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Glossary of Fabric Terms
Aubusson: Fine, hand-woven tapestry used for wall hangings or carpets. Named after the famous French village where they were originally made.
Batik: An ancient Japanese resist printing technique. Wax is blocked on the cloth to cover the design before dyeing and after the wax is removed by a washing procedure the design takes shape.
Batiste: A translucent plain-weave sheer fabric made with fine long staple cotton.
Block Printing: A hand-printing process where the motifs have been carved on wooden blocks. The dye is applied to the fabric from these blocks in a procedure similar to the rubber stamp technique.
Border: A border is a gimp, but wider. This trim is sometimes woven in plain patterns, such as stripes or chevrons.
Boucle: A novelty yarn that is looped and crimped to produce a pebbly surface.
Brocade: A figured fabric often of silk with an embroidered look. The motifs are frequently floral and elaborate. They are raised on the surface of the cloth. It cannot be used on the reverse side but is easily identified by the floating yarns that appear there. Origin: Medieval Latin; brocade – to embroider.
Brocatelle: A heavy fabric similar in appearance to a damask. The filler yarns (often linen) give it an embossed look. Originally it was made to imitate 19th century Italian tooled leather.
Brush Fringe: A brush fringe is a cut fringe that has a flat skirt made of thin yarns.
Bullion Fringe: Bullion Fringe is made of cords, rather than yarns. The heading can be plain or decorative.
Burn-out Printing: The application of an acid solution to dissolve an opaque fibre from a translucent sheer of blended yarns. After this process, the desired motifs appear in silhouette on the surface of the fabric.
Calendaring: The procedure of pressing fabric between heated and rotating cylinders to give a smooth glossy surface.
Casement Cloth: A light-weight textile made in a combination of fibres usually dyed in light neutral colors.
Cashmere: A fine fibre obtained from the undercoat of the Himalayan Cashmere goat.
Chenille: Derived from the French word for “caterpillar”. A special yarn with pile protruding on all sides, produced by first weaving a fabric, which is cut lengthwise between each of these groups of warp yarns, each cutting producing a continuous chenille which is then twisted.
Chiffon: Plain weave, soft, sheer fabric – often silk or rayon yarns.
Chinoiserie: A Chinese decorative style that was extremely popular in France and exemplified by its vogue in England especially during the reign of Queen Anne.
Chintz: A cotton fabric, with or without a printed pattern, with a glaze created by applying resin and calendaring
Cord: Cords consist of plied yarns (plies) that have been twisted together. Cords are frequently used in place of fabric welting.
Cotton: A vegetable fibre composed of pure cellulose. It is soft and absorbent, and takes dyes and special finishes extremely well. Strong and durable, it has excellent resistance to piling and abrasion. Mercerization enhances all these inherent qualities.
Crewel Embroidery: An embroidery made with coloured wool yarns stitched on unbleached cotton or linen, usually in a vine or leaf formation with floral details added. Its popularity began in England during the late 17th century.
Damask: A patterned fabric with a reversible design of contrasting satin and dull surfaces. Most commonly woven in silk, cotton or linen, it may, however, consist of a combination of these or other fibres. Origin: Damascus in Asia Minor.
Dimensional Stability: The degree to which a fabric will retain its original shape in various atmospheric conditions.
Duck: A broad term for a wide range of plain weave fabrics, duck is usually made of cotton, although sometimes linen is used. The terms canvas and duck are often interchangeable, but “canvas” often is used to refer to the heavier constructions.
Dupion: A silk reeled from double cocoons or dupions. This yarn has excellent tensil strength.
Figured Velvet: A patterned velvet formed by contrast in cut and uncut loops.
Filling (Weft): An element carried horizontally through the open shed of the vertical warp in a woven fabric.
Flame Resistant Fabric: A fabric whose fibre content or topical finish makes it difficult to ignite and slow to burn.
Flannel: A woollen fabric whose surface is slightly napped in finish.
Flax: The plant from the stem of which best fibre is extracted by retting to produce linen. An erroneous term for linen fibre, particularly in blends.
Frieze or Frise: Firm fabric with pile of uncut loops on the surface. Origin: French; frisé – curled.
Gimp: Gimps are flat, narrow, woven textiles made in many styles. One or both edges of a gimp can be plain or cut or have scalloped loops.
Greige Goods: Plain fabric coming directly off the loom before it has been bleached or finished. Used mainly for printing.
Gros Point: A non directional pile fabric that is warp-looped. It is hard-wearing and extremely resilient. Made of wool or synthetic fibres, it has larger loops than a frieze and resembles the ground area of needlepoint.
Herringbone: A twill weave that reverses direction across the fabric to form a chevron.
Hounds Tooth: A pointed check effect produced by a two up, two down broken twill with four ends and four picks in a repeat.
Imberline: An effect produced by laying a variety of colors in the warp which reveals a stripe running through the overall design of the fabric. Origin: Adapted from cloth of the uniforms worn by the Swiss Guard, who serve the Vatican.
