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Wallcoverings Regulation

In the first of our series looking at the regulations and requirements across each discipline, we look at what a designer needs to know when specifying wallcoverings, with the assistance of Tektura.

Domestic or Contract?

Domestic quality product does not have to meet fire regulations, and other than manufacturers using standardised icons for washability, reverse/non reverse hanging etc there are no other mandatory requirements.

Contract product is designed for commercial interiors, it is engineered for durability and longevity. A 5-7 year refurbishment cycle for a major hotel is the norm, but a good quality contract wallcovering can last much longer.

Designers and interior architects may seek products that conform to environmental guidelines such as BREEAM or SKA. With regard to wallcovering look for products that are low VOC.

Domestic Vs Contract Quality

Domestic wallcoverings

These are not engineered to stand up to the heavy traffic, scratches and knocks found in commercial interiors. Domestic wallpapers are usually thinner, lighter weight and more likely to tear.

Contract Wallcoverings

Designed specifically for commercial or public interiors, most are made from solid vinyl with a heavy duty fibre or polycotton woven backing. They have increased impact-resistance and have a scrubbable finish.

Know your vinyl?

A vinyl surface offers the best cleanability, most are wipeable, few are scrubbable.  If a vinyl is used, it can be described as 'solid', this means that there is no blowing agent incorporated to 'aerate' the vinyl and puff it up creating a thicker product.   Any product with blowing agent will have a surface that is not impact resistant. 

Quote: A vinyl surface offers the best cleanability, most are wipeable, few are scrubbable

UK, EU or USA requirements?

Contract wallcoverings originating from outside of the UK or Europe may have been tested to another country’s regulations.

For example, tests in the USA are similar to those in the UK/Europe but different methods are used. Fire and impact resistance, low VOC emissions and good lightfastness are the key requirements for contract products.

What should you ask your supplier?

Does this product meet the required fire regulations? Unless a product is made of something other than vinyl, then contract wallcoverings will have automatically been tested by the supplier.

Does this product meet the marine fire regulations? Not all products are tested to marine regulations, and designers will ask if a product is ‘marine rated’. This is a different test to normal fire tests.

Does this product meet LRV’s (Light Reflectance Value) regulations? A wallcovering’s design/colour suitability for use with other finishes, important in health care and public buildings. It’s information that a designer will ask, and it is specific to each SKU.

Box out:

The Standards:

BS 476

BS/EN 233:2016

BS/EN 234:1997

BS/EN 259:2001

BS/EN 266:1992

BS 3046:1981.

BS/EN 13300:2001

Directive 2004/42/EC

BS/EN 717-1:2004

BS EN 13999-2:2013

BS EN 13999-3:2007+A1:2009

BS EN 13999-4:2007+A1:2009

BS/EN 12149:1998

BS/EN ISO 11890-2:2013

To get a better understanding of what these standards mean, click here