What adhesive vinyl should you use for your next project?
Are you overwhelmed by the many different types and varieties of vinyl? Are you not sure which vinyl to use on a wall murals, floor graphics, car wraps, boat wraps, storefront graphics etc.? Then, this is the post for you! Learn all about the different types of vinyl, and find out what you need. This post contains affiliate links, which help to support this site at no extra cost to you.
I absolutely love working with vinyl, but I completely understand that it can be really overwhelming and difficult when you just don't know what vinyl to use for that application.
Years ago, when I was just starting to figure this whole choosing vinyl per application thing out, After consulting with industry leaders like 3M , Avery Dennison , and Catalina Graphics we were able to gather the information we needed to properly choose vinyl due to the application.
Cast Vinyl vs. Calendered Vinyl
There are two basic types of vinyl – Cast Vinyl and Calendered Vinyl. Within each of those two larger categories, there are different types of elasticity, glues, and finishes. which I will talk more about in a bit.
But first a little general knowledge: Adhesive vinyl is a thin flexible material with a pressure-sensitive adhesive that can be printed, cut, or printed and cut into any design and applied to all kinds of smooth, hard surfaces. Most adhesive vinyls be it Cast Vinyl or Calendered Vinyl come in 54" wide rolls, but some are available in 60" rolls.
Not 1, not 2, but 3 different types of vinyl were used on this Retail Storefront Graphics project.
Now that you know what the two basic categories of vinyl are, it is time to choose one for your current project.
Lets start with a couple of simple questions you need to ask yourself.
Step1: Is product permanent, temporary, or throw away?
Lets start with the first and easiest step. Figure out if your product need to be a long term permanent item, or a temporary removable one. Perhaps it is even a weekend event that will throw away the product after it's temporary use. Once you have the answer to this question you can decide weather you need a vinyl that has a permanent adhesive or a temporary removable adhesive.
Step2: What surface am I adhering to?
Within temporary and permanent adhesives there are sub categories of glues. Glass, wood, metal, acrylic, brick, concrete, asphalt, even low energy plastics all have a specific adhesion points. So the importance of this step is crucial to the longevity and the final finish of the product.
Once you have determined the surface that you are sticking the vinyl to contact your supplier or local material rep. and discuss options on what the best possible solution could be.
Step3: Gloss, Matte, Luster, Textured?
The final finish of the vinyl could make or break the project. Should you go gloss, matte, luster, or textured?
Take into considerations multiple things such as lighting, viewing distance, and surface direction. Indoor prints tend to look better matte or luster because the do not reflect light and avoid hot spots. A gloss finish is great on fleets and vehicles because gloss finishes tend to make colors pop and increase visibility at a distance. Textured finishes are crucial for floor graphics, it is the one component that prevents the graphic from becoming slippery for customers to walk over.
So What Vinyl Should You Use?
The sticky kind!