Iridescent: A color effect created by weaving warp ends of one color and a weft of another color. The taffeta weave creates the best iridescent effects.
Jacquard Loom: A weaving device that manipulates a series of perforated cards that are attached to the top of the loom. The lifting or lowering of the warp that results make the most intricate designs possible. This revolutionary technique was developed in France by Joseph Jacquard at the turn of the 19th Century.
Jute: A bast fibre obtained from the round pod jute or the long pod jute of the family Tiliaceae. Grown extensively in Pakistan and India, mainly in the Bengal district of Pakistan.
Leno: Construction used in all good quality open mesh casement cloths. The warp yarns arranged in pairs twist one around the other over the filling yarn making the figure eight. The interlocking (chain) prevents the yarns from slipping. Origin: French; lin – flax.
Linen: A cellulose yarn made from natural flax fibres. It is especially noted for its strength, texture and lustre. Cool to the touch although lacking in resilience, it easily creases.
Lisere: The design is created by coloured warp threads brought up on the face of the fabric, leaving loose yarns on the back woven vertically, which gives it a vertical stripe effect. Liseres are Victorian in appearance and have embroidered style patterns.
Loom State: Goods as they come off the loom before converting/finishing. Called gray or griege.
Mercerized: A high-quality finishing process to cotton yarn where the application of caustic soda and tension develop a smooth lustrous surface.
Meter: A universally accepted measurement based in hundreds. It is equivalent to 39.37′. This measurement is used in the majority of the world.
Mohair: A long, white, lustrous hair obtained from the Angora goat. Mohair plush is a fabric with a cut pile of mohair yarns. It is lustrous and extremely strong and will hold a permanent embossing.
Moiré: A French word which means watered. A finishing process which produces a wavy or rippling pattern on the fabric. Each fabric moiré’s differently.
Organza: A thin, transparent silk, rayon or nylon fabric made in a plain weave and given a stiff, wiry finish.
Pill: A fuzzy ball caused by the rolling up of abraded surface fibres.
Plain Weave: The most basic method of interlocking warp and weft threads to form a cloth. Each filling thread passes alternately under and over the warp yarn to make a balanced construction. Also known as a Tabby, this is a strong weave and generally inexpensive to produce.
Ply: The number of yarns twisted together to make a composite yarn.
Polished Cotton: A combed and carded fabric in satin construction which has been calendared to give a high lustre to the surface.
Polyester: A synthetic polymer fibre that is manufactured from coal, water and petroleum. It is strong and durable making a wrinkle resistant fabric.
Railroad: To turn a fabric in a direction where the selvages are in a horizontal position. In a plain fabric or when the design is non directional, you can avoid making seams when the width of the goods will accommodate the height required. Some upholstery fabrics are designed in this manner to be used exclusively for furniture.
Rayon: The first synthetic fibre, rayon is derived from cellulose (a substance forming the framework of plants). Produced in 1884 by de Chardonnet, a French scientist, it has the basic characteristics of both silk and cotton. Viscose rayon which is used in many decorative fabrics is of a superior quality and is considered the best silk substitute.
Rep or Repp: A plain weave fabric produced by weaving large filling yarns through fine warp threads which result in distinct ribs running from selvage to selvage.
Repeat: One complete pattern of the fabric measured vertically and/or horizontally.
Sateen: A satin weave fabric usually made of mercerized cotton in a light weight construction that is primarily used for drapery linings.
Satin: Very smooth, lustrous face with duller back on a fabric created by majority of warp yarns showing on the surface. Origin: China; zaytun (tzutíing) – silk.
Selvage: The edge on either side of a woven or flat-knitted fabric, often of different threads and/or weave, so finished to prevent ravelling.
Shantung: A lightweight silk cloth woven in a plain weave with doupioni yarn.
Sheers: Light weight translucent fabrics used mainly for under curtains and casement treatments.
Silk: The natural protein fibre unwound from the cocoon of the silkworm. Silk is noted for its resilience, affinity for dyes and strength when woven into a fabric. It has a fine luxurious appearance but is very sensitive to light and is the most costly natural yarn.
Strie: A very fine irregular streaked effect made by a slight variance in the color of warp yarns. Origin: French – streaked.
Tabby: A plain weave construction in which one warp thread passes over and under a single weft thread. The threads of the warp and weft are of the same size and set with the same number per square inch thereby resulting in a balanced weave.
Taffeta: A plain weave that is reversible because the same size yarns are used for the warp and filler. The firm construction is light weight which gives the resulting fabric a crisp hand (feeling). Origin: Persian; taftan – to twist.
Tapestry: An intricate weave employing several sets of heavy filler yarns on a single warp which produce a multi-coloured pattern. Originally made with large scale scenic designs that frequently illustrated a tale. They were used as decorative wall hangings but also provided insulation. Origin: Greek; tapíes – rug.
Tassel: Tassels come in all sizes, shapes and forms. A hanging ornament consisting of a head and a skirt of cut yarn, looped yarns, or bullion fringe.
Tassel Trim: A plain or decorative gimp with attached tassels.
