Wallpaper and coverings, particularly those meant for commercial and institutional usage, fall into three main categories: types I, II, and III. The type you choose depends on several factors, but the following guide can help you make the right decision.
Best suited to residential commercial buildings, such as apartments or hotels, type I wallpaper is the thinnest and lightest weight of the commercial-grade wallpaper options. This type of covering typically has no coatings, so it is more of a wallpaper than a wall covering. The lack of a coating means it won't stand up to heavy wear and tear and isn't suitable for high touch surfaces.
Type I wall coverings tend to be decorative rather than functional. The greatest variation in patterns and designs can typically be found in this level of wallpapering, in part because of its popularity in residential buildings. They may also be used to cover ceilings while a higher durability option is used on the actual walls.
The most common type of covering found in commercial buildings in type II wall coverings. These are much more durable than their type I counterparts, which makes them suitable for use in higher traffic areas, such as retail establishments, offices, waiting rooms, and schools. They are more resistant to abrasion, so the wall covering isn't as easy to damage.
Type II coverings usually have a vinyl or other durable material component that helps add to the wall covering's longevity. The coating also makes it much easier to clean the wall covering, an important consideration on high touch walls that are prone to fingerprints and dirt smudges. The thicker covering is also less likely to tear or peel off, compared to thinner type I coverings.
The most durable option for commercial wallpapers and coverings in the type III option. This is the thickest wall covering available, so abrasive wear and tear is not a concern. It is used in areas with exceptionally high traffic or where moving equipment may cause wall damage, such as in hospital corridors, commercial kitchens, or manufacturing buildings.
Type III coverings would not be considered wallpaper, as they are often made of a thick plastic or vinyl material — or a similar durable material. Further, these wall coverings are easy to clean and maintain. They may also contain other benefits, such as acoustical deadening or antimicrobial coatings.
Contact a wallpaper contractor to learn more about the type I wallpaper available.