…continued from previous page
Wallpaper, Wallcovering Adhesives The evolution of wallcovering adhesives through the years is making things a lot easier for wallpaper hangers, and new products formulated for specialty applications are being introduced all the time.
by Susan Brimo-Cox
to the rescue
Vinyl-over-vinyl adhesives are true adhesives, observes
Glen Climo, technical director at U.S. Vinyl Manufacturing. “They
have true bonding polymers in addition to the clay or starch
bases in order to adhere vinyl over vinyl. …There’s
no penetration bonding.”
Extremely high in solids and having little moisture, these
products are very sticky. And VOV adhesives are permanent when
Russo emphasizes that VOVs were specifically designed for
sidewalls and vinyl borders over vinyl paper, not for prepasted
borders or for applying borders on painted walls. If you use
VOV with prepasted borders, “the prepasted material will
absorb the moisture, dry out and you’ll have gaps in
adhesion.” That’s why border adhesives, which have
a higher moisture content, were developed, he points out.
Infrequently a paperhanger may use prepasted paper or borders.
In such situations a professional will rely on prepasted activators — eliminating
the need for water. These activators are rolled onto the backing.
They are designed to increase slip, increase open time and
add to the adhesion properties. What they don’t do is
swell the paper, thus eliminating gaps in the seams when the
The mold and mildew issue is a hot button in many construction-related
industries — including wallcoverings. Just about all wallcovering
adhesives today contain biocides, but there are some recently
introduced extra-strength systems that guarantee against mold
and mildew growth on the primer or adhesive. Zinsser Co. Inc.’s
Plus System (which teams a special primer and a special adhesive)
has a guarantee against mildew for up to five years. Other manufacturers
are also offering or developing new residential and commercial
products for extreme humidity environments.
With mold and mildew a major concern — particularly
for the hospitality industry — Linda Mitchell, category
manager for wallcovering products for Zinsser in Somerset,
N.J., says “this technology will help wallcovering manufacturers
sell more commercial projects because it’s a problem
Russo reports that in commercial applications he is seeing
more and more jobs specifying mildewcide systems specifically
for the 5-year warranty against mold and mildew growth.
Blasko observes that the commercial market is where the
main focus for wallcoverings is right now — predominately
in the hotel industry. Residential use of wallpaper is soft — even
use of border papers isn’t as strong as it used to be. “Faux
finishing has probably taken over some of that market,” he
says. Or it might be psychological, he suggests. People who have
grown up having bad experiences with wallpaper removal may not
be ready to try it again. But that may all change as word about
the new nonwoven wallpapers spreads.
Nonwoven wallpaper is the latest trend in wallcoverings.
Russo explains that this new wallcovering category has a polyester
and cellulose substrate that is stronger than paper alone.
All the major wallcovering manufacturers are coming out with
their own designs in 2004, he adds. One of the highly-lauded
characteristics of these new wallcoverings is that they are
very easy to strip — they peel away in sheets.
Of course, new wallcovering adhesives are being introduced
to use with these new products that also are extremely easy
to hang: You paste the wall and dry hang them. Because the
paper is dimensionally stable, there is no seam splitting.
According to Russo, “It is absolutely the future and
savior of the industry.”
What else is on the horizon? It’s anyone’s guess.
Russo recalls hearing a story about a former director of the
patent office saying more than 50 years ago that they should
close the patent office because everything had been invented.
Well, Russo says, “The patent office needs to stay open.
There are more innovations in the making.”
For more information about wallcovering adhesives, visit
these Web sites:
The Wallcoverings Association
National Guild of Professional Paperhangers
Roman Decorating Products
U.S. Vinyl Manufacturing Corp.