Toile: A French word for cloth or fabric, describes a one color, fine line printed design that resembles a pen and ink technique. Toiles are printed by various methods, but the most beautiful are still created by engraved plates or rollers.
Toile de Jouy: Printed fabric made at Jouy in France by Philippe Oberkampf from 1760 to 1815. They were usually printed on white or off-white grounds in monotone red, blue, green or black.
Tussah: A rough silk extruded from the cocoons of uncultivated silkworms. Slubs appear in the yarn as it is spun which leave uneven depths of color especially after dyeing. Therefore fabric woven with tussah will have an irregular surface.
Tweed: A homespun effect created by multi or monochromatic coloured yarns woven on plain looms. The fabric is usually wool or worsted and often has a rough texture.
Twill: A basic weave where the filler threads pass over two or more ends in a regular progression. This creates a diagonal pattern. Origin: Scotland; twill – to make a diagonal effect.
Velvet: There are 2 types of velvets: cut loop velvets (wire looms that form thread loops, the loops are then cut to form the pile) and double-faced velvets. (2 fabrics are woven, face to face, joined by the weft yarns, which are then cut forming the pile on both faces.)
Weft or Filling: The horizontal yarns in a cloth which run selvage to selvage across the fabric.
Wool: The fibre made from the fleece of sheep. Noted for its elasticity and lustre, it has an affinity for accepting rich color when dyed. Wool fibres vary in crimp, length and thickness. Wool fabrics are good insulators. The yarns are frequently spun from fleece of several breed of sheep.
Bamboo: Treelike tropical and semitropical grasses with woody stems that are typically hollow. Bamboo has a rapid growth and harvest cycle, typically does not require fertilizers or pesticides and requires little irrigation with sufficient rainfall. Last but not least, bamboo takes in more greenhouse gases than an equivalent stand of timber trees and releases more oxygen into the atmosphere. Although the process of turning bamboo into a viscose yarn requires significant chemical input, bamboo has many eco-friendly characteristics that make it a sustainable fibre.
Biodegradable: Biodegradable products are the perfect solution for reducing a large percentage of the waste products that pollute our environment. These products are ideal because when immersed into an ecosystem, they are broken down by the action of living organisms.
Closed-loop: A type of manufacturing process that utilizes a cyclical material flow in order to minimize waste.
Cradle-to-cradle: A term used in life-cycle analysis to describe a material or product that is recycled into a new product at the end of its defined life.
Environment: The complex of physical, chemical and biotic factors (such as climate, soil and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.
Heavy Metal: Any metallic chemical element that has a relatively high density and is toxic at low concentrations. (Examples are mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, thallium and lead). Semi-metallic elements (such as antimony, arsenic, selenium and tellurium) are often included in this classification.
Organic: The process of treating and processing fibres and yarns without the use of any synthetic harmful chemicals or pesticides. The fabrics are processed using organic compounds, which are not harmful to the environment. Organic textiles are naturally hypoallergenic, healthy, and non-irritating. Fibres that fall into this category include organic cotton, organic hemp and organic linen. All of our organic fabrics are made from certified organic fibres.
Organic Cotton: Traditional cotton production uses more chemicals per unit than any other crop. Organic cotton reduces this chemical use because it is grown without pesticides or chemical additives to fertilizer, relying instead on methods with less ecological impact.
Organic Hemp: Hemp grown without pesticides or chemical additives to fertilizer, relying instead on methods with less ecological impact. Hemp replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen which also makes it an eco-friendly fibre.
Organic Linen: A natural fibre made from the flax plant and grown without pesticides or herbicides. Organic linen is one of the most ecological of natural fibres as no irrigation is necessary, the flax plant purifies the soil, and is biodegradable and recyclable.
Recycled Fibres: Fibres made from post-consumer and post-industrial material. Post consumer fibre is made from material left over once a product has been used by a consumer. Post industrial fibre is from material generated by an industrial process before the material has been used by a consumer. Recycled fibre lessens our dependence on resources, reduces waste and produces less pollution. Our post-industrial recycled fibres come from petroleum by-products, recycled cotton, corn derivatives, recycled silk, and soybean husks.
Renewable: Capable of being replaced by natural ecological cycles or sound management practices. A natural resource qualifies as a renewable resource if it is replenished by natural processes or by re-planting at a rate comparable or faster than its rate of consumption.
Sustainable: A method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. A sustainable product refers to a product that can be sustained with limited exhaustion of natural resources. Sustainable fibres come from rapidly renewable resources with growth and harvest cycles of five years or less. Fibres that fall into this category include alpaca, bamboo, cotton, linen, mohair, hemp, wool, cork.
Wool: The fine, soft, curly hair that forms the fleece of sheep and certain other animals, wool is characterized by minute, overlapping surface scales that give it its felting property. Wool is a renewable resource.
Abrasion Resistant: Able to withstand mechanical actions such as rubbing, scraping or scrubbing.
