What is a car wrap or a vinyl wrap?
You’ve probably heard about vehicle wraps. So what are they? Well…big sheets of durable vinyl. The vinyl is a polyurethane film made strong and elastic with polyvinylchloride (PVC), plasticizers, and additives that create heat stability and UV protection.
The Vinyl films made yesterday have come a long way. Understanding the proper film that should be used and why, is important when choosing where to get your car wrapped. If you want a quality lasting wrap that crack, bubble, die before it’s, and has ease in removability, then you at least at want to make sure that you start with the right vinyl type.
There are two main types of vinyl films that we will discuss, and really only one is used for vehicle wraps. Cast Vinyl and Calendered vinyl. They are both vinyl – so what’s the difference?
Calendered vinyl is a thicker more aggressive adhesive, which may make it easier to work with, but also less forgiving. It is best used on specific projects. Being that calendered vinyl is a thicker film material, it has a higher shrinkage percentage, meaning that when applied the film will pull back or shrink a little. This may not be an issue for certain surface, but it can create bubbling and lifting if applied on surfaces with more shape and curves…ahem – a vehicle. It is great for flat surfaces and certain jobs, but not recommended for autos. Calendered vinyl is also quite a bit cheaper to make than cast vinyl is, so therefore cheaper to purchase. There are many shops that will use calendered vinyl and price a vehicle wrap for a lot cheaper, and you will experience it in a falling apart wrap. Don’t be fooled by the price…it ends up showing through in the end product and you will pay more to fix it.
Cast Vinyl is a less aggressive, more conformable vinyl film that should be what is used in a vehicle wrap.This type of vinyl is best used on complex surfaces including vehicles, boats, Semis, and projects that need conformability, the ability to reposition the film, and the ease of removing the film. It is a lot thinner and has excellent properties for the absorption of color pigments. It can be made extremely thin, which allows for application over contours, complex angles, and edges. Cast vinyl becomes the new natural skin of the vehicle.The thinness of the film provides a more natural, paint like outcome.
Now not all cast vinyl or calendered vinyl films are created equal. The quality of the raw materials that go into either of the films matter. There are top manufacturers that have developed proprietary blends of vinyl adhesives with specific qualities for vehicles – heat stability, UV protection, drying time, etc. These top manufacturers such as 3M, Avery, and Oracle, also provide warranties on their films. Knock off films are not created the same and can result in a poor quality vehicle wrap.
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