This resource post helps you learn what to look for in quality repositionable wallpaper (also known as peel and stick). With so many types of removable and temporary wallpaper on the market now, the choices can seem overwhelming. How do you know what you are actually getting?
With over 14 years of hands-on-experience, started at the inception of the removable wallcovering market, we want to help simplify all the factors for your consideration when making the best choice for your dollar. We’d like to help you:
Live Like You Want — Personalize Your Space, Instantly and Easily
— without worry and with the best quality repositionable wallpaper for your needs.
Let’s Start with a Brief History of Repositionable Wallpaper
- Paste-to-wall or traditional wallpaper was the norm for centuries. Of course, it still exists but involves long-term commitment with much preparation. It usually requires a professional wallpaper installer, which adds to the already high cost for designer quality products.
- Pre-Pasted or prepasted wallpaper has been around since 1961 with adhesive that is activated by water. Prepasted wallpaper eliminates the step of adding glue to the back of wallpaper or the wall but it is messy to handle when wet and cumbersome to install. Sometimes a residue can remain when it is removed.
- Peel and stick or removable / repositionable wallpaper started to emerge in the early 2000’s for commercial settings, primarily. Think photo murals in office buildings. It started to become available more widely in 2008 to the residential market.
The easy-to-apply-and remove technology developed from the accidental discovery of the pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) by scientist Arthur Fry of 3M in 1968. His discovery led to Post-It Notes® and their everyday use.
The price stickers that you see in your grocery store use this PSA technology, making them very easy to remove when prices change. Some peel and stick wallpaper companies use this sticker-type-quality material as their removable wallpaper.
Casart Coverings was one of the first removable wallcoverings on the market launching in 2009. We now produce our Casart designs through Society6, our Casart Decor Shop.
While there were a handful of other brands out there to start, our mission was to provide the best quality, artistic, custom wallcovering with an easy application, no-hassle removal and with extra value of practical reusability. We don’t like to waste wallpaper if we can reuse it again. There are many opportunities to do so, which gives added value to Casart wallcovering.
Our new Casart repositionable wallpaper with Society6 is very similar to our old Casart Light version. The width, however, is different. Instead of 52″ wide, it is now 24″ wide.
Casart Light (with Society6) – light to medium-duty use, including ceilings (polysynthetic fabric)
Questions to ask when purchasing peel and stick repositionable wallpaper
What material is it made of?
1. Vinyl – texture can be smooth to rough, is durable, usually washable, with a variety of thickness & weight.
2. Paper – more for traditional and prepasted use, variety of thickness and weight
3. Fabric – smooth or woven natural fiber or synthetic, organic look, variety of thickness and weight. Casart Light is polysynthetic/ polyester fabric, flexible and durable, wipeable, lightweight to use on ceilings as well as walls.
What is the thickness? & Why does this matter?
- The thicker the material, the more durable and easier it is to handle, without creasing or getting stuck to itself.
- Easier to apply, reposition, remove and reuse than thinner materials.
- Less likely to have air bubbles when installing a thick wallcovering.
- Extra thickness is more opaque to mask the surface it is covering, e.g., a colored wall.
- Extra thick wallcovering does not need special tools to smooth it to the wall, simply press and apply it and smooth it out with your hands
Many brands do not disclose their thickness and weight information, so we don’t have theirs to compare directly but it’s something savvy consumers should consider.
• Casart Light synthetic fabric peel and stick wallcovering is 6 millimeters thick, semi-opaque.
What is the weight?
• Casart Light is 7 ounces.
What are the standard sizes?
• 21 – 27 inches is the typical width of most removable wallpaper.
• They are sold in single (28 – 32 sf) or double rolls (56 – 54 sf) or individual size rolls or panels.
• Many rolls or panels may be needed to complete a full-size mural, whereas patterns, usually come in roll sizes. Casart sells murals and patterns.
Casart standard pattern wallcovering sizes are 24” wide in multiple lengths for versatile decorating for multi-size projects.
- Bookcase Backing — 24 in w x 4 ft h (8 sf)
- Small Roll — 24 in w x 8 ft h (16 sf)
- Medium Roll — 24 in w x 10 ft h (20 sf)
- Certain designs, artwork and murals have different non-standard sizes
How is it printed?
