Wallpaper vs natural stone veneers – Choosing the best cladding option

Wallpaper vs natural stone veneers – Choosing the best cladding option

If you’re on the lookout for a good cladding option for your feature wall or bedroom, no doubt you would’ve come across one of the most common options which has a loyal following since the beginning of cladding applications. That is, of course, wallpaper. While wallpaper certainly has many benefits, it’s also not without its own weakness, so let’s take a look at whether the pros outweigh the cons, & whether there is a better option that is highly underrated, yet taking the construction industry by surprise for its durability, elegance & ease of installation.

What is wallpaper?

Wallpaper is generally defined as decorative coatings that cover the surface of interior walls. It’s usually & most commonly applied to walls in commercial or residential properties. Wallpaper has been used to decorate interior spaces/interior walls since the renaissance, especially using the woodcut technique of “wood cutting” in printing. While both Britain & France take pride in pioneering the production of what’s known as European wallpapers, the origins of wallpaper is generally attributed to ancient China, since the Chinese covered their walls with rice stalk paper at least 200 years BC. However, modern wallpaper, unlike this ancient material, is changing in terms of production process, design & material as well.

With this in mind, let’s now have a look at the advantages in using wallpaper on the walls of your commercial or residential project.

Advantages of using wallpaper

• Versatility – Since there’s a number of different patterns, colours & textures to select from, wallpapers can be used for a variety of different looks. Whether it’s bold, graphic prints, or subtle, textured designs, wallpapers are sure to match any atmosphere

• Durability – Good quality wallpapers is made to last, & includes different options that are meant to endure wear & tear, fading & even staining. This also means that it’s a cost-effective option in the long term, since you won’t have to replace it as frequently as other cladding options

• Ease of installation – Generally, wallpaper is easy & efficient to install, even though it does require some skill & experience. There are also many different tutorials that are available online to help DIY enthusiasts in the installation process

• Covering imperfections – From covering cracks or uneven surfaces, wallpaper can be used to subtle cover up imperfections in walls & ceilings. It can even go as far as to cover up other design flaws, including unattractive architectural features or awkward room layouts

• Ease of maintenance – Since most wallpaper options are able to withstand regular cleaning & even mild moisture exposure, wallpaper is generally easy to clean & maintain. Therefore, it makes it a rather easy choice for even spaces like bathrooms or kitchens, where moisture & humidity are easily found

• Personality – Wallpaper can contribute to the personality & the style of any space, whether commercial or residential. You can use a bold print to make a statement, or a subtle texture that adds to the depth & interest, & thereby make that space feel unique to you

Since we’ve covered most of the critical advantages of using wallpaper, let’s also have a look at the disadvantages of using wallpaper.

Disadvantages of using wallpaper

• Complications in removal – Wallpaper is especially known to be difficult to remove, especially in cases whether it’s been applied for a long time or in multiple layers. In addition, removing wallpaper may require specialized tools such as a scraper or a steamer, & can hence be a time-consuming process

• High risk of damage – Wallpaper is also known to be easily damaged, especially if used in areas that are prone to moisture such as bathrooms or kitchens, or even in high-traffic areas. Water damage, tears & scratches can all contribute to changing the original appearance of the wallpaper

• Good lifespan with a limit – While wallpaper has a relatively long lifespan, it may need to be replaced more frequently than some other durable cladding options.

• Cost – Depending on whether you choose to use a high-end or designer option wallpaper, they can be a relatively expensive choice as well, especially considering the durability & how prone to damage they are. If you’re not a DIY enthusiast, you’ll have to hire a professional to install the wallpaper, which adds to this cost further

• Limitations in design flexibility – Even though there are a variety of different wallpaper designs available at your disposal, once you’ve made your selection, you’re limited in terms of changing the design or colour scheme of your room

Now that we’ve learned both the advantages & disadvantages of using wallpaper, shall we have a look at a more durable, elegant, weather-resistant option that’s also easy to install on any surface with a limitless number of applications? Let’s talk about natural stone veneers.

What are natural stone veneers?

Natural stone veneers are sustainably extracted with a minimum carbon footprint from 100% natural metamorphic rock. It results in a thin layer of stone which is attached to a backing, which is most commonly fiberglass, but could also be fabric or translucent.

