Contact paper is highly water-resistant, but in most cases is not fully waterproof.
The thing about contact paper is that it is a water repellent.
It will happily fend off water for a long time but will eventually succumb to it.
It Is A Water Resistant Material
Most contact paper is not considered fully waterproof because if you were to drop it into a buckey of water and leave it for a long time, eventually it would warp, or become damaged, or become unfit for purpose.
Some say that this sort of test is unfair because the water penetrates from the edges.
The argument is that if somebody were to cut a meter of contact paper, and then put an egg cup full of water in the dead centre, so that the water never touched the edges, then the contact paper would never become damaged.
However, this is not 100% true.
Some people use contact paper in bathrooms, and they will attest that the hot water and the humidity will eventually affect all of the contact paper and not just the edges.
If the metre of contact paper had an egg cup of heated water put into the centre, it would evaporate before causing damage to the contact paper.
As mentioned, it is highly water-resistant.
But the fact is that if you were to keep replacing the water over a long time, then the contact paper would eventually warp in the area where the water was laid.
Why is Contact Paper Water Resistant?
It is water-resistant and water repellent.
This means that it is good at resisting the chemical and solvent properties of water, but it is also good at helping water bead up and go away, and/or gather and evaporate.
Contact paper is often made from synthetic materials, and such materials are almost always waterproof.
However, the problem with contact paper is that it is made of vinyl and PVC, and these materials do wear and age in a way that makes them less water-resistant.
Can You Use Contact Paper in the Bathroom?
You can safely use contact paper in your bathroom however there are some things you must be aware of if you do:
- The better the installation is, then the longer the contact paper will last. This means it will resist water, even hot water, for far longer if it is installed and laid correctly and well.
- The edges need to be protected and professionally sealed. Any mistakes or poor installation will leave holes and rough areas where water and especially humidity, will enter and damage your contact paper.
- Damage to the contact paper itself can dramatically lower the lifespan of your contact paper. In places like a bathroom or a kitchen, there is a high chance of contact with hot water and with hot humid air. Contact paper is so water-resistant that it can handle these quite fine for years, but if there is damage, even a few small holes, then the water and humidity gets in and causes problems.
- Be aware that water is not always the problem. Sometimes, the problems you experience are bacterial or chemical. For example cleaning products may get caught in the areas where there is damage, which reduces the lifespan of the contact paper. Or, in the case of bathrooms, damaged or wrinkled areas experience mould, and the mould lets off chemicals that slowly dissolve the vinyl.