Vinyl Decal Label Application Notes & Instructions

When installing vinyl, it is important that you apply the product to an adequate surface, one to which it will readily adhere. The good news is vinyl will stick to many surfaces. In determining whether your intended surface is adequate, keep in mind that, as a general rule of thumb, vinyl will stick to almost any surface that is clean and either smooth or nonporous. To demonstrate the necessary surface qualities, we use glass versus brick as a quick example. Vinyl will stick very well to glass because of its smooth surface. On the other hand, due to its rough exterior, vinyl will not stick well to brick. The following lists contain a brief summary of acceptable surfaces along with some surfaces that are not.

Acceptable surfaces

Glass; metals; vinyl; plastic; fiberglass; wood painted with a smooth, glossy enamel; other painted surfaces

Not recommended surfaces

Cement; raw timber; oxidized or faded paint; peeling paint; rubber; raw metals; oily surfaces

These lists are not comprehensive and there are other acceptable and unacceptable substrates than those listed above. Again, when in doubt, apply the rule that states vinyl will generally adhere well to smooth, glossy and clean surfaces. Rough, dull, peeling, porous or dirty surfaces, on the other hand, will likely not produce an acceptable vinyl application.

Temperature Considerations

Surface temperatures must be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 32 degree Celsius) before attempting the installation. As a general rule, if the surface is hot to the touch it's over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Adhesive becomes brittle when it gets too cold and gummy when it gets too hot. Applications outside the recommended range of 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit reduce the adhesives' ability to perform.

Surface Preparation

All surfaces are contaminated to some degree. To ensure good adhesion to any vehicle surface it is critical that you follow these recommended procedures in decontaminating and preparing the surface prior to any vinyl product installation.

  1. Wash and rinse the area with liquid dish detergent and warm water. Then dry the surface with a clean, lint-free towel or cloth.
  2. Finish up the cleaning process by wiping down the entire area with Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol). To avoid recontamination during the final cleaning step, wipe the surface in just one direction, using a clean, lint-free towel or cloth.

Application Tips & Instructions

  • Do not apply in cold weather, adhesive may stick but will lift easily.
  • Do not apply in extreme heat, apply in the shade, vinyl will get very soft and stretch in extreme heat.
  • Do not apply to any oil or waxy surface.
  • Do not use alcohol to apply, it will destroy the adhesive.
  • Do not use Windex or other ammonia-based cleaners; the ammonia interferes with the adhesive.
  • Do not use an ice scraper on the decal, it may lift or break pieces off.
  • Do not touch the adhesive backing, oils from your skin will prevent sticking.
  • Do not apply wax over graphics, especially if the wax contains any petroleum distillates.
It is recommended to use poly-blend squeegee with a soft, smooth, felt edge to smooth the decal down against the surface, especially when applying the labels to rough powder coated surface. Move slowly along the length of the decal, rubbing in an up and down direction, and moving from one side to the other. When using squeegee / credit cards on decal, place squeegee / credit cards inside sock and then squeegee decal. This will prevent scratching the decal.

Label Removal

  1. Begin by heating one corner of the marking with a blow dryer, heat lamp, hot water or heat gun until hot to the touch.
  2. Pick up and lift that area you just heated (use a razor only on glass surfaces). Slowly begin pulling back the decal, at less than a 90 degree angle. Continue applying heat to the area just before the area that is being removed.
  3. Once you have removed the marking, check to make sure that all of the adhesive residue has been removed. Remaining residue may be removed by using Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol).
If you have any questions at all or need any help please contact us.