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Vinyl wallpaper vs Wallpaper and Paint

It doesn’t matter whether you are in an office, playroom, shop, restaurant or home study, a room’s walls experience constant abuse.

Paint and wallpaper are versatile decorating materials and although they provide the wall with minimum protection, they are not particularly effective in protecting a room’s interior against the impact of constant human traffic. That’s a job for a vinyl wall covering. This is because a vinyl wall covering includes polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic alternatives, which bring durability and ease-of-maintenance to this material.


Cost vs Refresh

At a glance, wall coverings can seem more expensive than paint. However, for commercial spaces and high-traffic areas, wall coverings clean more easily and retain their appearance far longer, which can make them a better investment.

The chart below shows the costs per roll/tin over 20 years. These are estimates as it depends on the environment of the covering and the traffic level.

(Pricing is an average and was correct at the time of publishing)



Depending on the degree of wear and tear, many paint finishes often endure a maximum of three or four years before requiring reapplication and touch-ups. Vinyl wall coverings typically last about a decade, if not longer, and can be better equipped to sustain abuse. In most cases, paint inevitably reveals every ding and scratch on a wall, with marks standing out like rust on a car door. Vinyl is better at hiding similar damage, as well as common wear and tear. Year on year, the ecological impact on the planet is also reduced by using a product that lasts longer.


Are vinyls easy to apply?

Vinyl wall coverings are easier to apply, partly due to their tacky nature before you go over it with a vinyl applicator and finally attach the covering to the wall. In fact, vinyl is arguably the easiest wall covering to hang, available three ways:

– You don’t need pasting tables and paste reducing mess and cost of extra tools

– Re-positionable upon application so it is easier to line up if you have a pattern

– Quality vinyls do not crinkle or tear upon application


Should I use colour or patterned vinyl?

There are so many vinyl materials available that you can easily duplicate the look of more expensive, natural surfaces so flawlessly so much so it is almost impossible to tell the difference between them.


Darker or more neutral colours diminish visible wear in high-traffic areas, while lighter hues, though more susceptible to ageing tend to brighten a room.


Although patterned coverings can be more challenging to install than in solid colours, they can be ideal for ageing buildings or spaces with dent-riddled walls, where soft but distinct design successfully masks unsightly marks.

When installed with a tight seam, vinyl creates a nearly impermeable seal against moisture, protecting walls from splashes or spills. This makes them especially well-suited for bathrooms, kitchen areas, office and healthcare facilities. The surface of vinyl wall coverings can also hold up to washing and thorough scrubbing, which helps control germs and bacteria.


Installation and maintenance

Like all wall coverings the wall needs to be prepared properly before application. It is important for wall coverings to be installed before the wall has sustained too much damage. Preparation and application can become more difficult on an older wall that has built-up dirt and grime, compromising the effectiveness of the wall covering.

Vinyl wall coverings are installed to last and sustain damage, which can make their removal more challenging than that of paper or paint products if the wall isn’t prepared properly before hand.


It can be a valuable investment to select an installer who values the importance of surface prep so that future removal of the vinyl reduces or diminishes damage to the wall.


Routine maintenance will let vinyl sustain its original beauty and live up to its full potential. Wiping the walls down regularly helps keep wall coverings looking fresh for years, outlasting virtually any paint job.

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