Acoustic Wall Coverings: Designed for use on vertical surfaces, panels, operable walls and any place sound reduction is a primary factor such as meeting rooms, offices, theaters, auditoriums, restaurants as well as corridors and elevator lobbies. These products are predominantly made of man-made polyester and olefin fibers, and are tested for a special sound attenuation rating known as a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NCR) rating. This rating indicates the amount of sound absorbed into the wall. The higher the number, the more noise absorption.
Adhesive: Type of paste used to adhere the wall covering to the surface.
American Single Roll: Comes in a wide variety of lengths and widths ranging from 18 to 36 inches in width and from four to eight yards in length. Regardless of length or width, each single roll contains 34 to 36 square feet of wall cove ring. Wall covering is usually packaged in double or triple rolls, but prices are normally quoted by the single roll.
Antimicrobal: Compound commonly added to a coating to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi and algae on the surface of a finished product. Also known as Biocide.
Appllique: Cut-out design or ornament in fabric or other material that is applied on top of another larger surface. In wall covering, cut-outs applied to plain, textured or figured backgrounds.
Backing Material: It is laminated to the bottom of the design layer. Unexposed layer or layers in a composite used to impart physical properties rather than appearance. Materials used range from woven and non-woven fabrics to light weight paper products.
Base: The vinyl sheet or ground produced at the manufacturing plant in color on which design prints are added.
Baseboard: Decorative molding found at the bottom of the wall, along the floor.
Blister: Small air pocket that forms behind wallcovering during installation. Causes can include inadequate booking time, installation in conditions under 50 degrees F, and pockets of air not removed during the installation process.
Block Printing: This printing method is the forerunner of surface printing. Block printing involves the carving of a wood print block (usually one for each color) and pressing it sequentially along the length of the paper. These wood blocks are traditionally made of pear wood printing surface with pine backing. This technique is obviously time consuming and very labor intensive, as the coloring and print alignment is done by hand. Once the final printing has been accomplished, hand painted touch-ups are then performed.
Bolt: Continuous roll of wallcovering of a given length.
Booking: 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, however times will vary depending on the environment.
Breathable: Wallcoverings that allow water and air to pass through.
Bridging Liner: Porous under-wallcovering material designed to cover irregularities on walls or smooth surfaces, such as brick or paneling, to hang decorative wallpaper. Woven or non-woven (spun), either synthetic or a blend in composition. This material may also be painted though many will want to hang liner or float joint compound over the bridging material for a smoother surface.
Butt Seam: Most common type of wallcovering seam in which the edge of two strips of wallcovering are tightly butted together without any overlay or spacing between the strips.
Cellulose Paste: In paperhanging, cellulose has the highest water content of any paste in general use (around 97%). It usually comes in a small box and is packaged as a white powder. It is mixed with cold water on the job and can be used with a variety of
lightweight materials such as porous papers, grasscloth and silk. It’s adhesion is mostly of the mechanical type. It leaves very little solids behind and is not suitable for many wallcoverings which require greater amounts of initial tack and holding power.
Chair Rail: Molding that is placed on the wall at the height of a chair back. Complementary wallcovering patterns are often used above and below the chair rail.
Clay-based Adhesive: An adhesive that has heavy solids and is usually of a starch origin that helps to enhance its adherence ability. Generally used for heavier papers.
Coated Fabric: This wallpaper has a fabric substrate coated with liquid vinyl or acrylic. The decorative layer is printed on this coating. This is generally considered more I “breathable” wallpaper which makes it best for use in low moisture rooms.
Coatings: Thin protective surface layer, usually of acrylic, which is applied to wallcoverings to provide wash ability and durability.
Colorfastness: Able to resist change or loss of color caused by exposure to light over a measured period of time.
Colorway: The combination of colors in which a design is printed. Most designs will be made in several colorways and will all be shown in the same sample book
Color Run: Particular batch of wallcovering rolls that are printed at the same time. All rolls should be from the same color run to insure uniformity. Subsequent runs of that same design and color-way may be slightly different. Also called a dye-lot.
Commercial: Product manufactured in quality and width to serve high traffic areas.
Cork and Cork Veneer: They have a variegated texture with no definite pattern or design. Cork veneer is shaved from cork planks or blocks and laminated to a substrate that may be colored or plain. Cork naturally absorbs sound, insulates, provides visual contrast and can be used as a bulletin board.
Cove Ceiling: Ceiling which is rounded where it meets the wall. Coloring that rubs off and causes discoloration.
Crocking: A technique where a wallpaper liner is installed horizontally and the decorative paper is installed vertically. This ensures that the seams do not fall in the same place and results in a more secure adhesion.
Cross seaming: Cylinder: A roller, usually metal, engraved with one color of a design.
Cylinder: A roller, usually metal, engraved with one color of a design.
Dado Paper: Wallcovering which covers the lower part of the wall, or dado, and ending at the chair rail height.
Decorative Layer: Topmost printed layer of wallcovering. The thinnest layer in most cases, this is comprised of the inks applied to the top of the intermediate layer. This decorative layer is normally the major reason a wallcovering is chosen. The decorative layer may also have a protective polymer coating to provide added performance characteristics.
