New to wallpaper? Browse our glossary of terms used in the wallcovering industry.
The wall in a room on which special or extra emphasis has been given to attract attention from the adjacent walls.
American single roll
The wallpaper roll will contain between 34 to 36 square feet, regardless of length and width. Contains 25 percent more material than a Euro roll, so you have fewer seams, but its width makes it slightly more difficult to handle.
A Greek word meaning "raised ornament". When speaking about wallpaper, it refers to a type that is embossed or textured, looking like ornate plasterwork. Anaglypta wallpaper is available only in white; it must be painted after hanging.
Two or three single rolls of wallcovering sold as a continuous length packaged as one unit.
When applying paste onto wallpaper, the procedure of temporarily folding, not creasing, pasted surfaces on to each other for easier handling and allowing time for the adhesive to soak into the paper, keeping it tacky until ready to hang. It allows the wallcovering to relax, which helps to prevent stretching and shrinking that can cause seams to show. Also known as Accordion folding.
A narrow band of wallpaper usually used along ceiling lines, baseboards, doors, windows, and at chair rail height in place of or in addition to wood molding.
Wallcoverings that allow water and air to pass through. String wallpaper, vinyl-coated paper, and paintable woven fiberglass wallcoverings are breathable.
Butted seam (Butt joint)
Two strips of wallpaper are laid with the edges just touching without any overlapping or spacing between the strips.
A geometric form composed of a horizontal or vertical string of V's used either singly or in a series to form a zig-zag. Also called saw tooth for its tooth-like protrusions.
A French term that describes the influence of Chinese design in wall coverings and fabrics. Usually represented by graceful, flowing floral designs with birds, and branches. Subdued tones or rich, multi-colors are used.
The various color choices for a specific pattern.
The wall space between the chair rail and the baseboard.
Patterns imitating stylized textiles, usually monochromatic in color with floral, foliage or swag themes.
Double cut seam
A wallpaper seam in which the edges of two adjoining sheets are overlapped and then cut through the overlap; then excess materials are removed from both layers and the seam is pressed into place. Also known as an overlapping butt joint.
A length of wallcovering cut to fit a specific space. A full drop runs from the ceiling to the baseboard and includes allowances for trimming. Also called a sheet or strip.
A design in which the pattern is staggered rather than straight across. The pattern at the top is the same on every other strip of wallcovering. There is waste with the drop matching of large-scale patterns, therefore, when dealing with a drop match, paper hangers use the technique of measuring and cutting adjacent strips from different rolls of wallcovering and alternating them. Also so known as a pattern drop.
Describes a wallpaper that can be pulled off the wall without first treating it with a wetting agent.
E & F
Wallpaper that has a raised textured effect, like Anaglypta paintables or a velvet flocked wallpaper.
A single roll of wallcovering sized in the metric system. Standard Euro rolls yield about 29 square feet of surface material. Its narrower width makes it easier than an American roll to handle, but you get more seams. Also known as a metric roll.
A French word for "imitation". In wallpapers, it usually applies to designs that imitate actual textures such as wood and stone.
Wallcovering made by a machine that shakes very fine cotton, silk, rayon or nylon fibers from a hopper over a pattern printed in varnish or slow drying paint, to create the appearance of cut velvet.
Constructed by laminating a thin sheet of aluminum onto a substrate of paper or scrim. Foils sometimes have a polyester sheet between the paper backing and the foil to prevent water in the adhesive from actually contacting the foil. They must be hung on very smooth surfaces and require great care in handling.
A horizontal ornamental border along the top of a room or panel. Generally a pictorial border that ran above, the door height or, in a dining room, above the plate rail.
J & L
A soft, resilient natural fiber extracted from the stalks of the giant corchorus plants grown in Kerala, a state of India.
Liner paper (Lining paper)
A special paper, also called blank stock, usually applied horizontal and used under wallcoverings. Benefits of use include, smoother surface for final wallcovering, serves as an excellent porous base for decorative wallpaper, and sets (bonds) the seams and controls the expansion/contraction process (moisture and vapor bubble reduction).
Wallcovering patterns are printed in repeats known as straight match, drop match, and random match. The "match" refers to the place where the design matches at the seams. When ordering wallcovering, be sure to take the pattern repeat and match into consideration. For instance, a large repeat with a straight match will require more wallcovering than a small repeat with a drop match. A random match has the least waste factor, because no allowances need to be made for matching the pattern.
A dull or flat finish.
Consist of a vacuum metalized polyester film laminated to a fabric backing. They have a highly reflective surface of foil without the accompanying stiffness and creasing. They are strong and durable.
Wallpaper that gives the appearance of a sheet metal or foil.
Wall coverings with a pictorial design that continues over two or more strips of wallpaper and is intended to cover part or most of a wall without repeat. These scenes may be photographic, digital, custom, hand, or machine printed.
