The most common mistake made by some vinyl application experts is ignoring the need to adequately prepare the surface of a substrate. Whether you are installing the vinyl on glass, painted wall or any other surface it is vital to clean the substrate thoroughly. Irrespective of the method of installation, a dirty substrate surface will lead to a poorly installed vinyl because it will hinder the performance of the adhesive.
Although cleaning the surface may seem like a recognizable part of the vinyl installation process, a good number of installers skip this important step. It is because of this reason that a good number of vinyl installations fail or look poorly done. Here is how to prepare the surface:
Choose the right cleaning solution
Experts recommend the use of isopropyl alcohol for cleaning surfaces and wiping the area with a clean lint-free cloth. Ammonia-based cleaners that are used by some people tend to leave a residue on glass surfaces and can affect the performance of the adhesive.
Before installing vinyl on glass, it is important to prepare the glass surface by spraying the area with an alcohol-based glass cleaner. You can also clean the glass surface using fine steel wool. Doing this removes the topical contaminants that would hinder the performance of the adhesive. Once you have wiped the surface with fine steel wool, spray the surface with glass cleaner and wipe with a clean towel or lint-free piece of cloth. You can now go on with the application process.
Polythene surfaces (plastic)
For plastic surfaces, you need to wipe the entire surface using isopropyl alcohol. If the surface has a protective covering, it is essential for you to remove the covering and wait for at least 48 hours for the resins to evaporate and disintegrate. This is an important step to observe because if you ignore you may have bubbles forming in your lettering and will damage your final work.
Painted surfaces (walls and automotive)
To apply vinyl on automotive painted surfaces, you need to use alcohol or mild solvent to clean and remove wax and other road debris that may be on the surface. The next step is to spray glass cleaner over the surface and then wipe using a clean piece of cloth. For interior painted walls, you must clean the surface with a mild soapy solution or use a cleaning solution recommended by a paint manufacturer.
Wiping down the surface
You can use domestic paper towels to wipe down the surface or use a clean lint free piece of cloth. However, experts warn against the use of pieces of clothes because they can accumulate contaminants that may stick to the surface.
For a proper and professional vinyl installation, surface preparation is vital. Do not start the installation process without thoroughly cleaning the surface using the above methods.