Design: A plan, or a single unit of decoration. A pattern of a wallcovering.
Directional Print: Pattern on a wallcovering which must be installed in a particular direction to be aesthetically pleasing.
Double Cut Seam: Type of seam used in situations where it is necessary to overlap two strips of wallcovering and yet avoid a raised edge. A straightedge is placed at the center of the overlap and, with a razor knife or blade, a cut is made through both layers. The top cutoff section is removed and then the bottom cutoff portion is removed leaving a tightly butted seam.
Double Roll: Bolt of two single rolls of wallcovering in a continuous strip.
Drop Ceiling: Form of decoration in which the ceiling paper is brought down onto the walls of a room and divided from the walls by a border or molding. This gives the illusion of a lower ceiling.
Drop Match: A pattern match in which every other strip will have the same pattern design along the ceiling line. There is waste with the drop matching of large scale patterns, therefore, when dealing with a drop match, paper hangers use the technique of measuring and cutting adjacent strips from different rolls of wallcovering and alternating them.
Dry Hanging: Method of hanging wallcoverings in which the adhesive is applied to the wall instead of the back of the wallcovering.
Embossing: Process of imparting a specific pattern, graining, or raised effect to the surface of the material. This can be done during the film formation process or at a later operation. It generally requires the material to be at an elevated temperature during the process and then cooled to set in the embossing pattern. In-register emboss is the technique whereby the ink colors are applied at the time the paper is being embossed, generally resulting in a pattern of embossing that duplicates the printed pattern.
Engraving: Machine priming of wall covering with etched-out rollers to obtain subtle and fine effects.
Etching: Process in which a copper shell is slowly revolved in an acid bath.
Expansion Joint: Area in a wall surface for the purpose of expansion. Similar in principle to grooves in concrete. Expansion or contraction should be performed at these joints and not crack the wall surface.
Fill: Area between the chair rail and frieze of a wall, also known as the sidewall.
Fining Agents: Typically composed of calcium carbonate, alumina or other inorganic compositions, these agents impart certain desired characteristics to the finished product such as flame retardancy and smoke suppression. They also can act as processing aids.
Flame Spread: Propagation of a flame away from the source of ignition across the surface of the specimen.
Foils: Constructed by laminating a thin sheet of aluminum foil onto a substrate of paper or scrim. Foils sometimes have a polyester sheet between the paper backing and the foil to prevent water in the adhesive from actually contacting the foil. These wallcoverings may have a pattern printed on the foil surface. Many times they are constructed not of foil but of mylar-like material. It is not actually mylar, but metallized PVC.
Frieze: A horizontal band which runs above doorways and windows or below the cornice. May be decorated with designs or carvings.
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.
Gray Goods: Raw woven cloths before any processing.
Ground: Raw stock onto which a coat of pigment has been applied before the top colors are put on in wall covering manufacturing.
Ground Coat: Coat of pigment applied to raw stock before the top colors are put on in wall covering manufacturing; the background color.
Hemp: Wall covering made from the fibers of the hemp plant. It resembles grass cloth with a finer weave.
Horizontal Repeat: The horizontal distance from one point on the design to the identical point again. Almost all wall covering has a horizontal repeat, except for those papers with a random match.
Hot Spots: Shiny spots on wall covering caused by a chemical reaction with the plaster wall.
Intermediate Layer: This layer, the ground, provides the surface upon which the decorative later is printed. It also provides the background color that, while often an off-white, can be any color depending upon the design. This later can range in thickness from less than one mil to as much as 10 mils as in heavier-weight, “solid-vinyl” products. Note that one mil is l /1000 of an inch.
Jute: Wall covering made by using jute, a strong coarse fiber that is used in making burlap.
Kill Point: This will be where the final strip of wall covering is placed. When working with coverings with a pattern, there will usually be a pattern miss-match at this junction. The wall covering installer will generally try to arrange this point in an inconspicuous area.
Lap Seam : Method of hanging in which strips overlap slightly.
Line: Merchandise belonging to one group or series offered by a manufacturer.
Linen: Natural fiber which can be made into a finely woven textile wall covering.
Lineal Yard: Lengthwise measure of a good.
Liner Paper : Blankstock. Blank paper used under wall covering. Lining paper is a traditional product used under fine wall coverings to absorb excess moisture from the finish wall covering. It allows seams to dry sooner and safer, and it promotes short term stability of the installation. Benefits of use include a smoother surface for final wall covering, serving as an excellent base for decorative wall covering application, and setting (bonding) the seams and controlling the expansion/contraction process (moister and vapor bubble reduction).
Lining Fabrics: Muslin or canvas, sometimes applied to the wall horizontally, used under fine wall coverings to avoid small cracks in a plaster wall and allowing for easier removal at a later date in the case of wall covering that you wish to re-use.
Moire (Moire): Wall coverings having a watered silk-sheen or wood grain effect embossed on the decorative surface.
Molding: Ornamental strip of wood that lies along the ceiling line.