This backing, with the thinness of the stone layer (1.5 mm to 2.0 mm) gives not only tremendous durability, but also ensures a light-weight & easy to install stone veneer. The stone surface provides natural water & heat resistant, which means that it can be installed both indoors & outdoors.

Natural stone veneers can be installed on top of any substrate, including glass, tiles, cement, wood, brick & render. From floors to walls & ceilings, applications are only limited by your creativity, with the most common applications being splashbacks, feature walls, fireplaces, bathrooms, bedrooms, & furniture. For anyone who’s interest in DIY products, you can be sure that this is the best stone product that you can install on your own, with a few household tools & easily available adhesives & sealants.

Pros of using flexible stone veneers

1. Durability
The stone surface speaks for itself. Since the surface of the veneer is natural stone, it’s durable & resistant to extreme weather conditions, whether scorching hot or freezing cold. This is the main reason that it can be installed outdoors. Unlike so many other cladding options, the stone surface is also resistant to scratching & chipping, & with the proper installation & maintenance, it’s bound to last a lifetime.

2. Ease of installation
Unlike most cladding options, flexible stone veneers are extremely light-weight, only being around 1.5 kilos per standard sheet. That, combined with the thinness, contributes to ease of installation, to the point where the product is DIY. No need for special equipment or an installation team, just an angle grinder to cut the sheets, a PU adhesive to paste it, & finally a penetrative sealant on top of the surface. You’ll not only save up on labour cost, but also, it’ll be something fun for you to look forward to do in the weekend, especially if you’re a DIY enthusiast!

3. Versatility of application
Natural stone veneers can be installed on both indoor & outdoor surfaces, but that’s not the best part – seeing that it can endure extreme weather conditions as well as be installed on top of any kind of substrate, applications are limitless for your home renovation or building construction project, from indoor & outdoor floors to walls & even ceilings. Common applications that’s popular include splashbacks, feature walls, fireplace exteriors & even furniture! It’s also a beautiful product to install on your cabinetry, bathrooms & bedrooms.

4. Water & heat resistance
Natural stone veneers are naturally water & heat resistant, since the surface is natural stone. So, you can install it in places where water & heat resistance is an absolute necessity, including outdoors.

5. Visual appeal
Natural stone veneers have an elegant look, whether it’s installed indoors or outdoors. The natural stone surface is unique in appearance & since each sheet is unique from the other, it creates a theme of its own.

6. Low maintenance
Once a penetrative sealant is applied on the stone surface after installation, it’ll preserve the surface & the most basic dust & day to day dirt can be easily cleaned with water.

7. Lightweight
Unlike other cladding options, the natural stone veneer is an extremely thin slice of rock, weighing only around 1.5 kilos per standard sheet, so it’s the perfect solution when you want an elegant stone appearance, without the weight & difficulty in installation. It’s also perfect for installation on structures that are unable to bear heavy weights.

8. Affordability
Compared with other cladding options & considering the advantages it offers, natural stone veneers are affordable. Not only saving up on the labour cost if you do it on your own, but each sheet is extremely cost effective for the benefits & unique stone look it offers.


It’s without doubt that wallpaper has its own uses, but compared with natural stone veneers, let’s have a look at where you would rather use the natural stone veneer, shall we?

Area with high level of traffic or moisture – Let’s face it, the natural water & heat resistant stone veneer is ideal to use in an area with high level of traffic or moisture such as bathrooms or splashback applications rather than wallpaper
Area where you anticipate damages – Wallpapers, while being durable for most situations, can tend to tear or rip, & it goes without saying the natural stone veneers cannot be easily damaged
Areas where you need a unique look – Wallpaper, while being unique in its own way, doesn’t have the same class or elegance that natural stone veneer has
Outdoors – If you’re planning an installation outdoors, the extreme weather resistant stone surface of the natural stone veneers is a much better choice than wallpapers
If you’re planning on doing many different types of applications – Unlike wallpaper, the applications of natural stone veneers are almost limitless – you can install it both outdoors & indoors, on walls, floors & ceilings

To conclude, natural stone veneers are certainly an option that you should look into if you’re looking at cladding options, definitely if you’ve already considered wallpaper. From durability to versatility in application to ease of installation, natural stone veneers are certainly revolutionizing the Australian construction industry, & with good reason!

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