Wallpaper Terms

Wallpaper Terms to Know

Acoustical Wallcovering
Designed to reduce and absorb sound, these wallcoverings are typically made of woven and non-woven textiles. Commonly used in theaters, auditoriums, classrooms, lecture halls, and offices.
Folding wallpaper in on itself, paste to paste, and allowing the paper to rest prior to hanging. Booking allows paper to absorb the paste and relax before installation. Some wallpapers, such as non-woven backed materials, do not require booking and can instead be installed using the paste-the-wall method.
Butt Seam
The most common wallcovering seam in which both edges of two strips of wallpaper are butted together to complete a seam. No overlap, double-cutting, or additional trimming along the seam is required.
One complete length of fabric or wallpaper.
Commercial Wallcovering
Wallcoverings produced for commercial use in areas like hotels, offices, restaurants, and healthcare facilities. Typically, available at 48-inch or 54-inch widths.


Double Cut
A method of seaming together two strips of wallcoverings. During installation, the edge of one sheet of wallcovering is slightly overlapped with another. A seam is then cut along the overlap and excess material is removed to create a perfect seam. This technique is most often completed with a seam buster, straight edge, and sharp razor blades.
Double Roll
A single bolt of wallpaper measuring twice as long as a single roll. Typically measures 21-inches wide by 33-feet long (56 square feet total.) Wallpaper is manufactured as double rolls to reduce the amount of waste created by installing wallpaper using only a single roll.
For example, a standard single roll measuring 16.5-feet long would yield enough material for only a single 8-foot drop when allowing for a 2-inch excess for trimming at the ceiling and floor.
Dry Strippable
The ability to remove a wallcovering without the aid of water or chemical strippers. Adhesives formulated to be strippable create tiny fracture points that allow wallcoverings to be removed more easily with little or no damage to the underlying wall surface.
A single sheet of wallcovering prepared for installation.
Dye Lot
Refers to an amount of wallcovering produced during a single production run. Wallcoverings may vary in appearance slightly depending on their dye lot. It is recommended that all wallcoverings being used in a project originate from the same dye lot to reduce any variations that may present during installation.
Grass Cloth
Generally, a handmade wallcovering consisting of natural grass fibers glued onto a paper backing. As a delicate, natural material, grass cloth is not recommended for high traffic or high moisture areas. Additionally, grass cloth has no repeating pattern and instead creates a shading effect along seams.
Half Drop Match
Wallpapers with a half drop match will repeat design elements diagonally from panel to panel. When installing a half drop pattern, you will need hang 3 sheets before a pattern will repeat straight across the wallpaper.
Joint Compound
A combination of gypsum, limestone, and other ingredients, joint compound is a wet applied surface coating used to seam together sheets of bare drywall. It is also used to repair drywall cracks, cover nail holes, and repair torn and damaged drywall. Application of joint compound over the entire wall surface is known as skim coating.
Kill Point
The end point in a full room wallpaper installation. As the kill point may not seam up perfectly, it is advisable to choose an area that will be less noticeable. Common areas include corners over a doorway.
Wallcovering adhesives that are viscous enough to flow through pasting machines are known as Machineable. Some adhesives, like PRO-880 Ultra Clear Strippable and PRO-774 Clay Strippable are specially formulated to flow through pasting machines. Others, like PRO-732 Extra-Strength Clay and PRO-555 Extreme Tack are too thick and are recommended for paint roller application.



Non-woven wallpapers are manufactured using a blend of natural and synthetic fibers. These wallcoverings are dimensionally stable and will not expand when pasted. Non-wovens are sometimes referred to as “paste-the-wall” type wallpapers and generally do not require booking.
Open Time
Open time describes how much working time is available until the paste dries out. A long open time allows for multiple adjustments and repositioning.
Pasting Machine
Machine used to automatically apply adhesive to wallcoverings. Material is pulled through the machine while adhesive is deposited to the backing.
Pattern Match
A wallpaper’s pattern match describes how the paper’s design elements will line up. This is different from a pattern repeat, which is the distance between two design elements on a single sheet. Wallpaper pattern matches are generally classified as: No-repeat or random match, straight across, and half drop. Understanding a wallpaper’s pattern match will help in planning for the placement of design elements along the ceiling.
Pattern Repeat
The distance between 2 matching design elements on a roll of wallpaper.
Primers help prepare walls for a successful wallcovering installation. Primers can be formulated to provide a variety of different benefits including repairing damaged drywall, promoting adhesion on hard to adhere to surfaces, or increasing strippability of wallpaper.
Random Match
Random match or no repeat patterns have no elements that need to be matched while hanging. However, when hanging a no random match pattern, you may rotate each alternating panel 180 degrees to reduce shading. While it may be hard to notice when hanging, some rolls have subtle shading that will show when the sheets are hung side by side. By rotating the sheets, you will help eliminate this shading.
Durable wallcoverings that can be easily cleaned and scrubbed without damaging the material. Typically vinyl coated or solid vinyl wallpapers.
The area joining two separate sheets of wallpaper.
Seam Roller
Tool designed to gently smooth out and lay down wallpaper seams. Commonly feature a smooth roller head made of plastic, metal, or wood.

Seam Buster

Specially designed tool for creating double cuts. The seam buster features a replaceable razor blade offset from a metal plate designed to protect the wall during double cutting.
Single Roll
A single bolt of wallpaper, typically measuring 21-inches wide by 16.5-feet long (28 square feet total.) Wallpaper in the United States is generally priced as single rolls but sold in double rolls.
A thin coating of wallpaper adhesive applied to the wall and allowed to dry before hanging wallpaper. Sizing evens the porosity of the wall and provides a good surface for wallcovering installation. Replaced by the introduction of specialty wallcovering primers.
Skim Coat
A thin coat of joint compound applied to make a wall smooth or to repair damaged drywall.
A characteristic of wallpaper adhesive that allows material to easily slide across the surface of a wall. Useful when matching wallpaper patterns.
Smoothing Tool
A small plastic tool specially designed for smoothing wallpaper.
Solid Vinyl
Paper wallcoverings laminated with a solid vinyl facing. Durable and provides a good level of scrub ability.
Straight Across Match
Wallpapers that have a straight across match have one design element that will match straight across each section of the paper. With this pattern, you want to position the design so no major sections are cut off at the ceiling line.
Refers to adhesives that allow wallcovering to removed more easily with little or no damage to the underlying surface.
Tack describes the initial stickiness of an adhesive. Wallcovering pastes with high wet-tack are ideal for installing heavier weight wallcoverings.
Wallcovering installation technique in which wallpaper is installed horizontally rather than vertically. Railroading is most often performed when first hanging lining paper. Horizontal installation of lining paper followed by vertical installation of the decorative paper eliminates any chance of seams lining up.
Reverse Hang
Wallcovering installation technique in which wallpaper is rotated 180 degrees in each alternating drop. Reverse hanging wallpaper can help reduce shading in random match and grass cloth wallcoverings.
Vinyl Coated
Wallcoverings with a paper substrate coated with a liquid vinyl such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Commonly referred to as scrubbable or washable, vinyl coated papers are a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
Vinyl over Vinyl
Wallcovering installation technique in which new wallpaper is installed on top of existing wallpaper. Vinyl over vinyl wallcovering installations may not meet the requirement for a Class A fire rating and are not recommended by ROMAN.