Natural Fibers: Natural materials, such as vines, jute, wool, seagrass, coir, cork, hemp, sisal, cotton , and grass that have been dyed and laminated to a paper backing. After lamination, the product is printed, using conventional methods. There will be some shading, as the wall coverings are natural materials. They are usually unpasted. They provide a natural and textured character to decoration and are available in an extensive variety of color combinations. They are ideal for low traffic areas, such as living and dining rooms. Can require specialized cleaning techniques.
Nonporous: Also referred to as “non-breathable.” Wall covering with this characteristic does not allow water and air to freely pass through its surface.
Non woven Fabric: Backing. Non woven wall covering substrates are produced on a paper machine from a mixture of long fiber cellulose pulps and textile fibers combined with binders. The web is reinforced with acrylates and pigments are added to provide opacity . Special additives are used to provide wet strength and absorbency. Non wovens provide a substrate that is dimensionally stable when wet thus allowing a paste the wall technique to be used for hanging.
Osnaburg: Type of coarse, heavy cloth, usually cotton, used as a backing in Type II vinyl coated fabric wall coverings.
Outside Corner: A corner formed when two walls, not facing each other. are joined and protrude into the room.
Overlapping Seam: Method of hanging wall covering. Primarily used on commercial goods.
Peelable: Wall covering from which the decorative surface (usually vinyl) may be dry stripped from the backing (usually paper), leaving a continuous layer of the backing on the wall.
Pigments: Colorants that are insoluble in the medium in which they are used. They can be organic (contain carbon in molecule basic component) or inorganic (contain a metal in molecule basic component) and derived from both natural and synthetic sources. Used in the manufacture of durable vinyl wall coverings. Quality pigments are the most costly item in a vinyl compound. Many of the pigments used in the coloring of other products will not withstand the high processing temperatures used in vinyl.
Pimple: Blister under wall covering caused by wall defect, usually a small bit of drywall that protrudes above the normal wall surface.
Plasticizer: Substance incorporated in a material such as vinyl resin to increase its workability, flexibility or processability.
Pliabillty: Degree of softness and ease of flexing and bending of a wall covering.
Plumb Bob/Line: Weighted line used to produce a vertical line to assure that each strip is hung perfectly straight.
Polymer: Compound formed by the reaction of simple molecules.
Pre-pasted: Wall covering that has had adhesive applied to the back of it by the manufacturer. They must be soaked in water, activator, or a thinned down wall covering paste to activate the paste.
Prep Coat: Acrylic primer that normally, when dry, leaves a tacky surface. This surface allows wall coverings to easily adhere to the surface. Sometimes referred to as a primer. Examples of prep coats are Roman’s R-35, Zinsser’s Z-54, California Paint’s Prep ‘n Size, Golden Harvest’s BITE, Muralo’s Adhesium, Duron’s Tack Prep and Benjamin Moore’s Wa ll-Grip.
Pre-trimmed: Rolls of wall covering from which the selvage has been trimmed at the factory.
Primer: Most primers are applied to make the substrate more uniform for acceptance of the finish coat. They also improve the adhesion of the topcoat. Not all primers will allow the wall covering to slide easily on them during the installation process. They also will improve the removability of wallpaper and decrease the chances of wall damage . These can be either water based (acrylic) or oil based.
Primer/Sealer: Also known as DRC, drywall repair clears. It is a special penetrating primer that is designed to penetrate the wall surface and seal up any problem areas due to wall damage or any situation where wall surface anomalies are suspected. These products are available in several mixtures to address specific needs. A colored (pigmented) acrylic primer/sealer is the most common because it can be used on all surfaces. It’s water based, easy to clean and the coloring helps prevent any discolorations from showing through the paper. These products protect the underlying drywall, provide a good surface for adhesion, and increase the slip of wall covering.
Premixed Vinyl, Clay: Clay-based premixed vinyl adhesive was developed to hang vinyl wall cove rings. It consists of clay, dextrin, and small amounts of cellulose, biocides and other additives. There is a machine-grade clay premix which includes glycerin, for use in pasting machines. The color ranges from tan to gray, and it usually is packaged in 1 and 5 gallon pails. Clay-base premix has the lowest water content (40-50%) of any paste in general use and is often used for wallcoverings which require superior tack. Such wall coverings include commercial vinyl, foils, and heavily inked handprints.
Premixed Vinyl, Clear: Clear premixed vinyl adhesive is based on natural polymers such as wheat and corn starch or on synthetic (man-made) polymers. The polymers are cooked with heat or by chemical means, changing the molecules from long-chain to short chain in the proce ss. Other additives may include cellulose, biocides and flow agents. Many clears are designated as “Strippable”, for use on bare sheetrock in the commercial market to allow future stripping when redecorating. Clears are designed for all-purpose use and may be used successfully with the widest variety of wall coverings, ranging from a very light vinyl to heavy types. Some caution is necessary when using them with paper (they may strike-through delicate wall covering) and with materials with high differential (they may not be able to overcome pronounced edge curl). The water content is usually in the 60-70% range.
Print Roller: In machine printing, the cylinders onto which the design is cut.