- Preprinted – in large mass-quantities via rotary (or cylinder) methods or silk-screening, usually sold by the roll, yard or square foot. Designs are pre-planned with fast delivery and lower cost because of printing in bulk. Advantages of being able to print metallic inks that digital printing cannot print.
- Digital printing – Print On Demand (POD) offers the least waste of product without needing a warehouse for storage. The environmental impact is also reduced with printing-upon-ordering. Custom options are more available with this method, but the price is usually higher than printing in bulk. Casart Coverings uses this digital printing.
- Quality digital printing can take many passes but with stable inks, our wallpaper is uniform in its coloration and is consistently durable, printed with UV inks.
What is the composition of the inks?
- Aqueous – Water based are the most commonly used in large format printing and some digital printing. These inks are environmentally friendly, they can rub off, flake and easily scratch.
- Solvent – uses pigment dyes that form a strong bond with the material, but they can emit toxic fumes and need strong ventilation when printing.
- Eco-Solvent – Like solvent but with less fumes and are used for a lot of vinyl printing.
- Latex & Resin based inks are similar to solvent but do not emit fumes. They use water and polymer. They are often used on vinyl, paper, fabric and polyester. Casart Coverings uses this kind of print ink through Society6.
- UV inks are liquid but transformed with heat. Efficient large-format printers can print and cure the inks onto rigid and flexible materials as they are printed at high speeds, using a small energy output. Chemicals are not emitted because inks don’t dry by evaporation. The inks meld to the material and don’t rub off when handled or during installation when there may be a lot of bending and repositioning. These digital inks are durable, vibrant and long lasting.
What about the Designs & Are there any Specialty and Custom Services?
- Many peel and stick wallpaper companies offer photo murals and seasonal pattern designs. What you choose depends on what you like. – Casart peel and stick removable wallpaper designs are artist created to serve as wallpaper art.
- Casart has over 100 designs in 10 different removable wallpaper Collections (Wallfinishes, Patterns, Organics, Murals, Botanicals, Architectural, Gulf Coast Design, Katherine Collection, T3 – Tots, Tweens & Teens, and Photography)
- Casart Coverings is one of the few removable wallpaper companies to offer patterns along with professionally painted decorative and faux finishes, which allow your furniture to take center stage with our subtle removable wall backdrops.
- We also offer originally painted fine art murals and vintage paintings as removable and reusable wallpaper.
- Many of our Casart designs coordinate with our Casart Decor (accessories and furniture) to complete the look.
- Not all peel and stick removable wallpaper can be customized. It’s something to ask if this is what you would like to personalize the design.
- Casart Coverings can customize our designs in additional colors, as seen on our website. The layout of some of our Casart designs on Casart accessories that we offer can also be re-arranged. We offer personalized customer service because we know that not one design fits all and it helps to have guidance when making custom choices. We work with homeowners, interior designers, and commercial markets.
What surfaces can removable wallpaper cover?
- In most cases removable wallpaper can go over a smooth surface wall or ceiling painted in eggshell, satin or semi-gloss sheens – not flat. The sheen provides the extra protection needed for the wallcovering to remove easily. We suggest eggshell or higher sheen for Casart repositionable wallpaper to remove easily. Our wallcovering can go over flat but it may pull up the substrate when removed without a more protective sheen like the other finishes mentioned.
- It is not recommended for temporary, repositionable wallpaper to go over slightly irregular and imperfectly smooth, textured wall surfaces like soft orange peel and knockdown, popcorn, hard orange peel, acoustic, or palette knife textured walls. Wood paneling has grooves that might show through with removable wallpaper, but can possibly be masked if the wallpaper has a pattern. However, quality repositionable wallpaper could possibly cover other quality repositionable wallpaper, as seen in the video below.
- The smoother the surface the tighter the grip of the pressure sensitive, micro-suction adhesion. Glass, mirror, wood doors, and cabinets provide great surfaces but can be a challenge to remove if left on long-term, as the adhesive naturally gets more aggressive over time.
- Some, but not all, removable wallpaper is moisture resistant and can be used in bathrooms. Most should not be used if there is high humidity in the bathroom, which could get trapped between the substrate and wallpaper and possibly cause mold or the wallpaper to lose its adhesion.
