When it comes to customizing and protecting your vehicle, multiple options are available. Our shop specializes in Paint Protection Film Wraps and Vinyl Wraps, so we often receive multiple questions as to which wrap option is the best, and how the two compare. In this blog post we are aiming to answer one question, – what’s better, PPF or Vinyl Wrap? We are hoping to help you find the film that works best for your specific needs.
We would like to begin the comparison between the two by first explaining what PPF and Vinyl Wraps are.
What is PPF:
PPF, which stands for Paint Protection Film (also known as clearbra) is a virtually invisible, typically 8 mil thick self-healing urethane film which is applied to the surface of your vehicle. It offers superior impact protection, keeping the paint of your car safe from scuffs, scratches and rock chips. In addition to impact protection it also helps keep the paint of your car from negative effects of the environment, such as oil spills, bird droppings, and water marks. It also keeps your car safe from negative effects of the UV light, protecting the paint from fading.
What is Vinyl Wrap:
Vinyl wrap is a thin and flexible material, made out of PVC. It is typically 3-4 mil thick, and it comes in different colours, finishes, and textures. Vinyl wrap film comes with a specially formulated adhesive in the back, which allows the material to safely adhere to the surface, and take the shape of whatever it is applied to. Vinyl wrap is mostly used for the purpose of altering the look of your car. Due to an extensive variety of colours and finishes your options are pretty much limitless. Vinyl wrap can also be used for accent pieces, meaning only certain part of the car are wrapped. One of the most popular partial wraps is a chromedelte, when all chrome surfaces of the vehicle are wrapped in vinyl (usually black, however options are not limited).
Now when we gave you a little bit of background of what each film does, it is time to move on to the comparison itself.
PPF or Vinyl Wrap Purpose:
As mentioned previously, PPF and Vinyl Wraps serve slightly different purposes. PPF’s main purpose is to protect the paint of the vehicle from damage. Since the film is clear (although different coloured variations of PPF are entering the market now), it does not make your vehicle look different. It might make it slightly more shiny, however, you wont see any major differences in appearance. Because the film is designed to protect the surface, it is thicker than vinyl, in order to be able to actually protect the paint from impact.
Vinyl wraps, on the other hand, drastically change the look of your car. Transformations that can be achieved with vinyl wraps are incredible. You an go from white to black, add custom accents, cover chrome areas, or add custom graphics. The main purpose of vinyl wraps is to customize the appearance of your vehicle, so the film is designed with this goal in mind. For that reason it is thinner than PPF, and is slightly more flexible.
While PPF is still the best way to protect the car from exterior damage, Vinyl Wrap can also serve similar purpose. Although not as thick, it still covers the paint of your car, creating a slight barrier. Obviously, vinyl wraps will not protect the paint from a deep scratch or a scuff, but they will protect it from minor rock chips, bird droppings and negative effects of UV light.
To put it simply, PPF is perfect if you are looking for an extensive protection. It is perfect for an off-road or highway driving. However, if you are mostly driving in the city, vinyl wraps are able to provide a degree of protection as well.
PPF or Vinyl Wrap Packages:
PPF and Vinyl Wrap Films offer slightly different packages, based on areas to cover. Since PPF is transparent, there is no problem in partially covering the car. In fact, the most popular PPF package is a Full Front package, which covers only the front of the vehicle (bumper, hood, fenders, and mirrors).
Vinyl wrap , on the other hand, is typically applied to the whole vehicle, unless a client is looking for a custom design.
PPF jobs usually cost more than vinyl wrap jobs. You can expect to pay around $5000+ for a full PPF wrap on a sedan. Meanwhile, a full vinyl wrap will typically cost you around $3400 for a similar sized vehicle. It is due to the material cost, which is much higher for PPF, and installation process, which can be a bit more complicated. If you are looking to get a quote for your wrap job, get in touch and we will be able to help you!
PPF and Vinyl Wraps are installed differently. PPF uses wet installation, meaning the film needs to be wet in order to adhere to the surface of your car. Installers typically use a mix of soap and water, or an installation gel.
Vinyl wrap, on the other hand, installed dry. In fact, any water during installation process can make wrap job fail. The film does not stick to wet surfaces at all.
Another major difference between the two is how the material is cut. PPF films typically use special cutting software, which comes with a variety of patterns that fit each part of the vehicle. PPF is cut by a plotter, specifically to fit the part it is being applied to.
Vinyl Wraps are cut by hand. Installers normally cut a piece big enough to cover required area, and then trim it once the material is installed.
It is important to make sure your paint is in good condition prior to installing any type of wrap on your car. Since PPF is clear, it will show any paint imperfections that your car might have. We always recommend to get paint correction, if the paint is in bad condition. The ideal time to apply PPF is when the car was just picked up from the dealership. That way you can ensure you are protecting the paint which has not yet been damaged. Applying PPF after the car has been driven for some time will not give you the same results. It will protect the car from future damage, however it will not mask any damage that was previously done.
Vinyl wraps are a bit more forgiving. Since Vinyl Film is not transparent, it will hide any visual imperfections. However, if your car has rock chips or is missing paint, it will show through the film. Any textured imperfections will be noticeable through the vinyl.
Both, PPF and Vinyl Wrap Films, when installed properly, will last for a while.
Typically, when cared for properly, Paint Protection Films will last for about 10 years.
Vinyl wraps, if cared for properly, will last for about 5 years.
Both films, if they come from reputable manufacturer, will not damage your paint if its original condition was good.
Things To Keep In Mind:
There are several things you should keep in mind when making your decision on which film to go with.
Although PPF is transparent, overtime you might notice the edges of wrap are beginning to show more. PPF is typically not wrapped around the edge of the panel, so overtime the cut line might start to accumulate dirt and become slightly more visible. It is especially noticeable on partial PPF wraps, like partial hood for example.
In terms of Vinyl Wraps, you should always keep in mind that the original colour of paint might show through in the gaps between panels in some instances. Black Cars are usually the easiest ones to wrap, and this difference is not noticeable. However, if your car is going from white to black, you might still see some white peeking through the gaps. It happens because some areas between panels are simply not reachable, and there is no way to wrap them. We do, however, cover as much of the original colour in gaps as possible. We always aim to create a paint looking finish.
Conclusion: PPF or Vinyl Wrap?
In short, there is no way of saying which film is best. Both are great and are serving slightly different purposes.
If you are looking to change the look of your vehicle, and slightly protect it while driving in the city, Vinyl Wrap is your choice! It adds some level of protection, and allows you to save a couple extra thousands of dollars.
If you do need that full protection against pretty much anything the road can throw at you, and you do have the budget, – PPF is your choice! It is best to apply PPF on your car as soon as you pick it up from the dealership. That way you can ensure the original condition of your paint remains pristine for years to come!