Wallpaper Glossary

American Single Roll
A single roll of wallpaper that measures 27" inches wide and 4 1/2 yards long. Packaged in double roll bolts, an American double roll 'bolt'  contain 9 continuous yards of wallpaper that covers approximately 56 square feet.
A small air pocket or bubble that forms behind the wallpaper during installation. Usual causes of blisters include:
  1. Inadequate soaking or booking time which causes the paper to expand on the wall after installation;
  2. Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit during installation;
  3. Air that has become trapped between the wallpaper or border and the wall during installation;
  4. Installation of wallpaper on a very porous wall that has not been properly sealed (see "primer/sealer" below);
  5. Aeration of the adhesive paste.
A continuous roll of wallpaper equivalent to two or more single rolls packaged together. (see "double roll" below).
Sometimes called the relaxing period, this is the process of folding, without creasing, a recently pasted or wetted strip of wallpaper or border, with pasted sides together. This allows the paste to soak into the wallpaper backing and prevents the paper from expanding on the wall which creates blisters or air bubbles. Generally instructions call for 1-2 minutes of book time once the paper has been pasted or wet to activate the paste.
Cellulose Paste
A non-staining and odorless adhesive. Cellulose paste is often used when hanging natural materials such as grasscloths, linens, silks and stringcloths. Cellulose paste is highly recommended for hanging murals as well (see "murals" below).
Clay-based Adhesive
An adhesive that has heavy solids and is usually of a starch origin that helps to enhance its adherence ability. This type of paste will often cause staining and/or cause the ink to flake from many types of wallpaper and border. Generally used for heavier papers.
Cross Seaming
A technique where a wallpaper liner (see "liner paper" below) is installed horizontally and the decorative wallpaper is installed vertically. This ensures that the seams do not fall in the same place and results in a more secure adhesion.
The area of a wall from the baseboard to the chair rail. Customarily this area is equal to 1/3 the height of the wall.
The condition when the backing of the wallpaper or border begins to separate from the vinyl facing. This is often caused by excessive soaking or booking times (see "booking" above).
Directional Print
A pattern on wallpaper or border that must be installed in a particular direction in order to be aesthetically pleasing.
A technique to obtain perfectly fitted seams. This is done by overlapping one strip of wallpaper over the other until all patterns are perfectly matched. Then a sharp blade is used to cut through both layers. The excess edges are then removed.
Double Roll
A continuous roll of wallpaper equivalent to two single rolls. Priced as two single rolls, double rolls are packaged this way to give you more usable wallpaper with less waste during installation.
Sometimes referred to as a half -drop match, it is a pattern match in  which every other strip of wallpaper that is installed  will have the same pattern design at the ceiling line. This forms a diagonal pattern sequence, rather than the horizontal pattern sequence created by a straight match (see "straight-across match" below).
Dye- lot Number
Sometimes referred to as a Run Number or Batch Number, it is a letter, number or combination of both that is given to a particular batch of wallpaper rolls or border spools that are printed at the same time. It is important to record these numbers in case additional wallpaper or border is needed at a later date. These numbers help to ensure color continuity among rolls.
Gapped Seam
A small space that appears between strips of wallpaper that are hung side by side. This usually occurs due to improperly prepared walls or excessive force being used during the installation process (see "stretched wallpaper" below).
Kill Point
When covering all four walls of a room, this is the position where the last strip joins together with the first strip. This usually results in a mismatch of pattern. For this reason, you should try to make the kill point in an inconspicuous area.
Laminated Wallpaper
Wallpaper or border that has a decorative surface that is bonded to a backing that is usually paper or fabric. For example, grasscloth or cloth-backed vinyl
Linear Feet
This pertains to length. It is the measured distance between two points. This could refer to such things as the height of a wall, the length of a strip of wallpaper, or the length of a piece of border. Linear feet is the measurement required for borders.
Liner Paper
A thick, vinyl wallcovering that is installed under the decorative wallcovering. Available in a variety of weights, liners are used to smooth out rough or heavily textured surfaces, or to cover paneling or cinder block walls. Liners are usually hung horizontally to provide cross-seaming (see "cross-seaming" above). Liners should not be installed over individual plank or tongue-and-groove boards, as the wood will expand and contract with changes in the weather and will stretch or rip the liner during expansion, and/or wrinkle during contractions.
The technique of joining two strips of wallpaper so that partial designs or a sequence of designs will line up properly. (e.g. Drop Match, Straight Match)
Matte Finish
A finish on the wallpaper or border that has very little shine or reflective qualities. Often referred to as a "dull" finish.
Metric Roll (Euro Roll)
A single roll of wallpaper that measures 20.5" inches wide and 5 1/2 yards long. Packaged as double rolls (see "double roll" above), Euro rolls contain 11 continuous yards of wallpaper that covers approximately 56 square feet.
A single picture or scene with no repeats. Murals can come packaged in panels that, when installed properly, form the scene. Extreme care should be taken when installing murals as each panel is numbered and there is no room for error. (For helpful hints with hanging your mural, go to our home page. Once there, locate the heading "Installation Suggestions" and click on the link for "Working with Murals".)