Production Run: Production of one pattern in one combination of colors from the beginning to end on one machine.
Random Match: A random match is one in which the pattern matches no matter how adjoining strips are positioned.
Raw Stock: Paper in large reels. Also, the substrates used today, before lamination.
Reedcloth: Handcrafted wall covering in which every individual reed is inserted into the cotton warp threads of a handmade loom.
Relief Cut: Cut made in an inside comer, at a window casing or at a molding to relieve pressure on a large sheet of paper, enabling it to lay flat against the wall.
Repeat: Distance from the center of one motif or pattern to the center of the next.
Reverse Hanging: Reversing strips. Technique of paperhanging where each strip is alternately hung “right side up” and “upside down” in papers with a random match. This is used to negate or lessen the effects of shading problems on the edges of those wall coverings, if applicable.
Rigid Vinyl Acrylic: This product was developed to be used in areas where there is a potential for high-impact concerns such as hospital corridors, high traffic areas in commercial buildings and the hospitality environment where movable carts are used.
Roll Change: Putting a new roll on in place of a roll which has been run.
Run: Number of times an individual wall covering is made. Colors, and other features can be slightly different from run to run.
Screen Printing: Also known as hand prints, silk screening, hand screening, and serigraphy. Involves the use of stencils to transfer the design. Paint is applied to a frame of stretched silk, polyester, or nylon screen and penetrates areas of the screen not blocked by the stencil pattern. By using several stencils, many colors can be added to form successive layers in a single print. Screen printing may also be accomplished by a machine, this method is known as flat bed automatic printing. Screen printing is the original concept for the modern rotary screen printing process.
Scrim: Durable plain-woven fabric, usually cotton.
Scrubbable: Wall covering that can withstand scrubbing with a brush and a prescribed detergent solution.
Seam: Area where two wall coverings are joined.
Seam Roller: Small tool used to used to secure the seams of wallpaper to make them adhere to the wall when dry. This is done by rolling or pressing the seams after the paper has been applied to the wall and the air bubbles, if any, are smoothed away.
Self-Tone: Wall covering in which shades of one color are featured.
Selvage: Either edge of a roll of wall covering carrying no design, intended to protect the design during shipment.
Shading: Effect that can sometimes appear along the seams of no patterned or textured wall coverings due to heavier ink coverage at one edge than the other during printing.
Shell: Hollow copper cylinder containing an etched design used in printing coated fabrics.
Sheet: One color-way of a wall covering design.
Sidewall: Area between the chair rail and frieze of a wall, also known as the fill.
Sieve Cloth: Woolen blanket moving as a continuous belt which transfer colors from the color pan to the roller in machine-printing.
Single Cut: What you do to seam a sheet that is wet with a sheet that has already dried. This technique mainly applies to sidewall paper and borders. You overlay the wet sheet on the dry sheet, use a smoother or putty knife to force the impression line of the underlying dry seam and then with the feel of your fingertips and a single edge blade, you cut a butted seam using the creased line as your guide.
Single Roll: Single roll of wall covering that comes in a wide variety of lengths and widths ranging from 18 to 36 inches in width and from four to eight yards in length. Regardless of length or width, each single roll contains 34 to 36 square feet of wall covering. Wall covering is usually packaged in double or triple rolls, but prices are normally quoted by the single roll.
Sisal: Wall covering made from the fibers of the sisal plant.
Size: In the case of plaster walls, it will prevent too much paste from being absorbed into the wall. It’s use on drywall applications is not so much to prepare the wall, but to provide added adhesion for the final installation of wall covering. It usually comes in the form of a white powder that is mixed with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Another form of size is to coat the walls with a thinned down version of the adhesive that ultimately be used in the installation of the wallcovering. Many wallpaper manufacturers specifically request it’s usage on any wall type though it is traditionally associated with plaster walls.
Slip: Characteristic of an adhesive that allows sliding and repositioning of the wallcovering while it is being installed.
Smoke Density: Comparative measure derived from smoke obscuration data collected during the test for surface burning characteristics.
Smoothing Brush: Used to smooth out wrinkles or air from behind wall covering during installation. Most often used on delicate wall coverings.
Soffft: Structural part of a wall, the area often found in kitchens extending from the top of cabinets to the ceiling, or the underside of a beam.
Stabilizer: Additive used to prevent the vinyl compound from degrading during high temperature processing; also helps protect the finished product from discoloring during its useful service life.
Stain Killer Primers: Should be used for walls with problematic stains such as grease, recurring mold, etc. They prevent these types of stains from bleeding through the wall covering. This product would be used to spot-treat these areas or as a total primer base. These primers are also excellent for covering brightly painted surfaces that may otherwise bleed through the final wall covering. Most stain killer formulas contain anti-microbal agents to prevent future growth of any type of mold; however, existing mold must be removed using a 3:1 water to bleach solution prior to application of the primer.
Stain Resistant: Wall covering on which a coat of acrylic has been added to make the surface resistant to stains.
Stipple: To create a pattern which gives a paint like appearance.
