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Relevant standards. CFFA, the Federal Supply Service of the General Services Administration and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) have established manufacturing and performance standards and specifications for vinyl wallcoverings.

CFFA has defined quality standards for commercial and institutional vinyl coated fabric wallcoverings. Wallcoverings are classified by ounces per square yard or ounces per linear yard (54" wide). Minimum weights are as follows:

  • Type I - Light duty: Generally produced on a scrim or nonwoven backing. Minimum weight is 7 oz. per square yard (10-1/2 oz. per linear yard for 54" wide).
  • Type II - Medium duty: Minimum weight is 13 oz. per square yard (19-1/2 oz. per linear yard for 54" wide). Backing is Osnaburg, drill or nonwoven fabric.
  • Type III - Heavy duty: Usually produced on a drill fabric backing. Minimum weight is 22 oz. per square yard (33 oz. per linear yard for 54" wide).

Federal specifications (FS CCC-W-408D) define these categories by strength, not weight.

In addition, ASTM has defined standard classifications of wallcoverings by durability characteristics. There are six types described by this specification, defining minimum standards for such performance issues as colorfastness, washability, scrubbability, abrasion resistance, tensile strength, crocking resistance and tear resistance.

Code information. Wallcoverings are classified by flame spread and smoke development based on ASTM E 84 Steiner Tunnel tests or NFPA 286, using the corner burn test. Code bodies include:

Several independent third-party testing labs have established labeling programs for wallcoverings that serve as a control program. These measure characteristics of the construction such as vinyl weight, fabric weight, adhesive application weight, coating adhesion and tensile strength of the product. In addition, independent laboratories have established file descriptions on the fire test performance of a product, which includes certain physical tests, a description of the vinyl formulation and the fabric backing, and an appropriate classification as to flame spread and smoke developed.