Wallpaper vs paint: What is better?

Wednesday January 10 2018


By Roland D. Nasasira

A while ago, wall paint finishing was the ideal choice for many homes. Of late, wallpaper has come in as a much sought after interior wall finishing.
Although wallpaper is attractive depending on the material used, Daniel Sempijja who completed his house in 2016 says he chose to use ordinary paint because of the ease with which paint is cleaned.
“I used water paint because it is very ease to clean. I made sure that my builders followed all the necessary steps to have paint that lasts longer without the need to renovate or repaint. If there is a need to repaint, it would have to take place after so many years,” Sempijja says.
“I was also advised by the paint dealer on the kind of paint to use in each of the rooms. The dealer’s reasoning was that paint that is applied in the children’s room or the kitchen cannot be the same as that used in the living room or bathroom,” he adds.

Amon Atuhaire, an independent painter and builder, agrees that the choice between ordinary paint and wallpaper is determined by the location or position in the house. This, he adds, is in most cases also determined by one’s financial ability. He says although wallpaper is somewhat durable, it has its disadvantages.
“It is not suitable for places such as the kitchen that are exposed to high temperatures from different sources on a daily basis. With time, the heat detaches the wallpaper and also makes it lose its initial colour,” says Atuhaire, adding: “When the wallpaper loses its initial colour, it becomes hard, if not impossible to replace.

In most cases, you will have to dig deep into your pockets to completely renovate the room.”
Unlike wallpaper, Atuhaire says the main benefit that paint has over wallpaper is that when you error in the painting process, the error can be corrected by playing around with different colours to get the desired colour. With wallpaper, however, it may take a lot more work and money to have the mistake corrected. Also, when your home has more traffic, he says the paint market has provisions of choosing those that can be washed clean irrespective of the kind of dirt on the wall.

According to ratedpeople, an online portal, if you do decide to use wallpaper in a bathroom, it is best to add a tiled splash-back above the sink to protect it from splashes. A safer option is to tile the lower half of the wall and the top half where it is less likely to get splashed, but if you do decide to go all out make sure you do not paper too close to the bath and bear in mind that you will need to re-decorate every couple of years to keep that high-quality finish.
The portal also says the revival has meant there are now endless shades, patterns and textures available on the high street. Developments in digital printing have reduced the cost of bespoke designs too, with custom images now available as wallpaper.
Whether you choose wallpaper or paint, you get what you pay for with the cheaper options tending not to stand the test of time.

Similar to paint, cheap wallpaper is a disadvantage. It is thin and more prone to damage. In some cases if your walls are not in good enough condition to paint (without being re-plastered), good quality, thick wallpaper will cover defects in the walls cheaper than the cost of plastering and paint and without the hassle and the mess involved.