What are the disadvantages of wallpaper? They can look beautiful, elegant, and add interest and uniqueness to any wall. But, before you start papering your walls, it is important to understand the disadvantages.
Wallpaper costs more than paint to buy and to install, even if you do-it-yourself. Wallpaper installation is not easy and not every wall is suited to wallpaper. Wallpaper has an expiry date, and it is not just that the designs can become unfashionable.
Wallpaper is also prone to fading, peeling, and can conceal unpleasant things like mold. Like installation, removing wallpaper is hard work. It might be a good physical workout, but stripping wallpaper is time-consuming and often frustrating work.
One of the most significant disadvantages of wallpaper is its cost compared to paint. When it first became fashionable in the 16th century, wallpaper was a sign of wealth among merchants.
Although they could not afford tapestries like the aristocracy, with wallpaper merchants could put their more modest wealth on show. Twenty-first-century wallpapers are not much different in terms of cost.
Wallpapers for the budget-conscious exist, but even they will still cost at least five times as much as covering the same sized room in paint. And this is before you include professional installation.
The difficulty of installation is another disadvantage of wallpaper. This is not just about keeping the air bubbles out. Matching patterns along the edges of each sheet can be tricky and takes skill and patience. The more intricate the design, the more difficult it becomes.
A professional decorator can take care of that, improving the finished look, but this will add to the cost. Even with professional help, it is important to note that wallpaper cannot go on just any wall.
Although it can hide imperfections more easily than paint, wallpaper is not suitable for concrete or textured walls.
Wallpaper and sunlight are not friends. Continued exposure to light can fade parts of wallpaper, while shade keeps other sections bright as new. The adhesive used to stick wallpaper to the wall also has a shelf-life.
Over time, the glue will deteriorate, allowing the wallpaper to peel off the walls. Peeling can happen anywhere on the wall but often happens around windows, where the heat from the sun dries out the glue more quickly.
Another disadvantage of wallpaper is what can be hiding underneath that pretty pattern. Because wallpaper stops air from reaching the wall itself, wallpaper encourages, as well as conceals, the growth of mold.
Although modern wallpaper adhesives usually contain chemicals to reduce mold growth, this is no guarantee. While it is more common in rooms that have higher levels of moisture in the air, like kitchens or bathrooms, mold growth can happen in any room.
Most people who have removed miles of wallpaper will tell you that one of its biggest disadvantages is removal. Depending on the type of wallpaper, you may need to remove multiple layers.
Modern vinyl wallpapers, for example, have a vinyl outer layer that can usually be stripped away easily. For every sheet pulled effortlessly off the wall, there will be at least one or two more that split and tear.
The tiny frustrating pieces left behind require good fingernails or a sharp palette knife or paint scraper, and endless amounts of patience to remove. And that is just the top layer!
Once the patterned outer layer is gone, the job is far from finished. The paper layer stuck to the wall with paste or self-adhesive glue is harder to shift. The good news is that no chemicals are needed to conquer the wallpaper paste.
A spray bottle of water, a clean paint scraper, and perseverance will do the trick instead. But be prepared for sore arms and exhaustion before the wallpaper removal is finished.
So should you consider wallpaper for your next redecoration project? With unique and beautiful patterns and a feel of luxury, wallpaper has its charms. But do not be fooled by its pretty face.
Wallpaper disadvantages include increased costs, and it is more difficult to install and remove, and will not stay pretty forever. In the end, the disadvantages of wallpaper may leave you frustrated, exhausted, and distinctly poorer.