Vinyl 101

Why learn about vinyl?!

Ok, so this may be more that you ever wanted to know about vinyl – so just in case you’re not interested:

tl;dr – Cheap vinyl is more expensive that it seems in the long run. Buy a quality wrap and avoid costly failures down the road – If you can’t afford to do it right you definitely can’t afford to do it twice!

Still with us? Ok, so here’s the basics – Vinyl comes in two basic categories: Cast and Calendered. Cast vinyl starts life as a liquid mix of pigments, PVC resin, plasticizers, solvents, and a few other additives. It is then poured onto casting paper and them bakes, which evaporates the solvents and bonds the parts together. Since the liquid was poured on the casing paper and not stretched during manufacturing, there is very little shrinkage compared to calendared vinyl. It also tends to be much thinner and conformable, which makes it ideal for vehicle wraps.

Calendared vinyl on the other hand starts off as a mix of pigments, PVC resin, plasticizers and a few other additives. The main difference is that without the solvents, calendared vinyl starts off as a solid similar to pizza dough. It is then sent through a series of rollers which flatten it out into its final thickness. However, during this process, the material is stretched and shrinks substantially more than cast films. Calendared vinyl is not necessarily “bad” or “cheap”, but it should only be used where appropriate (such as signs). It is NOT appropriate for full vehicle wraps.

Now that we have the basics down, and without getting into a chemistry lesson, it is important to note that there are several other characteristics of vinyl that determine its suitability for use in wrap applications. To make it simple, like most products, the leading manufacturers produce the best vinyl. There are other brands who manufacture wrapping cast vinyl, but at Inland Wraps we exclusively use 3M and Avery Dennison premium wrapping cast films for our wraps. Why? Because anyone can have a wrap that looks good the day you pick it up – we want out wraps to look good years from now. Additionally, when the time comes to remove your wrap you’ll appreciate the quality of the material that doesn’t leave your vehicle a sticky mess!