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Can Vinyl Wallpaper Be Used In a Bathroom? (Explained)

Have you moved into a new house or are you thinking about renovating your bathrooms? You might come across vinyl wallpapers as an option for bathroom walls. It can be a great option but it is better to do some research before selecting anything.

Can vinyl wallpaper be used in a bathroom?

Vinyl wallpaper can be used in a bathroom. It is non-permeable and any water stuck on its body can be wiped away. It is suitable in a humid bathroom atmosphere as it will not absorb its moisture to create mold underneath it. However, it may not resist frequent water splashes without a ventilator.

Vinyl wallpaper is often used in the bathroom and it rarely creates an issue when it is used as wallpaper. It will be able to withstand more water than any other wallpaper due to its non-absorbent features.

However, it may not be suggested to cover the bathroom walls if there is no ventilator to let the hot steam out of the bathroom. This may eventually lead to the vinyl wallpaper peeling off.

Is vinyl wallpaper good for bathrooms?

Vinyl wallpaper is excellent for bathrooms as it is made with PVC. It doesn’t let it absorb any water or moisture. As the wallpaper is waterproof and washable, it could be easily cleaned using a damp cloth or sponge.

However, most vinyl wallpapers are self-adhesive or glued to the bathroom walls and hot steam or warm temperatures inside the bathrooms may cause the adhesive to loosen. As a result, the wallpapers may come off easily after a few months.

Following this issue, it can still be good for the bathrooms if a mildew-resistant primer is used to prepare the walls before gluing down the vinyl wallpaper. It will help reduce the risk of moisture building up behind the covering of the walls.

Does bathroom wallpaper have to be vinyl?

Bathroom wallpapers do not necessarily have to be vinyl but vinyl wallpapers are known to be the best for their humid environment.

Peel and stick wallpaper can be a good option for bathrooms. They are quite thin and are made of laminated PVC. However, other hard paper-based bathroom wallpapers tend to absorb all the water and moisture, causing the molds to grow underneath them.

Vinyl wallpapers, on the other hand, are waterproof. There are many types of vinyl wallpaper and each is manufactured to resist different moisture levels. For instance, solid vinyl, fabric-backed vinyl, or paper-backed vinyl wallpaper are highly resistant to moisture and humidity.

How to install vinyl wallpaper in the bathroom?

Installing vinyl wallpaper is not as hard as it sounds.

The trick with installing vinyl wallpaper is all about the tools that you use. No professionals are required if the materials listed below are available. You will need the following materials close:

  • patching plaster
  • putty knife
  • drywall sanding block
  • wallpaper primer
  • 3/8″ nap paint roller
  • step stool
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • metal straight edge
  • sharp utility knife and extra blades
  • wallpaper sponge or cotton towel/cloth
  • wallpaper smoother or brush

Having the tools makes the job easy, but the steps below have to be followed correctly too.

Clean the walls:

Wipe the walls with a clean sponge or a cloth. A vacuum may also be used to get rid of any dirt stuck with the walls.

To make the vinyl wallpaper stick properly, the walls need to be free of nails, screws, mirrors, switch plates, and light fixtures.

The walls of the bathroom should be plain with no holes so patch the holes with patching plaster and a putty knife. After it dries completely, smoothen it with a drywall sanding block.

Apply primer on the walls:

Just after cleaning and smoothing it, prepare the walls by applying primer. To ensure that the adhesive stays in its place and easy removal, use a 3/8″ nap paint roller to apply primer on the walls.

Cut wallpapers according to the measurements of the wall:

Measure the walls with a measurement tape from the ceiling to its bottom. Draw a line with a pencil on the wallpaper marking the total length of the walls. Use a ruler to draw this line as it needs to be straight.

Use a pair of scissors to cut along the straight line. Then leave a mark on the wall where the first wallpaper panel will start and use a pencil to draw a vertical line and align with it. Repeat this session from left to right of the walls until all the walls are covered.

Soak and place the vinyl wallpaper:

Fill a large bowl or a sink with water as the wallpapers to be soaked in it. Submerge the vinyl wallpaper in the bowl completely by grabbing its top and bottom sides and folding each end to bond in the middle.

Leave it for the instructed amount of soaking time in the manufacturer’s hanging instruction.