Opened Seams
Seams between two installed strips of wallpaper that have separated, exposing the wall. Usual causes of opened seams include:
  1. Improper wall preparation;
  2. Wallpaper that has been overworked during the installation process.
Peelable Removable 
Wallpaper or border of which the front and middle layers can be stripped away, exposing the backing material and making removal easier. Once the backing is exposed, it can then be saturated with hot soapy water or one of the various removal products on the market today, and easily scraped from the wall. 
Pigmented Primer/Sealer
A primer/sealer (see "primer/sealer" below) that dries white instead of clear. This helps to block out discolorations or spots on the wall. This is often used when installing wallpaper over new drywall or when installing new wallpaper or border over existing wallpaper or border.  See the homepage link for 'preparing your walls" for more information.
Wallpaper or border that has an adhesive sprayed or coated on the backing. This adhesive is water-soluble and is activated by soaking the wallpaper or border in a water tray or bathtub. Be careful not to oversoak your wallpaper or border as this may dissolve too much of the adhesive and result in inadequate adhesion to the wall. ALso allow proper 'booking' of the paper once wet to allow the paste to even activate (see 'booking')
Pre-Trimmed Wallpaper
Wallpaper in which the selvage edges have been removed at the mill before packaging. Most wallpapers come pre-trimmed to make installation easier.
An alkyd or acrylic-based liquid applied to the wall prior to wallpaper installation. Primer/sealers soak into a porous wall surface much like sizing (see "sizing" below). However, Acrylic-based primer/sealers also soak into latex paint and re-bond the paint to the wall. This is important because most wallpapers expand when wet, as they dry they tighten to the wall. Poor latex paint will pull away from the wall during this drying stage.
The technique of hanging wallpaper horizontally instead of vertically. This is usually done above  windows and/or doors.  Wall liners (see "liner paper" above) and borders are also installed in this fashion.
Reverse Rolling
A technique used to uncurl a roll of wallpaper or border by unrolling  it and re-rolling it in the opposite direction from how it was packaged.
Reversing Strips
A technique of installing wallpaper in which every other strip is hung upside-down. This ensures that the lighter and/or darker edges of textured wallpapers come together to minimize shading.
Scoring Walls
The process of sanding, scraping or etching the vinyl surface of a wallpaper or border in preparation for removal. Scoring allows the removal solution to reach the paper backing of the wallpaper or border and dissolve the adhesive. There are commercial 'scoring' tools available.
Scrubbable Wallpaper
Wallpaper or border that has a sprayed vinyl or solid vinyl surface and can endure more vigorous washing with warm water and a mild soap. Scrubbable wallpapers should not be cleaned with abrasive detergents.
Semi-Transparent Wallpaper
A wallpaper or border that usually has a fairly light background color that will allow for darker colors from the wall surface to show through. A pigmented primer/sealer (see "pigmented primer/sealer" above) should be used prior to installation of the wallcovering if there is a possibility of this occurring.
Single Roll
An European single roll is 20.5 inches wide and 5 1/2 yards long, covering approximately 27 square feet of area. An  American single roll is 27 inches wide and 4 1/2 yards long, covering approximately 27-30 square feet of area. Though wallpaper is priced as single rolls, it is packaged in double roll bolts. 
A liquid mixture that is applied to the wall prior to wallpaper installation. Sizing creates a uniform porosity on the surface of your wall and increases the tack of the wallpaper during installati on. Sizing should not be mistaken for a primer/sealer (see "primer/sealer" above). 
Solid-Sheet Vinyl
A type of wallpaper or border that has a paper or fabric backing laminated to a solid vinyl facing. These papers are often used in high traffic areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and children's rooms.
Straight-Across Match
Sometimes called a straight match, it is a pattern match in which every strip of wallpaper that is installed will have the same pattern sequence at the ceiling line. This creates a horizontal pattern sequence,  rather than the diagonal pattern sequence created by a  drop-match (see "drop match" above).
Stretched Wallpaper
Horizontal stretching occurs when a wallpaper strip that has already begun to adhere to the wall, is forced to stretch horizontally to join with a strip that is hung next to it. Vertical stretching occurs as a result from the weight of long strips  of wallpaper that are held up for a period of time without being adhered to the wall. Care should be taken to avoid stretching as much as possible as it may result in gapped or mismatched seams (see "gapped seams" above).
Strippable Wallpaper
Wallpaper or border that is easily removed without damaging the wall. Strippable papers remove both the cover and backing at the same time. 
Unpasted Wallpaper
Wallpaper or border that has not been pre-pasted at the mill prior to packaging (see "pre-pasted" above). Different adhesives  work better with different papers, you should always refer to the manufacturers recommendations prior to purchasing your paste.
Untrimmed Wallpaper
Wallpaper in which the selvage edges have not been removed at the mill prior to packaging. Trimming is done by the installer and can be done using a straight edge and razor knife prior to installation, or the wallpaper can be double-cut during the installation process (see "double-cutting" above).
Usable Yield
The quantity of wallpaper that is actually installed on the wall. This does not include waste due to pattern match or allowances.
Vertical Pattern Repeat
The distance between one point on a pattern design to the next identical point, measured vertically.
Paneling or woodwork that covers the area from the baseboard to the chair rail. This area is usually about 1/3 of the entire wall height.

Shop Wallpaper