When we choose what to stick on the walls, we think about design, style and color. But wall covering can be much more important – wallpaper can become a material that not only decorates a room, but also gives strength to walls and ceilings. When deciding to choose “these with blue stripes”, it is worth thinking also – how long will this material please us? How can you deal with the inevitable – whether in the kitchen, nursery or office – stains and scuffs on the walls? Will we be able to replace the damaged places, or will we start repairs again? How will wallpaper behave in extreme situations – with bays, active lighting, fires? And, finally – and how much this material is not only pleasing to the eye, but also useful (or at least does not harm) our well-being?
Different types of wall coverings on our market have different advantages and disadvantages – for example, paper wallpapers are easier to glue, and, for example, tiles are one of the most durable coatings. Today, when other wall materials are replacing simple paper wallpaper – from the usual polyvinyl chloride (vinyl) wallpaper for painting to thin reed chips, it is sometimes difficult to navigate in all the variety of materials. On the one hand, the ingenuity of wallpaper manufacturers helps us choose exactly what we like, but on the other hand, it often prevents us from seeing really important qualities of the material, both positive and not so.
The technology of wallpaper production, depending on the type, changes radically, respectively, their qualities and characteristics also change. In this article we will focus on fiberglass wallpaper, a material that until recently was considered an exclusively commercial covering. And not without reason – after all, this type of paintable wallpaper has a lot of advantages over other wall coverings in offices and administrative buildings: fiberglass wallpaper is a very durable material that is resistant to constant touches of different intensities, reinforcing walls, not subject to combustion, including – unlike from PVC does not emit toxic substances at high temperatures. The possibility of repeated repainting – annual refreshing of the walls or radical changes in the style of the premises – is also one of the very attractive qualities of fiberglass wallpaper. Unsurprisingly, most office buildings, shopping centers and catering establishments – restaurants and cafes – use this material in one way or another. However, in addition to the qualities that are important from the point of view of the owners of premises – functionality, strength, compliance with standards, this material also has not so well-known properties that are important for the end user – the one who is constantly in these walls. To do this, we should consider the production process of fiberglass wallpaper..
What is fiberglass wallpaper
Fiberglass wallpaper, as the name suggests, is a fiberglass fabric. Glass is melted to make yarn from quartz sand, limestone and dolomite. Then it is melted at a temperature of 1200 degrees and thin translucent fibers, soft and light like down, are pulled. If this fluff is then pressed with a wet paper method, it turns out a painting glass canvas – a material that, when applied to a wall, gives a smooth velvety surface and reinforces cracks. The recognized leader in the production of painting glass sheets is the German plant “Schuller” of the concern “Johns Manville”. In our market it is represented by the brands “Schuller”, “Wellton” and “Oscar”. But when the starting material is first spun like wool, yarns are obtained, and then fabrics of different textures are created from them on almost weaving equipment – fiberglass wallpaper is obtained.
Of course, the production process is not so simple – until the final material is obtained, the wallpaper goes through the stages of stabilizing impregnation based on starch, trimming between longitudinal threads, marking the back side and seam lines, quality control and sorting. The higher the quality, the denser the thread, the more fibers, the less starch in the impregnation and the more preparatory stages – the higher the quality of the fiberglass wallpaper itself.
How to choose fiberglass wallpaper
In our market, the opinion has taken root that the higher the density of glass cloth wallpaper, the better it is. The opinion is not entirely correct, since the density can be increased by the amount of impregnation, which does not give any texture – and as a result, when glued, we will see an unexpressed, “flat” fabric. The same misconception exists about the severity of the texture in dry material – the more pronounced the texture in the roll, the better it is on the wall, isn’t it? So, but not always. Some manufacturers use additional fluffing of the thread in production, and in the roll or in the catalog we see a good texture, only the threads can be somewhat wider than usual. And when gluing, excess air is expelled with a spatula, and the pattern becomes flat. How to distinguish high-quality wallpaper from low-quality.
Method one – if you have a piece of wallpaper, you can stick it on the surface, and ideally paint it. If it is not possible to paint, then simply smooth it with a spatula when gluing. Wallpaper should keep the texture, and not “flatten”. Let’s say we do not have the opportunity to arrange a test gluing.
Then the second way is to trust the products of the world’s leading manufacturers. There are only two of them – the number one manufacturer in the world – the already known concern “Johns Manville”, and the brands “Wellton”, “Tassoglas” and “Oscar”, made in Sweden. The German concern Vitrulan Textilglas GmbH ranks second in world production, but in European countries it is in first place. It is the Vitrulan company that is the recognized leader in product quality, the glass cloth coatings of this manufacturer withstand almost any tests even when wet – they can be removed from the wall, crumpled, trampled underfoot, and glued again without damage to the pattern.
Properties of fiberglass wallpaper
Thanks to the production method, glass cloth coatings are one of the most durable, hypoallergenic and environmentally friendly wall materials. This is a fiberglass fabric, which has the properties of both glass and fabric, which means it is a very durable material that is resistant to abrasion and scratches, reinforces walls, does not emit harmful substances at any temperature and humidity, does not stretch when glued and will not allow cracks appear on the walls, and, of course, in the event of a fire, it will not allow the fire to spread along the walls. The fabric structure allows the walls in our houses to “breathe”, which both reduces the possibility of cracks and improves the indoor climate. The lack of nutrients will not allow the appearance of fungus and mold, and this material does not attract dust, since it does not have a statistical charge.
Wallpaper can be repainted, as well as paint pictures on them, paint over and paint again. It is because of these qualities that glass cloth coatings are used in Europe in kindergartens, hospitals, restaurants, museums, and are increasingly appearing in private apartments and houses. After all, almost everyone knows that walls in any institution must comply with sanitary and hygienic and fire safety standards. That is, the materials applied to the wall should not emit any harmful substances and should not burn. Of course, where we work, these conformities are checked by various commissions. And who will check our houses ??? Responsibility for the walls in the apartment lies entirely with those who live there. Often, when choosing materials for walls, we do not even think about their effect on our well-being, trusting the popular opinion – we are looking for “these in a blue strip”. However, as we understood – not all wallpapers are equally useful, choosing your favorite design, it is worth taking a close look – what does this material contain? Chlorine or natural materials?