How to choose the right backing for wallpaper?

Modern new buildings and secondary housing can not always boast of high quality. The smallest problems that owners have to face are uneven walls and ceilings. Noise from the street, loud neighbors – the walls, like a sheet of paper, let any sound through. However, every problem can be solved, and therefore the modern building materials market can offer a special underlay for wallpaper, which will solve these and many problems..

What it is?

The underlay is a special intermediate layer that serves to level the wall and also enhances the adhesion between wallpaper and plaster. There are common, standard substrates and materials with specific properties such as vibration damping and noise suppression.

Substrates are made from synthetic materials and natural raw materials. Often synthetics are represented by a layer of polyethylene and paper fused with it..

Natural products are most often made from cork oak bark and other materials that have a pronounced property of absorbing and damping vibration..


Modern substrates are made from environmentally friendly raw materials, therefore, they allow finishing work both inside residential premises and in public places. These materials are able to compensate for defects in the base, as well as mask and strengthen cracks..

Specific features such as sound insulation, thermal insulation and soundproofing ability, will help to create the necessary comfort and coziness in the house, as well as to protect the working space. And the topcoat will be smooth, even, and last much longer than without a backing.

The following positive points should also be noted:

  • The topcoat has a smooth, bubble-free surface. The backing absorbs some of the glue, so it spreads evenly over the entire wall.
  • The process of pasting itself becomes much easier and more practical. Insulation, due to its structure, helps to firmly fix the fabric in the seam area and corners.
  • A long service life of the wall decoration is achieved. Reinforced grip allows a firm grip on the substrate and floor.
  • A backing that has good breathability will prevent the formation of mildew on the wallpaper.
  • Significant savings in time, materials, effort and money.

Substrates can have different characteristics, but one type can be used for different types of wallpaper..

Of course, an intermediate layer between the topcoat and the plaster is not necessary, but it is advisable.

Popular materials

There are several types of substrates in total, depending on the feedstock:

  • Paper. Thick paper allows you to correct the wall in the event that it is not possible to dismantle the old, tainted plaster.
  • Non-woven The base is similar to ordinary non-woven wallpaper. They are durable, but lightweight and have good sound insulation characteristics. However, they belong to rather expensive materials..
  • Cork. An inexpensive technical plug is used as a raw material, which is why the resulting material is distinguished by its budget. The substrate has excellent heat and sound insulation characteristics, it evens out the walls well, but requires installation skills and a special adhesive composition.
  • Polyethylene. It is a foamed polyethylene. It hides wall defects well, has such a characteristic as noise insulation, and retains heat in the house..

Expanded polystyrene or its more common name – polystyrene foam. The simplest and most well-known thermal insulation material to a wide range of consumers. Is different low cost and good thermal insulation qualities, therefore it has a wide range of applications. With its help, walls, floors, ceilings, and even facades of houses are insulated..

Polyfoam is a good and proven option for insulating residential and industrial premises..

However, it is absolutely inappropriate for wallpapering. This conclusion can be made based on the following features of expanded polystyrene:

  • Polyfoam has a loose structure, its surface is very fragile and not rigid enough for wallpaper. In other words, if suddenly someone presses on the wall or rests on it, then a dent will form in this place, and the wallpaper will tear. Also, during operation, abscesses can form on the canvas..
  • In stores, polystyrene is sold in the form of slabs, therefore, in order to ensure high-quality thermal insulation, the foam layer must be at least 5 cm.The main problem is the seams – they protrude too much above the wall surface and will be noticeable under the wallpaper.
  • Carrying out cosmetic repairs, it will be possible to dismantle the old wallpaper only together with the insulation. This is not very convenient and adds additional work, since you will have to glue not only the wallpaper, but also a new backing.
  • And the last and most important factor is fire safety. To comply with all the rules, you must first cover the foam and trim it with a non-combustible material, which is also impractical..

If, nevertheless, the choice stopped precisely on expanded polystyrene, then to give a rigid base for the wallpaper you can use three additional coverages:

  • Sheathe it with plasterboard.
  • Cover with special plaster with reinforcing properties.
  • It is obligatory to use a plaster mesh, based on fiberglass.

Insulation can be made from various materials. However, the most common polyp. It is a foamed polyethylene. Its thickness can vary from 4 to 8 mm. Polyphom is an environmentally friendly material. It has a paper lining on both sides. You can buy polyform in the form of rolls in a specialized store.. Roll parameters:

  • Length – 14 m.
  • Width – 0.5 m.
  • Thickness – 5 mm.
  • Density – 30 kg / cubic meter.

Penolone is a polymer and is chemically crosslinked. It is flexible, lightweight and hygienic. The material is quite resistant to the effects of aggressive media such as acid, alkali, alcohol and gasoline. It is not subject to deformation, and also has a low coefficient of vapor permeability and heat conductivity.. Spheres of application of Penolone:

  • Aligns the walls.
  • Suppresses noise and vibration.
  • Reduces the spread of cold from the walls.
  • Facilitates the work of pasting walls.
  • Eliminates Weeping Walls Phenomenon

Foamed polyethylene also includes polyform and polyphon, which have similar characteristics to the above materials. Even if the layer is thin.

Penohome is a versatile material with different densities. It is a Euroblock. It has excellent sound insulation properties. Copes well with high humidity and helps to warm the room.

