Vinyl Wrap: Common Installation Mistakes

There are multiple factors that affect the quality of vinyl wrap installation and ultimately the appearance of your vehicle. In this blog post we are discussing few of the most common Vinyl Wraps installation mistakes, and how to avoid them. 

Lack of Proper Cleaning

a car is being washed to avoid vinyl wrapping mistakes

Lack of proper cleaning is one of the first and most common installation mistakes. The surface of the car must be thoroughly cleaned and degreased prior to wrapping. Vinyl wrap doesn’t stick to dirt, so leaving some areas of the car dirty is a recipe for vinyl lifting off the surface. Most commonly, this can be seen around the edges of panels and in wheel wells. Vinyl film will also tent over dirt particles left on the vehicle, making your wrap look bumpy. Some of the issues primarily caused by insufficient cleaning are:

– Vinyl film lifting off the surface of the car

– Bubbles

– Wrap failing on edges of panels

– Debris underneath the vinyl

How to avoid:

It is very important to wrap a car in a clean and controlled environment. Make sure the shop is free of dirt and dust prior to beginning of installation. Thorough wash of the entire car will minimize contamination during the installation. A multistage washing process of the vehicle and cleanliness of work area are the two key factors for a perfect wrap

Wrinkly Corners

perfectly finished corners of a car vinyl wrapWrinkly corners is the mistake that makes any wrap look cheap and unprofessional. Proper vinyl wrap has to look like the car is painted, and corners always give away a cheap wrap. Being one of the most difficult parts to wrap, corners always give away the skill set of the installer. Vinyl wrap film that is available today allows a skillful installer to deliver a paint-like quality, so there is no excuses for wrinkles anywhere on your wrap. 

How to avoid:

The best way to ensure a perfect corners wrap is to go with an experienced and trained installer. Experienced installer will be able to handle different kinds of materials and will possess a large variety of installation techniques and tricks to ensure corners are wrapped perfectly. Work of inexperienced installer is quite obvious, especially up close and in detail.

Overstretch

Overstretch is another common installation mistake. It happens when the piece of vinyl cut for a specific part of the car ends up being too small, and the installer has to then stretch the material in order too make it fit. When the material is overstretched, there is a risk of it lifting off the surface of your car, since the adhesive gets thinned out in the process, making the vinyl less sticky. Overstretched areas may also be in a lot of tension, which leads to film failing, especially on edges and corners. Overstretch also makes the vinyl look thinner, and affects the appearance of your wrap. Seeing discoloured, shiny spots on a wrap is a sign of material overstretch. It is especially noticeable in patterned wraps, like carbon fibre for example, when you can clearly see the material was overstretched because the pattern is distorted. 

How to avoid: 

The best way to avoid overstretch is to make correct measurements of the vehicle before it is wrapped. Doing that will allow to ensure you have enough material for each part, which will help avoid overstretching. 

Not Following the Direction of Directional Wraps

Not all vinyl wraps are installed the same way. Some wrapping films are directional, and require a special installation approach. Those films change shade and colour depending on which angle you look at it. This means that these films must be installed unidirectionally on the car, otherwise panel will be mismatching in colour. This is especially obvious on colourflow/colourflip wraps, where the direction of the film affect the hue of colour most noticeably. 

How to avoid:

You have to pay special attention to the direction of the colour prior to cutting pieces of vinyl for the wrap. Don’t just cut pieces of vinyl and stick them on.  

Seams

You can sometimes see wrapped cars that looked nice from the distance, but as you approach you realize that front bumper is wrapped in 6 pieces of vinyl. Although not exactly a mistake, seams can really ruin the appearance of your wrap. If there is a seam on the car, it definitely doesn’t look like paint. Seams make your car look cheaper, and in a way the wrap looks like a DIY project. We stand behind seamless wraps, and only use them when it’s absolutely necessary to ensure a proper longevity of a wrap.

How to avoid:

In scenarios where seams are needed, an experienced installer will attempt to hide all seams from the plain sight. This can be done by placing seams exactly on existing body lines of the car. It is a meticulous process that requires both skill and patience.

Lack of Post Installation Procedures

Last but not least, after the installation is complete it is important to perform 2 procedures necessary to ensure the longevity and execution of the wrap. Post heating and proper curing time. Post heating is a process of warming material up to a certain temperature to “kill” the memory of the film and seal it better. This is especially important on panel edges, corners and seams. Proper curing time allows a wrap to fully adhere to the surface of the car, curing it in place and allowing you to avoid lifting and bubbles. 

We hope that this blog post will help you to avoid the most common Vinyl Wraps Installation Mistakes!

How is Vinyl Wrap job priced

In this blog post we will attempt to explain the Vinyl Wrap price range that you can see when getting quotes from different places to get your car wrapped. The following factors are considered when the quote is being created. 

Material

One of the components of price for your vinyl wrap job is material. It accounts for about 20-30% of the total price of a wrap job (for high quality premium materials). That said, it is important to know what kind of material a wrap shop is using for your projects. One of the practices used by some shops is working with low quality vinyl material in order to increase profit margins.

Cheap vinyl brands often use water-based adhesive. This adhesive bonds extremely well to the surface of the car, and that results in extremely labour intensive removal process. Most of adhesive stays on the car and requires a ton of work to remove it. Sometimes, vinyl wrap film with this adhesive can even pull off paint during the removal. This results in car having to undergo a costly restoration process. By saving money upfront, you are risking to spend a lot more later.

