And how you can get a great vinyl wrap job
Vinyl wrap is an increasingly popular choice for color changes, custom vehicle graphics, and advertisements. Its popularity is due to its durability and the low cost of vinyl wrap compared to other media (like paint).
So, today we’re going to talk about what’s useful about vinyl wrap and how you can get a great installation experience.
The nuts and bolts of vinyl wrap
Vinyl wrap is an easily-colored polymer that clings to a surface, such as your car. It’s similar to the stickers you’d get on assignments when you did well in school, but when you have a good wrap, it doesn’t leave the sticky residue behind.
Vinyl wraps comes in all shapes and sizes; you can just as easily get a black matte vinyl wrap that hugs the curves of your muscle car as you can order hot pink highlights for your motorcycle. The beauty of vinyl is that it’s easy to select any style you want.
You can even choose vinyl that “shade shifts,” or changes color based on the viewing angle. Avery Dennison recently released a line of shade-shifting vinyl in hue combinations like red and gold, or silver and green.
Vinyl allows for more texture options as well; you’ll often see wraps in matte, gloss, satin, and chrome. Matte has a low shine for the best contouring vinyl has to offer, while gloss imitates a shiny new paint job. Gloss is halfway between matte and satin, but chrome is radically reflective and high-definition.
If you like eye catching designs and exciting graphics as opposed to full, single-color wraps, you can have a pre-made or custom design installed via vinyl wrap. It can easily display the most detailed graphics as long as your image is high resolution.
Vinyl wrap’s advantages
Vinyl wrap is much loved for the versatility described above. The ability to change the look of a car or even furniture with one quick installation is already a huge advantage. One or two vinyl wrap sheets later and your ugly, old white fridge can be a glistening steel or deep red hue.
Some of the most common concerns with vinyl are price, longevity, and damage control. As far as price is concerned, a good vinyl wrap job is far less expensive than an equivalent paint job. While most car wraps, for example, can be completed for a couple grand, a paint job on the same car could cost $10k and up.
But can vinyl wrap last as long as a paint job? Not quite – if it’s well cared for, vinyl wrap can last up to seven years or so. Paint, on the other hand, ought to last the life of the car (despite this not always being the case).
If you consider the cost to wrap your car twice over the course of 15 years, it still comes in at half – or less than half – the cost of a paint job.
Finally, good vinyl wrap will protect the underlying surface of whatever you want to wrap. Want your car’s paint to stay in good condition while you flash a metallic blue chrome vinyl around town? No problem – the vinyl will protect it from weather damage in the meantime.
And for marketing, wrapping vehicles makes good business sense; it’s a cost effective, highly visual strategy. We talk about that more here.
Getting the right vinyl
Once you’ve decided that a vinyl wrap is right for you, what’s the best way to get it done? The best option depends primarily on what you’re trying to wrap and why.
If you want to wrap your truck, or any other vehicle, you’ll need a highly durable wrap with great color options. The best vinyl wrap brands on the market right now are 3M vinyl wrap and Avery Dennison vinyl wrap (we carry both at Gatorwraps).
Once you choose a brand, you’ll need to choose a line of vinyl produced by that company; since new lines are coming out all the time, we’d recommend discussing your options with your installer.
One thing you don’t want to do is end up with a low-end vinyl wrap that causes corrosion, starts bubbling and peeling, or comes unstuck shortly after installation. To avoid these problems, it’s best to stick with well-known brands and a professional installer.
For smaller projects, you can get away with a self-install wrap kit, like the ones we make for Polaris RZR models. Decals that are pre-cut to fit your specifications are easier to install.
Ultimately, for the best installation experience, it’s best to contact your installer and discuss the options that will meet your needs.