The cork backing is characterized by high heat and sound insulation values. Significantly increases the adhesion of the topcoat to the substrate. In addition, the material is made of natural raw materials and is an ecological, natural and safe product for health.. Technical features of the material:

  • Thermal conductivity coefficient – 0.04 W / m k.
  • Material density – 100-130 kg / m.
  • Treat the material of normal flammability (class – G3).
  • Weight – 200 kg / cubic meter.

Non-woven backing is also popular. Its main distinguishing feature is good vapor permeability..

This ensures excellent ventilation of the walls themselves and the room. Also, this material is very elastic, therefore it easily masks non-critical defects in the base and has a low price. Rolled non-woven fabric has the following characteristics: length – 10-12 m, width – 0.6-1 m. The canvas can be glued vertically and horizontally.


Before finishing the walls with a topcoat, you must first prepare them. This statement has long been an axiom. However, some owners, for whatever reason, do not want to prepare the walls, but you need to understand that gluing wallpaper literally on bare surfaces is a waste of money and effort.

Installation of insulation is not a difficult process and takes place in several main stages. In most cases, there is no need to call the wizards.

First you need to prepare the work surface itself (that is, the wall). It is necessary to dismantle the old canvas, loose plaster, paint and remove dirt. After that, it is necessary to putty the walls, smooth out all the irregularities and small depressions. We cover the plaster with a deep penetration primer so that it becomes stronger and does not crumble. You must wait until the primer dry completely. You will have to wait about 24 hours. Only after this time can you start installation.

Now you need to measure the wall and cut the insulation into pieces of the desired length. We start gluing. You will need either special adhesives (cork insulation), or just a universal glue. Simply put, the glue must be selected depending on the material taken. If the room has a high level of humidity, then you can use the composition for baguettes or liquid nails. They are quite expensive, but will keep the lining from moving away from the wall during strong temperature fluctuations.. The most optimal values ​​of temperature and humidity + 10 degrees, 70% humidity.

Using a roller, distribute the adhesive over the substrate and wall. Wait about 5 minutes, fix it on the base, smooth it with a rubber spatula. We do not allow the presence of drafts at the time of gluing. To prevent divergence or bulging, glue the joints with wide masking tape. If not wallpaper glue is used, but a different composition, then the installation is carried out according to the instructions on the package. We are waiting for the glue to dry within 3 days.

While the composition is drying, you need to ensure good ventilation of the room..

Recommendations for selection and installation

When choosing a polymer insulation, it is worth knowing that, according to the manufacturing method, they are divided into:

  • Uncrosslinked gas foamed.
  • Stitched: chemically and physically.

The simplest is uncrosslinked polyethylene. Its manufacturing technology is the simplest. The strength and thermal insulation properties of this material are 1/4 less and worse than the others..

Both chemically and physically cross-linked polyethylene are similar in their properties, therefore, when buying insulation, you need to focus on:

  • Material color (uniform, white or light gray).
  • How tightly does the paper adhere to the base.
  • The presence of a smell (normally it should not be).
  • Elasticity (surface recovers quickly after finger pressure).
  • Structure.
  • Edge decoration.
  • Durability and certificate availability.

When choosing a substrate, it should be borne in mind that their main difference from each other is thickness and density. The cork material is denser, therefore, before installation, it does not require a thorough leveling of the walls. Polyfom allows you not to putty the walls thoroughly. And the non-woven material, which is a very durable material, will protect the wallpaper from tearing, and the walls from cracking..

Some tips for laying the material:

  • The joints must be treated with a wide masking tape to stabilize the canvas and prevent the formation of hills at the seams..
  • It is impossible for the seam of the wallpaper to coincide with the seam of the insulation.
  • If there is a suspicion of the presence of a fungus, the necessary antiseptic measures are urgently taken.

These tips will help keep the wallpaper intact and keep the seams from coming apart. It is better to use a primer that contains antiseptic substances. This is necessary to prevent the multiplication of various microorganisms.. The finished surface must be dry and smooth..

Customer Reviews

In general, buyers are satisfied with the foam and polyphom. It is noted that, although these materials do not completely drown out noise, they perfectly retain heat in the house. They are also distinguished by such heaters as penofol and penoplex.

According to the testimony of buyers, cork insulation helps to create and maintain an optimal temperature regime in the room. In winter, the material creates a temperature in the house with conventional heating a couple of degrees higher than in a room without insulation. In the summer, the cork prevents heat from moving from heated walls to the air, allowing you to keep the house cool.

Successful examples and options

Cork material in terms of coefficient is comparable to that of foam. This allows you to carry out finishing work in corner houses, apartments or houses that are located in an open area when joining a balcony, loggia or after redevelopment. Also, cork insulation is used when decorating recording studios and other work spaces to achieve maximum noise isolation. You can use a special soundproof and soundproof membrane AntiSound, if necessary.

The effect of insulation and sound damping will be more pronounced in a room, the wall of which goes, for example, into an entrance. Panel houses with concrete walls do not retain heat well, so if one floor of the apartment faces the entrance, then a lot of heat will escape from the house and it will be cool. It can get very cold in winter.

Sometimes solutions are found in the interior when the walls are decorated only with a cork backing instead of pasting wallpaper. It looks quite interesting and harmonious..

For even more about wall insulation with a backing, see the next video..

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