Stock: Different qualities and grades of paper or the man made materials.
Straight Edge: Six foot or seven foot ruler used by a paperhanger to dry trim the selvage off of wall covering.
Strle: A thread-like, striped effect.
Strike-off: Proof of a design run before actual production, in order to check the quality of reproduction and colors.
String Effect: Wall coverings that have very fine vertical threads laminated to a paper type substrate. Threads may be of a man made material or natural fiber such as silk or linen. These wall coverings should not be subjected to abuse and require great care in their cleaning.
Strip: Length of wall covering, cut to fit the height of the wall.
Strippable: Wall covering that can be dry-stripped from the wall leaving a minimum of paste or adhesive residue and without damage to the wall’s surface.
Substrate: The backing of a wall covering. It is laminated to the bottom of the design layer. Unexposed layer or layers in a composite used to impart physical properties rather than appearance. Materials used range from woven and non-woven fabrics to light weight paper products.
Surface Printing: The oldest automated printing method still in use today. Surface machines lay down very heavy amounts of ink. The ink “creeps” when it hits the paper, so the images are not as crisp as the other methods. There is no drying between color stations, so the registration (alignment of the printing) is very important to keep the inks from running into each other. Because of the heavy lay down of ink, and the inexact image rendering, surface printing has a very distinct look. It is especially well suited for multi-colored floral patterns and classic document designs. Surface printers can usually print up to 12 colors.
Swag: Swinging or suspended decoration, representing garlands, drapery, ribbons or leaves.
Swatch: Sample cutting of wall covering.
Third Layer: The substrate or backing is the portion of the wallcovering that goes against the wall. This backing can be of a wide variety of materials ranging from woven and non-woven fabrics to lightweight paper products.
Total Weight: Combined weight of both backing and coating, measured in ounces per square yard of wall covering.
Trimmer: Machine or device that removes the selvage.
Two-Tones: Wall coverings that show only two-toned values of one color.
Type I: Light duty commercial grade wall covering weighing between 7 and 13 ounces per square yard. Generally produced on a scrim or non-woven backing.
Type II: Medium grade commercial wall covering weighing between 13 and 22 ounces per yard. It is produced on an osnaburg, drill or non-woven fabric backing.
Type III: Heavy duty commercial grade wall covering, weighing in excess of 22 ounces per square yard. Usually produced on drill fabric backing.
Unpasted Wallpaper: Wall covering to which paste must be rolled or brushed on during the installation process.
VOC: Volatile organic compounds that flash off from a coating when it dries.
Vinyl: Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC. Man-made material used in the manufacturing of wall coverings. A polymer prepared by the polymerization of vinyl chloride as the sole monomer.
Vinyl Coating: Either a liquid acrylic or flexible film applied to a wall covering backing material. It gives a wall covering strength, durability and scrubbability.
Vinyl Laminate: Vinyl laminated to either paper or fabric.
Wall Coverings: Coverings applied to walls for decoration, scrubbability and to hide imperfections. May be manufactured utilizing paper, natural fibers, synthetics, or a wide variety of substances.
Wall Fabric: Durable and decorative textile surface on a backing used to cover walls.
Wallpaper: Wallpaper with a paper substrate/ground combination upon which the decorative layer is printed. True papers are not coated, but some may have a acrylic coating applied to seal in the inks. Often misused term to describe all wall coverings.
Washable: Wall covering that can be cleaned with a sponge, mild or prescribed detergent, and water.
Waterbox: Tray that holds the water into which pre-pasted wall coverings are dipped before they are hung.
Wet Hanging: Method of hanging wall coverings in which the adhesive is applied to the back of the wall covering.
Wheat Paste: Common wheat flourTriticum vulgare (sativum), readily available in temperate climates, is the most frequently recommended flour for making wallpaper paste. There are many grades of wheat paste available, but it is sometimes difficult to find in traditional decorating retail outlets.
Wheat has the next highest water content of any paste in general use, ranging from 90 to 95% water, depending on how much water is mixed with the product. Although wheat paste was once the most popular paste, the introduction of vinyl and vinyl-coated paper to the wallcovering industry in the 1950’s and 60’s and the eventual dominance of vinyl types in the U.S. mass market have led to a decline in both the recommendation and use of wheat paste.
White Board: This style of wall covering has a white plastic coating that enables the wall covering to be used as a writing surface or as a backdrop for video displays or slide presentations. Erasable markers are used to draw presentations or notes. Generally utilized in board rooms or conference areas.
Wire Lap: Method of hanging in which strips overlap slightly.
Wood Veneer: These wall coverings are mostly laminated to fabric backing. They are usually made in sheets 18 to 24 inches wide and provided in any length up to 144 inches long. Due to characteristics relative to environmental and grain matching, wood veneers are used mostly in the office or conference room environment along with some other specialty areas, such as large columns.
Woven Fabric Backing: Common materials used as this backing are scrim, osnaburg or drill cloth. Scrim is used mostly in light construction. Osnaburg is installed in medium to heavy usage areas. Drill cloth is used in the heaviest wallcoverings.
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