Labour

Another way of being able to complete wrap jobs at a lower price point is to hire cheap labour. In vinyl wrapping industry there is a saying that goes: “Almost anyone can wrap a car that will look good for a day, but only some can deliver outstanding and long lasting results.” Vinyl wrappers without proper training are often not aware of proper cleaning, disassembly and wrapping procedures. As a result, there is a much higher chance of short lasting results and damage to the car. Wrinkles, bubbles, vinyl lifting due to overstretch or inadequate cleaning are all issues related to an unskilled wrapper. 

But the worst thing that can happen when you give your car into the hands of an unskilled wrapper is paint cuts. To lower labour costs further, shops can start cutting corners and skipping steps in procedures that are essential for completing a perfect wrap. Professional installers will have superior techniques and knowledge of the material that allows them to execute vinyl wrap projects with high quality and efficiency, without cutting the paint and breaking clips. 

Certification

Lots of professional high skilled installers constantly update and polish their wrapping skills by acquiring industry certifications. 3m and Avery offer courses that help installers to get better at what they do. Those courses provide installers with techniques necessary for completing an impeccable vinyl wrap job. Installers are investing a lot of time and money into their education, which results in a superior quality of jobs. Those jobs cannot be priced the same as jobs completed by someone who doesn’t possess the same level of knowledge and expertise. 

Shop

It’s always a good idea to take a look at the vinyl wrap shop before making a final decision. Cleanliness and organization are two major factors that affect the final result. It is typical for a cheap wrap shop to cut on costs of shop supplies. Certain risks that will compromise the quality of your wrap are associated with lack of proper tools, lack of heating and contamination control. Higher end wrap shops stand behind their work. Many offer a lifetime installation warranty that cover all installation related problems such as lifting, bubbles, etc.

The bottom line is, if you want it done professionally, it will cost more, but you can be sure your car is properly taken care of. We all have that one “friend who can do it cheaper”, but is it really worth it? 

How to Take Care of Your Vinyl Wrap?

One of the most frequently asked questions that we get after a wrap installation is complete is how to take care of your Vinyl Wrap. In order to extend the life and appearance of your vinyl wrap we have put together a set of Vinyl Wrap Care instructions for you to follow.

Pressure Wash

You can pressure wash your car, but make sure to take precautions. Do not bring spray nozzle too close to the surface of the car. Avoid using high pressure on edges, where panels meet and on seams.  We do not recommend using an automatic car wash that uses brushes. Brushes may scratch the wrap or catch the wrap’s edge and create a failure point.

Hand Wash

Hand Wash is ideal for a wrapped vehicle.It helps to get rid of dirt and any other residue. When washing your car please follow the below steps:

1) Pre rinse: Using a hose, rinse the whole wrap with clean water. This helps remove the loose dirt particles and helps avoid scratching the graphics.

2) Wash: Gently wash the vehicle with a mild soapy water solution using a soft cloth or a synthetic or natural sponge. Start from the top of the vehicle and work your way down. Avoid abrading the surface with unnecessary scrubbing.

3) Rinse: Rinse thoroughly with clean water.

4) Dry: Let the wrap dry naturally. To avoid water spotting, use a silicone squeegee to remove water, then finish drying with a microfibre or soft, nonabrasive towel.

Waterless Wash

If the vehicle is not overly dirty, this is the preferred method.  Waterless wash products can help maintain the gloss level and performance of the film. Before using any new product on your wrap, be sure to test them in an inconspicuous area of the vehicle. Contact us to purchase products to wash your wrap

Soap

Use a mild car cleaning detergent and water mix that does not contain any strong soluble substances, alcohol or abrasive components. The detergent should have a pH balance between 5 and 9.

Polishing

Vinyl films that we use at Aegis posses self-healing properties. When you apply heat to the surface of vinyl film, it will trigger the memory feature that will bring film into its original shape and tension. Light scratches can be self-healed by triggering the memory of vinyl film. You can use steamer or heat gun for that.  That said, you don’t need to polish your wrapped car.

Waxing

If your wrap is gloss, you can wax your car, as long as the wax does not contain petroleum distillates, which is found in many paste waxes. Products that are a combination of a waterless wash and wax are great options as long as the vehicle isn’t excessively dirty. Test the wax on an inconspicuous part of the vehicle first. Please note, you should not wax your wrap if it has a matte finish. 

Storage

It is optimal to park your car in covered parking spot (underground). Just like paint, vinyl is also affected by UV rays and its colour will slowly fade if car is often exposed to prolonged and direct sunlight. Negative effect of UV light can be minimized with CeramicPro coating or PPF.

PPF and Ceramic Pro

Both PPF and CeramicPro can be installed over a wrap. These products work great together with vinyl wrap. While vinyl wrap protects the paint of the car, PPF and/or CeramicPro will be protecting vinyl from the environment. CeramicPro will help protect vinyl from elements, acid, water stains, bird droppings etc. It will also make the wrap much easier to clean and maintain. CeramicPro cuts washing time in half, allowing you to forget about waxing the car. PPF will add extra resistance against physical impacts such as rockchips, scratches and shopping carts.

We hope you fined these Vinyl Wrap Care Instructions helpful, and your wrap stays looking brand new for years to come!