Contract wallcovering is any type of commercial vinyl used in commercial spaces. It will either be Type I 15 oz. goods or Type II 20 oz. goods.
Corporate, healthcare, and hospitality areas can't use regular wallpaper that you would hang in your living room. Even heavyweight solid vinyl wallpaper would get scratched and torn to shreds within a matter of weeks (or even days) due to too much wear and tear from high traffic. Just take a hotel lobby for instance – can you imagine all the suitcases, bellhop carts and hundreds of travelers bumping against the wall every day!
The only thing that could take that type of beating is a commercial grade wallcovering that is specifically made to withstand it.
In the industry, we shorten the name to just “contract wallcovering” because usually commercial general painting contractors or sub-contracting painting companies hang it. It's a word they readily understand.
In the wallcovering industry, saying something is contract means its commercial grade quality. It’s a quick and easy way for a person who is looking for commercial grade wallpaper to realize that they are in the right place and not browsing residential patterns by accident.