Vinyl stickers and decals are fast becoming popular decorations for walls, windows, and other flat surfaces. However, these stickers can only be used on clean, smooth, and non-porous surfaces. If you try to place them on other surfaces, they will fall off in no time.
Some substrates are not suited for vinyl application, such as bricks or concrete, both of which are too rough and porous. Leather is not a good substrate either because it tends to absorb the adhesive. Other surfaces, such as raw metals or painted surfaces that are oxidized, peeling, or faded, cannot provide a good bond for vinyl film.
Here’s a look at other popular surfaces and the way they react to vinyl:
- Glass – Glass surfaces are vinyl-friendly, but they could cause some bubbling due to a phenomenon known as outgassing. Outgassing is the release of a substance such as vapor or gas that was trapped or absorbed in the material.
- Plastics – Some types of plastic can be a vinyl-friendly substrate. Polycarbonate plastic is commonly used in automobile components, lighting fixtures, and in some types of windows. It contains water that will create bubbles in the vinyl film. Polymethyl methacrylate, or PMMA, is a shatterproof replacement for glass that is vinyl-friendly. Like glass and polycarbonates, however, it could lead to bubbling. Polyvinylchloride or PVC often works for vinyl, but note that it can be stickier than desired. This makes it difficult for the vinyl film to be removed later without causing damages.
- Wood – Vinyl can be attached to wood only if it is coated with good quality paint that attracts the adhesion. If the wood is not painted or varnished, its adhesion value will be lowered.
- Rubber – Vinyl film can be attached to rubber, but it will not hold well over time.
- Stainless steel – Vinyl will leave dull spots on a stainless surface. This is due to the interaction between the metalized layer of the vinyl film and the stainless steel substrate.
Vinyl film decals and stickers are useful and attractive. Just make sure you apply them carefully to the proper substrates for long-lasting results.