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 Vinyl Decal Application and Care

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PostSubject: Vinyl Decal Application and Care   Vinyl Decal Application and Care I_icon_minitimeSeptember 18th 2009, 10:50 pm

All surfaces are contaminated to some degree. To ensure good adhesion to any vehicle surface it is critical that you follow these recommended procedures in decontaminating and preparing the surface prior to any vinyl product installation.  

1. Wash and rinse the area with liquid dish detergent and warm water. Then dry the vehicle surface with a clean, lint-free towel or cloth.

2. Finish up the cleaning process by wiping down the entire area with Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol). To avoid recontamination during the final cleaning step, wipe the surface in just one direction, using a clean, lint-free towel or cloth. You are now ready to apply the vinyl.

Surface temperatures should be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit before attempting the installation. As a general rule, if the surface is hot to the touch it's over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Adhesive becomes brittle when it gets too cold and gummy when it gets too hot. Applications outside the recommended range of 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit reduce the adhesives' ability to perform.

Application Procedures:

You can choose to apply vinyl in one of two ways; dry or wet. Applying vinyl graphics dry does not allow for any mistakes. Once the vinyl touches the surface, there is no removal without damage. 
However, applying vinyl graphics with application spray allows you the opportunity to remove and reposition vinyl as needed for up to several minutes. For obvious reasons, this method is recommended for both beginners and experts. To apply using the application spray, spray the surface thoroughly. Then lay the vinyl on a flat surface and spray the adhesive side as you remove the backing. An extra set of hands is a good idea. Then simply apply the vinyl to the surface.

Do not excessively stretch vinyl during the application. This is the main cause of end lift. Pull the vinyl only as taut as necessary to keep a straight line. Because vinyl is a pressure-sensitive product, a squeegee should be used for all installations. The purpose of using a squeegee is to remove the excess fluid and or air from behind the vinyl. You should always start the squeegee from the middle and either use a straight up or down motion. Allow the vinyl to set for 5 to 15 minutes.

When removing the application tape, always pull it slowly, back onto itself, at a 180-degree angle. Bubbles should be punctured using a pin. Do not slit the vinyl to release the air. If the vinyl is slit it will spread or gap. The cutting or trimming of any stripe or graphic should be done using a very sharp knife and very little pressure.

  • Wash vinyl graphics with plain soap, water, or any car wash detergent
  • Keep high pressure nozzles at least 1.5 feet from the edge of the graphics. High pressure spray can cause the edge of graphics to peel.
  • Test any cleaning solution on a small section of the vinyl graphic before using
  • Be careful when using a snow scraper on vinyl window lettering.

  • Don't let gasoline or other fuels drip or stay on your vinyl graphics for any length of time. If a spill occurs, wipe off and rinse with water immediately.
  • Don't apply paint or clear coat over the vinyl graphics
  • Don't apply wax over graphics, especially if the wax contains any petroleum distillates. Wax that has dried along the edge of a graphic can be removed by softening it with rubbing alcohol and using cotton swabs.
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