After the instructed time’s passed, remove the wallpaper from the bowl and get rid of excess water. Then, unfold and press it onto the bathroom walls aligning with marked lines.

Smoothen the wallpaper:

To get rid of wrinkles and bubbles under the vinyl wallpaper, smooth it using a rubber smoother. Make sure to squeeze out all the bubbles from the center of the paper out toward the edges.

Trim the sides:

If the sides of the wallpaper are lifting on the edges of light fixtures, mirrors, or cabinets because of its width, trim it.

Gently press a metal straight edge into its corner and trim wallpaper using a sharp utility knife to reduce its width or its length.

How to install vinyl wallpaper in the bathroom over beadboard?

It is easy to install vinyl wallpaper in the bathroom over beadboard if the steps below are followed correctly:

Caulk the beadboard:

Notice any cuts or grooves in the beadboard and fill them with caulk, especially if they are more than ¼ inch deep. This will prevent them from puncturing the walls.

Level and remove the excess caulk using a putty knife along the grooves and let it dry.

Wipe the beadboard clean to get rid of dirt, dust, or mold.

Prime the beadboard:

Apply a thin coat of stain-blocking latex primer on the beadboard walls using a 3/8″ nap paint roller or a paintbrush.

Let it dry for a few minutes and add another coat of acrylic-emulsion sizing to make the beadboard’s surface rough. It helps the adhesive stick well on the beadboard.

Hang the vinyl wallpaper:

Hang a heavy-duty wallpaper liner horizontally to avoid the issues of overlapping seams with the vinyl wallpaper. Next, press the wallpapers onto the walls on the liner vertically and let it dry.

How can you protect vinyl wallpaper in the bathroom?

The ways to protect vinyl wallpaper include:

Use mold-proof wallpaper paste:

The main issue with using vinyl wallpaper in the bathrooms is the growth of molds.

Apply an extra coat of mold-proof paste underneath the vinyl wallpaper to prevent the growth of molds.

Apply a waterproof coating:

Although vinyl wallpapers cannot get wet, to provide the utmost protection against moisture apply a clear acrylic varnish. It will also prevent it from being permanently stained.

Use a ventilator:

Attaching a ventilator to let the hot steam escape before ruining the adhesive is a great way to avoid the moisture seeping underneath the vinyl wallpaper.

Can vinyl wallpaper get wet?

Vinyl wallpaper is unlikely to get wet. It cannot absorb water, even if it is on its surface. This is because it is non-absorbent and non-permeable.

However, it can get peeled off if water seeps underneath it if it is not glued down properly. Water cannot soak the vinyl but it can harm the glue.

How to paint over vinyl wallpaper in a bathroom?

It’s sometimes difficult to remove vinyl wallpaper in a bathroom. Hence, for renewing the look, a fresh coat of paint can be applied over the vinyl wallpaper.

First, all the loose papers must be taken off the wall. Then wipe clean the grease or dirt on the remaining wallpapers with a soapy sponge. After scrubbing, clean it with plain water and let it dry.

Apply a coat of drywall primer over the wallpaper using a roller for the adhesive to stick properly. Vinyl wallpapers can be slippery as it is made of PVC, so applying an appropriate amount of primer is necessary. Leave it for a few hours to dry.

After smoothening the walls using sandpaper to make sure it is leveled, apply more primer again as the wall will experience frequent water splashes. Once it dries completely, paint the walls with several coats of oil or water-based paint.

Can I use any wallpaper in the bathroom?

Unfortunately, not all wallpapers can be used in the bathroom. There are some paper wallpapers that absorb the water in the bathroom. For best bathroom wallpapers, purchase wallpapers that are made of PVC or have a waterproof coating.

What wallpaper is best for bathrooms?

The best wallpapers for bathrooms will be able to resist moisture and humidity to the highest levels. The list of types of wallpapers that are good for bathroom walls:

  • Peel-and-stick removable wallpapers
  • Solid vinyl wallpaper
  • Fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper
  • Paper-backed vinyl wallpaper

Nevertheless, vinyl wallpapers are an outstanding option for bathrooms due to their non-permeable features. However, research should be done to find out which type of vinyl wallpaper suits the best for your bathroom.