When installing vinyl you will need to determine whether your intended surface is suitable, keep in mind that, as a general rule of thumb, vinyl will stick to almost any surface that is clean and either smooth or nonporous. For longevity, it is important that you apply the product to a suitable surface, one to which it will readily adhere.
The following lists contain a brief summary of acceptable surfaces along with some surfaces that are not.
STRONG ADHESION SURFACES
• Metals (Must be painted with a smooth, glossy enamel.)
• Vehicles (Must be painted with a smooth, glossy enamel.)
• Vinyl (Such as banners, canopies, flags, etc.)
• Fibreglass (Must be painted with a smooth, glossy enamel.)
• Wood (Must be painted with a smooth, glossy enamel.)
• Other painted Surfaces (Paint must be smooth and glossy, vinyl will not stick to oxidized, faded, or peeling paint)
POOR ADHESION SURFACES
• Raw timber
• Oxidized or faded paint
• Peeling paint
• Raw metals
• Oily surfaces
These lists are not comprehensive and there are other acceptable and unacceptable substrates than those listed above. Again, when in doubt, apply the rule that states:
“Vinyl will generally adhere well to smooth, glossy and clean surfaces. Rough, dull, peeling, porous or dirty surfaces, on the other hand, will likely not produce an acceptable vinyl application”.
A wet method or dry method application technique may be used. The method chosen should suit the size of the decorative feature to be applied and the complexity of the surface to be decorated. Dry application is the most reliable method.
This method of application produces very little initial adhesion. This allows the applicator to position the vinyl where required, avoiding air bubbles and folds.
The adhesion will gradually increase after several hours as the water evaporates. The final adhesion will be reached after 24 – 48 hours.
ADVANTAGES OF THE WET METHOD:
• Allows the vinyl to be applied to surfaces in high ambient temperatures (25-30°C).
• It makes it easier to apply large sections of vinyl on flat or slightly curved surfaces.
Prepare a solution of soapy water (one capful of detergent to 10 litres of water) and pour it into a spray bottle.
Use the spray bottle to wet the entire substrate surface (do not use a sponge or cloth as these can leave dust, fluff etc.).
Make sure the adhesive film is flat on the table. Pull the backing off it (and not the reverse) at an angle of 30°.
Place the marking film on the wet substrate surface. If the vinyl does not have any application tape on it, wet the entire surface of the film. This will make it easier to slide the plastic squeegee without scratching the vinyl.
Apply enough pressure to squeeze out any water trapped between the adhesive and the substrate surface.
Squeegee the last 10cm of the top edge working from the centre outwards, to the left and then the right.
Continue to squeegee horizontally, moving from the centre outwards with overlapping movements.
Check that no pockets of water have been trapped. If this is the case, squeegee from the centre to the edge in order to squeeze it out. Wipe the vinyl and the edges.
If the marking film is covered with application tape, pull it off at a steady speed, at a cleaving angle of 0 to 30°. It is advisable to wait between 30 and 90 minutes (depending on the ambient temperature) before removing the application tape. It should not be left in contact with the vinyl for more than 24 hours.
After these 30-90 minutes, squeegee the film again, paying particular attention to the edges.
Dry application is a safer application method because the marking film reaches its final adhesion quicker than using the wet application method.
The lowest application temperature for marking films on flat or slightly curved surfaces is 10°C.
Small surface areas (< 0.5 m²)
Place the application tape on top of the lettering or logo.
Postion the lettering or the logo WITHOUT REMOVING THE BACKING, using positioning tape at each end.
Position the lettering or the logo once again on the spot marked by the piece of positioning tape.
Squeegee quickly and firmly from the centre outwards in overlapping movements.
Pull the application tape off at a steady speed, at a cleaving angle of 0 to 30°. Prick any air bubbles (*) trapped between the vinyl and the substrate.
(*) In the event that “tiny bubbles” of air get trapped between the marking film and the substrate surface (bubbles have a diameter < 2mm), there is no need to do anything as they will disappear after a few days due to the porosity of the vinyl.
If the bubbles are over 2mm in diameter, use the following procedure:
1. Try to collect the bubbles together without putting the vinyl out of shape.
2. Prick the bubble at one end.
3. Pushing from the side opposite the opening, squeeze the air out through the opening.
Large flat surfaces (> 1 m²) : hinge method
For surfaces of this kind, it is absolutely essential to apply application tape to the lettering or logo. Position the lettering or logo WITHOUT REMOVING THE BACKING using a piece of positioning tape at each end.
Cut the positioning tape.
Fold one half on top of the other.
Remove and cut the backing as far as the hinge.
Fold the hinge back making sure that you leave a space between the vinyl and the substrate surface (angle of ± 20°) in order to avoid it sticking too soon.
Repeat the same set of actions for the other section of the lettering or logo.
Remove the application tape at a steady speed, at a cleaving angle of between 0 and 30°.
Prick any air bubbles trapped between the vinyl and the substrate and squeegee once more.
VINYL REMOVAL INSTRUCTIONS
In most instances, it is possible to remove vinyl lettering with no residual damage to the applied surface. While this is typically the case, different substrate materials can react in different ways, so if you’re unsure of the resulting reaction, it’s important to test an inconspicuous area of your surface before applying the following techniques to the entire area. The up-side is that most surfaces, including vehicles, respond well to the vinyl removal technique outlined below, with no resulting damage to the surface.
(Note: When working with decals that have been in place for a significant length of time, there is the slight possibility that the paint around the decal will appear discoloured or faded upon removal. Usually this only occurs in cases where the decal has been exposed to the sun for extreme periods of time. This significant sun exposure will result in a tan line effect on the surface, whereby the unexposed area under the decals will appear nice and shiny next to the faded, exposed surface.)
In the case of an old wooden sign, where the paint is already chipped and peeling, it is important to keep in mind that the paint will most likely peel off with the vinyl letters when you remove them.
The following step-by-step instructions provide a good basic plan for removing old vinyl decals, stripes and letters.
1. Heat the surface of the decal with a heat gun. Then scrape the vinyl from the surface. See Fig. 1 (Note: if the vinyl is old and brittle, it will most likely come off in small pieces. If the vinyl is not that old you may be able to pull it off in bigger chunks.)
At this point, you are done. If you intend to apply new vinyl to the surface, be sure to clean it thoroughly, then wipe it down with alcohol to ensure that none of the adhesive remover is left on the surface.
As always, if you need any further help or information, then please do not hesitate to contact our support team on: 0115 975 6056.