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Epic Battle: Wall Vinyl VS Paint

If there is one question that seems to come up on every hotel renovation project, it's wall vinyl VS paint. We deal with a lot of property improvement plans (PIPs) that are now leaving it up to the owner to paint or install wall vinyl in guest rooms and public spaces. This is a dramatic change in the last five years as painting becomes more accepted in hospitality design. We will breakdown the pros, cons and cost considerations below of both paint and wall vinyl.

From Vinyl to Paint:

When a hotel goes from wall vinyl to paint these are the steps needed:

-Vinyl is removed

-The area is protected for spraying materials

-The wall area is prepped for texture

-The wall area is then textured

-The wall area is primed and painted


Pros of Painting:

Easy to be touched up by maintenance staff

Now that the walls are textured and painted, it's easier to have hotel staff touch-up areas as needed. It's important to consider what type of paint is used for touch-up purposes. Paints with less sheen typically touch-up better than a paint with a higher sheen. A higher sheen paint is often marketed for higher durability which is true but no paint will stop scuffs from luggage, housekeeping carts, etc. Overall there is less future maintenance cost as compared to wall vinyl which requires considerably more time and skill.

Less Expensive To Repair

It's often times easier to fix gouges on a textured and painted wall, instead of a wall that has wall vinyl. This is due to the fact that most textures can be matched with less skill level than vinyl installation. The paint color can also be matched, but if possible it's best to keep and store the same paint used.

Quick Delivery and Changes

Getting paint in quantity can take as little as a day, compared to 8-12 weeks for a custom wall vinyl. This can help if the project has a tight schedule to adhere to. The cost of material is often much less expensive if the paint is bought in large quantities. Changes can also be made quickly if the color looks different in person than on a paint chip or rendering.


Cons of Painting:

Higher Costs

When compared to the cost of wall vinyl installation painting is often times more expensive. This is due to the fact that painting is much more labor intensive than wall vinyl install. There is also more prep work involved in painting than in wall vinyl.

More Guest Impact

Paint can often times cause odors that can lead to guest complaints. The process often times takes longer than a wall vinyl install since there are more steps and trades involved. Overall it's a messier process that needs careful attention to detail during every step of the process.

Less Durable

This is debated by both paint companies and vinyl companies. The fact of the matter is that, wall vinyl has more mils than paint. Which means that it's a thicker product that can hold up to more traffic over time. Paint can achieve higher millage but only with multiple coats which is more costly.


Pros for Wall Vinyl:

Less Costly:

For wall vinyl you can usually have one trade complete the installation. Wall vinyl often times has less prep than painting. This saves on time and overall cost.

Less Guest Impact:

Wall vinyl can be installed often times without guests knowing. There is minimal noise with wall vinyl as compared to painting (texture machine noise, airless compressor, etc). The overall process is also cleaner, quicker and odorless.

More Durable

As stated before, wall vinyl has more mils than paint. When vinyl gets hit by luggage or a housekeeping cart it can withstand more before breaking. Wall vinyl is generally more water resistant than paint.

More Design Options

The reason why wall vinyl is still so popular today with designers is the sheer amount of options it gives you. Patterns, textures and gradient colors can all be achieved with wall vinyl.


Cons for Vinyl

More expensive FF&E cost

The cost for the material can be expensive depending on what is specified. It can also take over 12 weeks if it is a custom vinyl. Most wall vinyl mills do not stock vinyl and need to be run after a deposit is received.

Change Orders

Often times contractors have a set amount for wall vinyl installation. The problem is it is impossible to see what damage is underneath existing vinyl. As a result of this, change orders can occur and potentially be costly. Walls do not breathe well once wall vinyl is installed. Depending on the climate of where the hotel is located this can be a problem down the road due to mold. This is why so many hotels have painted walls in humid climates.

Vinyl Repair

We have all seen it in hotels we have visited, a big square patch of wall vinyl that looks out of place. This is due to either an unprofessional patch job and/or the dye-lot is off. Even if you have existing vinyl leftover the dye-lot can be different from one roll to the next. On top of this the already installed vinyl has been effected by time causing it to fade or discolor somewhat.



Hopefully you now have a better understanding of both the pros and cons of wall vinyl and painting for a hotel application. At the end of the day, what is the best choice? The truth is, that it really depends on your preference on schedule, budget, climate and guest consideration. If you want to save money on your budget and have more lead-time before the project starts, we would suggest going with a wall vinyl installation. If you want walls that are easier to repair and have a tight FF&E delivery schedule we would probably recommend going with a painting application. As always we are here to help, let us know if you have any questions.


About Triple Mint

Triple Mint is an award winning hotel renovation company with over 8,000 guest rooms renovated. We have 35 years of extensive experience in commercial renovations and our unique two-perspective approach to each and every project we’re able to mitigate many unforeseen costs that typically effect renovation budgets. Contact us today at 877-543-6468.

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