Type II ( pronounced as "type two") is a terminology to define a certain class of wallcovering. There is also a TYPE I, and even a TYPE III.
At a very basic level, the purpose of these classifications is to equate wallcovering products with varying levels of durability and safety. These TYPE standards were created and are maintained by the Wallcovering Association.
TYPE 1 represents lighter weight products, most commonly found in residential use where heavy traffic is not expected. Most often associated with product weighing in a range of 12 to 15 ounces per 54" linear yard.
TYPE 2 represents mid to heavyweight products, typically thicker and more durable, most commonly used in commercial projects. Defined to weigh 20 ounces per 54" linear yard.
TYPE 3 represents very heavy and thick products. This class is not nearly as common, and in today's market can be difficult to find.
So what does TYPE 2 mean then?
The exact definition has changed throughout the years. Luckily there is a recognized governing body who maintains these standards, called the WA or Wallcovering Association. Recently the WA published a new definition of TYPE 2 called the WA-101. Along with the new definition is a Sustainability Standard called the NSF-342. DreamScape products follow these modern standards.
More information on WA-101 and the NSF-342 can be found here.
Contained within the WA-101 is a large list of tests. There are several durability tests, such as scrub, tear, and stain. There is also a safety component which limits the flammability of the product as well as limits the amount of smoke which should be released during a fire.
TYPE 2 products are also defined as "polymer" based, and have a weight requirement of 20 ounces per 54" linear yard.
Why do some products in the digital market claim to be TYPE 2 when they are underweight?
Some very old standards did not define weight. Some companies outside the wallcovering industry could be unaware of the WA-101 modern definition. And perhaps some are trying to take advantage of misinformation.
What about digital inks? I have been told that digital prints can't pass TYPE 2 without a protective coating?
The answer here unfortunately is - it depends... DreamScape tests and warrants that our TYPE 2 products will meet or exceed the standards set forth in the WA-101 and NSF-342. Because there are several dozen major inkjet printer manufacturers, and several dozen more 3rd party ink companies, it is impractical for a media manufacturer to test all materials in combination with all of the different machines / inks. For this reason our warranty is based on the suitability of the base wallcovering material that we sell.
Going beyond our standard warranty, Dreamscape has tested several well known OEM digital printing systems to see how they perform. We have found some that can pass, and some that do not. Not all digital inks are the same. Some have better durability characteristics than others. And even the most durable inks can vary from job to job depending on the type of print, amount of ink used, level of curing, texture of surface, etc. The ability to pass depends on many factors. If you are uncertain and are required to provide a commercial product for high traffic areas, the safe play would be to use a liquid coating, such as our DreamGuard.
But I have seen marketing from a company that claims their product is the only TYPE 2 for digital without a topcoat?
This is misleading marketing and untrue. They are not the ONLY, and they are not the first. DreamScape technical has conducted many tests throughout the years and can refute this claim quite easily with passing results from our own products.
What can I do to find out if my digital system is producing wallcovering that will pass TYPE 2?
The battery of tests involved in WA-101 is time consuming, rigorous, and very expensive. Very few digital printing companies have gone to the added expense of testing their own products. If you require test results for your business you should contact Dreamscape tech support to discuss some available options.