- Kitchen areas are best covered with a high-grade and wipeable vinyl wallcovering because these areas get a lot of touch traffic, as do stair risers and stair well walls.
- Avoid covering peeling paint that may be uplifted when the wallpaper is removed.
What is the Installation Process?
- Most peel and stick wallpaper requires a stable, smooth surface to adhere properly
- It must be clean and free of dust for the best adhesion
- Vacuuming and then wiping the wall down with a little mild soap mixed in water, then washed and thoroughly and dried allows for a properly prepped surface
- Starting at the top left corner of the wall, pull back the backing sheet and press the wallpaper to the wall. Smooth out with your hands to the edge as you continue this process when rolling the paper down the wall, while removing the backing sheet.
- Some removable wallpapers require a smoothing tool for this process and to prevent air bubbles. Sometimes air pockets might form when installing Casart Light removable wallpaper. Air pockets are easily removed from quality repositionable wallpaper by simply pushing them out to the edges of the wallcovering with your hands — no brayers or extra tools needed.
Can the wallpaper be removed? Can it be reused?
- Check to see how much time can lapse before the wallpaper can be removed. PSA naturally becomes more aggressive over time. – We’ve tested removing and reusing Casart Wallpaper over 50 or more times after days, weeks, and years, without problem. One thing we did learn is that if it goes over drywall, which is essentially painted paper the wallpaper tends to become more aggressive the longer it stays on the wall.
- If the wallpaper can be reused, can it be recycled? – At Casart Coverings we don’t like the waste mentality or adding to the trash heap. Each city has its own criteria for recycling, but Casart Coverings wallpaper in most cases can be accepted. It can also be gifted to worthwhile housing causes like Habitat for Humanity or women’s or homeless shelters to help occupants spruce up their spaces.
- Most importantly, Casart removable wallpaper can be reused. Here’s how to do it:
– Save the backing sheet. Simply re-align the shiny side to the top edge of the back of the wallpaper and roll it down the wall onto itself while adhering to the backing sheet. Here’s our video below to show you how.
– Once rolled onto the backing sheet, place the entire wallpaper down flat over a tarp to prevent dust from sticking to PSA areas that may not be fully covered by the backing sheet.
– Quality repositionable wallpaper can also be lifted and repositioned onto the backing sheet and any air pocket during re-rolling can be removed by pushing them out to the edges with your hands.
— Re-roll onto the cardboard tube with the wallcovering design facing outward and reuse when you like in another location of for another purpose, like on stair risers, cabinet fronts, doors, bookcase backings, tables, trays, etc. The sky is the limit!
What if you don’t want to remove it, can it last long-term?
- Quality repositionable wallpaper like Casart wallpaper lasts as long as you’d like on your walls and remove it anytime you’d like a change.
- In some cases, Casart wallpaper can even go over previous Casart wallcovering. For example, the video below shows a quick refresh installation over our previously installed Faux Padded Harlequin in Casart Regular wallcovering with a slight texture (that we no longer offer) with our Light Rain wallpaper in Casart Light through our Casart Decor production shop.
- It is natural for all adhesives to become slightly more aggressive and rigid over time. However, keeping the quality factors above in mind about thickness and weight, a lesser quality removable wallpaper may either start to peel away from the wall over time or, in the alternative, the PSA may lose its elasticity and the paper doesn’t remove easily.
- Because companies price differently based on how their wallpaper is sold, i.e., by the roll, double-roll, panel, mural, material, even artistic value, the best way to compare prices is to determine the price per square foot (sf).
- For instance, if a double roll costs $125 and covers 65 sf, then you divide the price by the sf, which is $1.92 / sf (or round up to $2 / sf to make it easier).
- Typically, pre-printed wallpaper costs less than digital products because of its bulk processing. Digital, POD may cost $5 – $15 or more / sf because of the custom printing. In many cases, they also offer the option of custom coloration precisely because they are not mass produced.
Many of these quality characteristics set Casart wallcoverings apart from mass-market, peel and stick wallpaper producers. Knowing the answers the these questions and what to look for will help you choose the best high quality repositionable wallpaper.