a single Type I vinyl.
The backing on wallcoverings has changed and evolved. While it is certainly still possible for wallcoverings to peel and crack, these are far more minor issues compared to what used to happen to wallcovering over time. Therefore, it is our choice and the pick of most commercial designers to go with Type II wallcovering. It can withstand a lot of abuse without losing its adhesion to the wall.
Keep in mind that a 20 oz. vinyl will cost on average 50% more than 15 oz. vinyl. Consider how much traffic you will have in an area because you may be able to go with the lightweight option. Hallways typically need Type II wallcovering because people are more likely to scratch the walls due to the narrow space. For waiting spaces and relaxing areas, you can choose a Type I that doesn’t need to be able to withstand constant ill-treatment.
Type II wallcoverings are commercial contract grade wallcoverings with a 20 Oz. weight. Commercial wallcoverings are produced specifically for use in hotels, apartment buildings, office buildings, schools and hospitals, and other businesses. Type II 20 oz. wallcovering vinyl is typically used in high-traffic/public areas, foyers, lounges, corridors, offices, hospital wards, and classrooms. They are manufactured to meet or surpass minimum physical and performance characteristics set forth in Federal Specifications CCC-W-408. Using the corner burn test, they are classified by flame spread and smoke development based on ASTM E 84 Steiner Tunnel tests or NFPA 286.
If cost is an issue and you need to make your budget stretch, then you can get away with Type I if there won’t be a high amount of wear and tear over time. However, if cost is not that much of an issue, we have found that Type II lasts the longest and is typically the best option for most commercial spaces.
Traffic and Durability
For wallcoverings, these two things are very closely linked. The more traffic you have in an area, the more durable you need the wallcovering to be. Consider what is likely to go on in the room before determining the type to select. Hallways, for example, are typically Type II or III because nearly everyone will go through the hallway, which means they will be bumping against the walls, scratching them with bags and purses, mobile equipment, and scuffing them up.
Locations where people tend to be waiting or stay seated most of the time, will be alright with Type I. The room will still get a good bit of traffic, so you want something more durable than ordinary wallpaper. However, people will usually be sitting on furniture or remain in the center of the room so that you won’t need something as resilient as the covering for the hallway.
Type III is for heavy-duty traffic likely to punish the walls, such as a childcare centers,s convention centers, and airports. If people will be flooding into the room with great frequency, and many will be bumping into the wall, leaning against it, or knocking objects against it consistently, then Type III should be considered.
Once you determine what area you are putting your wallcovering in and have evaluated the traffic, there are a few more things you want to consider before choosing Type I, II, or III.
You want something that is not only durable but it also needs to be able to withstand the punishment of time. All the types can withstand things like sun exposure, but the Type II and Type IIIs meet stricter requirements for sustainability. Wallcoverings can last 10 to 15 years, giving outstanding sustainability and reliability. If an area is exposed to more sun or other elements, you should consider a more sustainable type.
While not as important as the other two aspects, it is ultimately what makes an impression on the people who enter your building. Custom wall coverings are an affordable and quick way to transform spaces, big or small. It can reflect the room’s purpose, shift an area’s mood, or inspire creativity. If you want to change your surroundings and set the right tone from the start, look no further than a creative wallcovering, mural, or wall decal to give your space a makeover instantly. A wallcovering adds a beautiful look to any room, and although it is long-lasting and durable, it can be removed without damage.
Class A Fire Rated
What does “Class A Fire Rated” mean, and why should it matter to your business when selecting a wallcovering?
As the name states, this rating pertains to how well a particular wallcovering performs in the event of smoke or fire. While a wallcovering will undoubtedly burn, if it has a Class A rating, it reduces how quickly the fire spreads. There are three classifications, A, B, and C.
The different fire classifications are based on the ratings applied to other building materials, such as roof coverings or plastic products. Wallcoverings follow the same fire rating applications as other products, so once you understand how the rating applies to wallcoverings, you will be able to use the knowledge for other materials required for your project.
All wallcoverings must undergo rigorous testing to be certified according to NSF/ANSI 342. To qualify, the product must be able to demonstrate certain burning characteristics that are common to other types of building materials. The classification system measures how fast the fire spreads and how far the fire travels during the test. For example, the testers hang a sample of the wallcovering 20 inches in height by 25 feet in length in a test area. Gas flames are then applied to the end of the material to test the FSR (flame spread rate). Known as the “corner burn test.” The lower the score, the longer it takes fire to reach the top of the paper.
Class A has an FSR of 0 to 25, making it able to withstand fire for longer than any of the other classifications.
If you have a facility with a higher fire risk, you may want to consider using a wallcovering with a Class A fire rating. It can slow a fire down because it doesn’t burn as fast as the average wallpaper.
Considering recent events, millions of employees found themselves working at home for the first time. Many entrepreneurs have been working from home for years, and their home offices have been the perfect balance of productivity and comfort. They know that even a small space can be a fertile garden for business growth. Unlike corporate cubicles, the home office is entirely customizable, so choosing a great wallcovering can turn your home into the workspace you’ve always wanted.
Whether you want your home office to be your personalized hobby haven, a trend-setting creative zone, or the pinnacle of productivity, the proper design can turn your dreams into a reality.
Keeping work at work is essential, but it becomes complicated when your office is part of your home. If you have a separate room for your home office, highlight the shift with unique wallpaper that stands out from the rest of the house. Try a color that isn’t used elsewhere or a pattern that speaks to the type of work you do. Even a different motif in the same color palette will be enough to help you mentally shift gears.
Maybe the “home office” is a multi-purpose room or guest bedroom. In that case, separating the work area from the public space may help keep your mind on task. An open floor plan can make it even more challenging to keep your two lives separate. Setting up your laptop in a tucked-away corner while the rest of the house buzzes around you may be convenient, but it’s important to step away from work at the end of the day. Define your work zone with your own distinctive wallcovering.
Whether it is business at the office, a classroom at school, a hospital waiting room, a hotel lobby, daycare, or your living room, A&I is here to help you transform your walls into a long-lasting adhesive message. We will bring our idea book and show you how simple a great wall covering can be.