Grasscloth wallcoverings are woven through a complex process utilizing cotton threads and other natural materials all attached to a paper backing. Despite its heavy texture, grasscloth is actually lightweight and delicate, and therefore, requires special handling during installation.
Even though there are some drawbacks to using grasscloth, it has become more popular over the last 10 years due its all-natural composition and earthy feel. One of the benefits (as well as a downside) is that no two strips will be identical. For some folks, that will be a deal breaker, but for the true grasscloth enthusiast, that is part of its beauty.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Grasscloth
The Installation Will Not Be Seamless
Grasscloth wallcoverings cannot be seamless like traditional wallpaper. The natural variations in color of the different strands make seam matching all but impossible. However, there are some installation techniques that can help minimize this effect.
- Reverse hanging the paper. Alternate each panel as you go through the roll. Mark the top and bottom of each piece with a small piece of tape to make sure you are reversing them. To be sure you are getting the best effect, hold the next piece beside the one you just installed and see which orientation looks the best.
- Another option is to alternate rolls as you hang every other piece. Wallpaper should be purchased in matching lots so the overall color will be the same. You may find a better match by trying this technique.
The bottom line is: don’t expect a seamless finished product.
Grasscloth and other natural fiber wall coverings are porous. They will absorb moisture and should not be used in areas of high humidity like bathrooms.
Grasscloth is delicate. It should not be used in high traffic areas such as hallways where the wallcovering can get bumped into and become frayed or damaged.
Installation can be very difficult for a novice. It is recommended that professional installers are used to hang grasscloth wallpaper, since:
- Grasscloth wallpaper can be expensive, so mistakes are costly.
- Corners – outside and inside – are difficult to get right because the fibers aren’t flexible like traditional wallpaper and won’t bend without working the product.
- Excess adhesive can be difficult to clean up and if it gets on the face of delicate paper, it can ruin it.
Preparing To Hang Grasscloth Wallpaper
As you are preparing to hang grasscloth wallpaper, one of the most important things to remember is that you cannot get excess glue or water on the face of the paper – it can stain and may be difficult to wipe away. Constantly clean your hands and the tools you are working with to ensure that nothing gets on the face of the paper. Keep a clean, dry rag handy.
Grasscloth is typically hung with the paste the paper method. This means you will need a pasting table and plenty of room to work with the product. Remember – no glue on the face of the paper.
Inspect the wallcovering. Double-check that the production run or dye lot numbers match. Wallcovering rolls from different runs can increase the chance of shading when installed.
Prime the wall with a quality wallpaper primer. ROMAN PRO-977 Ultra Prime is recommended for this use, since it can be tinted with up to 4 ounces of universal colorant to match the color of the wallpaper. This will help hide any openings in the seams or other areas that show through the natural material.
- It is ideal for new wallpaper installations.
- Promotes strippability when the time comes to remove it.
Choosing a Professional
Installing grasscloth can be challenging, especially for DIYers without extensive wallpaper installation experience. If you find a grasscloth pattern that you love, but would prefer that a professional perform the installation, we recommend contacting the Wallcovering Installers Association to find a professional near you. WIA Installers are knowledgeable, experienced, and deliver a superior level of craftsmanship:
Best Wallpaper Adhesives For Grasscloth And Natural Fibers
Natural fibers are delicate and difficult to clean. Some may even stain when washed with water. When choosing adhesives, always check the wallpaper manufacturer’s recommendation. In most cases, a clear, non-staining wallpaper adhesive is ideal.
These Roman Product Adhesives Are Recommended
- PRO-880 Ultra Clear Strippable. Recommended for most types and weights of wallpaper. It is clear and non-staining.
- GH-34 Wheat-Based Paste for Unpasted Wallpaper. It is recommended for delicate wallcoverings including grasscloths, stringcloths, bambos, and silks. It is clear and non-staining.
For the discerning installer that wants to be as environmentally conscious as possible, ROMAN Products developed ECO-888 Premium Clear Strippable Wallcovering Adhesive. It has a zero VOC rating per EPA Method 24 and is NSF/ANSI 342 compliant.
Hanging Grasscloth Wallpaper
Always follow the manufacturer’s hanging instructions. Be sure to take a moment to engineer or map out the room before hanging. Every seam will be visible, so make sure the seam placement will be attractive when installed.
Grasscloth is a natural fiber, so it may swell and expand when pasted. Be sure to book the wallpaper for the length specified by the manufacturer. For installations using the paste the wall method, some installers will lightly wet the grasscloth with a sponge to relax the material.
A smoothing brush may be a better option than a smoothing tool or seam roller. Hard edged smoothers may crush and flatten the natural fibers, creating indentations where the wallpaper was applied.
Roman Products Carries A Complete Assortment Of Adhesives, Primers and Removers For Grasscloth Wallcoverings
Regardless of the wallcovering you are hanging or taking down, we can provide solid advice to make sure you get the job done right the first time. Our customer service staff is available MON – FRI 8:30 – 4:30 CT to answer your questions and offer recommendations based on more than 75 years of experience in this industry. Contact our service team today for more information on our products.