Thursday, 24 April 2014

How to Protect Vinyl Graphics

Vinyl graphics are stick-on designs and shapes that personalize a surface with sports logos, saying or designs. These decals are easy to install, remove and wash. However, like any other graphic, they require regular maintenance to look brand new. If you fail to take good care of your decals they will chip, peel, and fall off eventually.

The first, and also the most important thing to keep the graphics going is to install them properly. Make sure the surface is completely clean. Even if the area looks uncontaminated it may still have tiny pieces of debris or dust on it, so always wipe and clean the surface properly first.

Cleaning the Graphic
  • Use a soft cloth or a rag to wipe the vinyl graphic. Get rid of any loose dirt or dust.
  • Use a plastic scraper or a plastic tool to press the flaking graphic down. Lift up the peeling portion with the help of tweezers – and try to pull it upward – in case it contains no adhesive.
  • Spray water using a low-pressure water hose on your graphics. Never use a power sprayer or a pressure washer. These tools tend to damage the graphics.
  • Apply a glass cleaner with the help of a paper towel or a cloth for stubborn areas. In case, the graphic does not clean with glass cleaner, rubbing small amounts of alcohol with a paper towel or cotton swab is beneficial. Also, in case you use alcohol or a chemical cleaner make sure you clean the area with soapy water again to get rid of the chemicals.
  • Edges can also be cleaned by rubbing on a glass cleaner or alcohol. Use moderate pressure round the edges, and change the cotton when dirt becomes noticeable. Finish the job by washing the whole area with the help of soapy water.
  • Wash out all soap from the application area and decal with clear water using a sponge, or a hose.
  • Make sure the whole area is thoroughly dry by dabbing it with a dry paper towel or cloth.
  • In case the decals are exposed to severe conditions, ask the sign maker about sealer application. Edge sealer helps in preventing moisture and dirt from penetrating, which can cause adhesive failure. Sealer can be added to existing and new installations.
  • Slight application of natural wax (non-oil-based) on to the surface of the decal can act as an added protective measure. Make sure to remove bits of wax from the seams and edges with dry cotton after application.
  • Do not use aggressive or abrasive applicators or cleaners on the vinyl surfaces. Abrasion of the surface can cause the vinyl to deteriorate faster, and ultimately fail.
  • Never attempt to fill or repair cracks or chips in vinyl, as unprofessional repair or handling materials will damage the graphic further. It is best to get in touch with a local sign shop or the installer for advice.
  • Users are advised not to use strong chemicals on the vinyl to increase its life span.

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