N & O
View Natural materials, such as bamboo, jute, rice paper, silk, cork, reed, sisal, cotton, and grass are laminated to a paper backing. They are usually unpasted. They provide a natural and textured character to decoration and are available in an extensive variety of color combinations.
A method of hanging wallcovering in which strips overlap slightly. Primarily used on commercial goods.
Paper backed vinyl
Solid vinyl layer of material is laminated or bonded to a paper-backing sheet. This type of wallcovering is very durable since the decorative surface is a solid sheet of vinyl, making it scrubbable and peelable. Paper backed vinyl can be used in most areas of the home since it resists moisture and is stain and grease resistant. However, this type of wallpaper will not withstand hard physical abuse. Also known as solid sheet vinyl.
The alignment of wallpapering strips at the edges so that the design makes a continuous horizontal, vertical, or diagonal flow of pattern around the room.
The distance between identical parts of a wallpaper's pattern in a straight vertical line.
Wallpaper that simulates photography that is enlarged to be placed on a room-sized wall or door. Photo murals are usually divided into quarter panels for installation purposes, and portray scenes such as waterfalls, forest scenes, seashores, cities, or outer space.
Degree of softness and ease of flexing and bending of wallpaper.
Describes a wallcovering that has an adhesive coating applied to its backing by the factory. Activated by dipping in water, activator, or thinned down wallpaper paste. The directions for each individual paper must be followed to determine proper soaking and booking time.
Describes a wallcovering whose selvages were removed at the factory.
Applied to make the substrate more uniform for acceptance and improve the adhesion of the topcoat. Not all primers will allow the wallpaper to slide easily during installation. Primers will improve the removability of the wallcovering and decrease the chances of wall damage.
Can provide the best insurance on a good installation, often used in place of sizing materials. It is a special penetrating primer that is designed to penetrate the wall surface and seal up any problem areas due to wall damage or any situation where wall surface anomalies are suspected. These products are available in several mixtures to address specific needs. A colored (pigmented) acrylic primer/sealer is the most common because it can be used on all surfaces. It's water based, easy to clean, and the coloring helps prevent any discolorations from showing through the paper. These products protect the underlying drywall, provide a good surface for adhesion, and increase the slip during wallpaper installation.
Should be used for walls with problematic stains such as grease, recurring mold, etc. They prevent these types of stains from bleeding through the wallpaper. This product would be used to spot-treat these areas or as a total primer base. These primers are also excellent for covering brightly painted surfaces that may otherwise bleed through the final wallpaper. Most stain killer formulas contain antimicrobial agents to prevent future growth of any type of mold; however, existing mold must be removed using a 3:1 water to bleach solution prior to application of the primer.
The horizontal application of wallpaper. This is used to create an unusual or striking effect, an example is a stripe hung horizontal.
Describes a design in which the pattern doesn't align at vertical edges in a regular fashion. Stripes, all-over textures, and grasscloths are good examples.
The distance from the center of an identical element in a motif or pattern to the next.
Technique of paperhanging where each strip is alternately hung "right side up" and "upside down" in papers with a random match. This is used to negate or lessen the effects of shading problems on the edges of those wallcoverings, if applicable.
Involves the use of stencils to transfer the design. Paint is applied to a frame of stretched silk, polyester, or nylon screen and penetrates areas of the screen not blocked by the stencil pattern. By using several stencils, many colors can be added to form successive layers in a single print. Also known as handprints, silk screening, hand screening, and serigraphy.
Describes a wallcovering that can be cleaned with a prescribed detergent, water, and a brush.
Areas where two wall coverings are joined.
A small, narrow plastic, felt, or wooden roller used to secure the seams of wallpaper to make them adhere to the wall when dry. This is done by rolling or pressing the seams after the paper has been applied to the wall and the air bubbles, if any, are smoothed away. Stringcloth, grasscloth, flock, and heavily embossed wallpaper are examples of product that would be damaged by the use of a seam roller.
The blank edge of a wallcovering. Used for markings that maintain registration during printing, plus protects the design during shipment.
Wallpaper made from the fibers of the sisal plant.
Smoothing brush (Smoother)
Used to smooth out wrinkles or air from behind wallpaper during installation. Most often used on delicate wallpaper.
Straight across match
Describes a design in which the pattern aligns horizontally at single-roll intervals. This means that the pattern design at the top of each strip is always the same.
A six-foot or seven-foot ruler used by a paperhanger to trim the selvage off of the wallpaper.
Describes a wallpaper that can be pulled off the wall without first treating it with a wetting agent.
Describes wallpaper with intact selvages, not factory-trimmed.
The lower part, dado, of a wall when it has a different covering or finishes than the upper part.
Describes a wallpaper that can be cleaned with mild detergent and water applied with a sponge or soft cloth.