Pre-glued glass fiber textile offers increased labor and time savings. Instead of applying glue to the wall and then hanging the fabric, the material has a backing of water-activated adhesive that is factory-applied. One manufacturer even offers a wetting station that mounts a fabric roll and dips the fabric in a water bath as it is being unrolled. Once wetted, the adhesive is immediately ready, and the fabric can be applied to wall as soon as it is cut. The adhesive allows repositioning, like adhesives used with unglued materials. The adhesive has a working time of approximately 30 minutes. If the sheet is not hung soon after wetting and the adhesive dries out, it can be rewetted once. The glass textile is ready for paint when it is dry, usually six to eight hours.
To eliminate visible seams between sheets of fabric, adjacent sheets can either be butt-joined, or overlapped and double cut. The fabric takes well to a simple butt-joint, and it does not shrink, so the seams stay closed. Adjacent sheets can also be overlapped by 51 mm (2 in.) and then trimmed through both layers to get an exact edge-match. Fleeces can be trimmed with a straight vertical cut from ceiling to floor using a sharp knife, with care to not cut into the surface of the drywall. For woven fabrics, a wavy cut helps blend the two sheets of fabric and eliminate a visible joint. The trimmed edge is removed from the top layer, and the trimmed edge of the layer underneath is slipped out from behind, so the fabric can be smoothed down to adhere to the wall, leaving a seamless appearance. Any adhesive on the front of the fabric can be wiped off with a damp rag.
Decorative and performance options
In addition to non-woven glass fleece, glass fiber textile is also made in a broad variety of woven patterns that produce textured walls, as opposed to purely flat surfaces. It is an upgrade that incurs a moderate increase in material cost. Application is the same as non-woven fabrics. A broad range of woven textured fabrics are also available pre-glued.
There are decorative weaves that feature a textile look, as well as geometric patterns. Irregular patterns and even custom graphics (such as corporate logos) can also be woven in thanks to computer-controlled jacquard weaving machines. Non-woven fabrics are also imprinted with sand to produce irregularly textured surfaces, geometric patterns, and even large, repeating designs.
Fabrics designed with specialized performance properties offer abuse resistance, acoustic and thermal insulation, fire resistance, or magnetic walls. Extra heavy fabrics, often labeled as renovation materials, are made to conceal damaged or uneven substrate walls. Woven and non-woven glass fiber textiles can be used on a variety of substrates, not just drywall. Block walls or plaster are also compatible or can be prepared economically to take a smooth fabric finish. Fabrics designed for renovations can even conceal existing tile walls.
Once fabric is applied, the wall is ready to paint or paper. There are no additional layers to apply, no sanding needed. Where a Level 5 drywall finish typically requires several days of repeated coating and sanding, a glass fiber textile finish dramatically reduces time between hanging the drywall and painting. A typical production rate for drywall finishing is 3 m2 (30 sf) per labor hour. Glass fiber textile with pre-glued backing raises it to approximately 28 m2 (300 sf) per labor hour. This can dramatically reduce the number of days the job takes.
Since glass fiber textile does not need to be sanded, it is a dustless application. Joint compound finishing produces significant dust during sanding, and generally makes it incompatible with other trades working in the same space, so all other work is delayed. A fabric finish bypasses these delays and makes the task far easier to coordinate with other trades. Faster application and greater compatibility with other trades can have an accelerating effect on construction and renovation schedules, a significant benefit to the owner. The property is ready to be occupied (and producing income) more quickly, and a number of time-related construction costs (e.g. insurance, interest) are reduced.