Sign & Digital Graphics


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32 • WRAPS • 2 0 1 9 Installing a Wall Graphic Five pitfalls to avoid during installation BY MO L LY WAT E R S H ow hard can it be to install a wall graphic?" It's a question that has probably crossed the mind of more than a few graphic installers. After all, compared to wrapping a vehicle or another contoured surface, a mostly flat wall hardly seems intimidating. Don't get too comfortable, though. With every application comes different considerations that can significantly impact how long a graphic will last and how good the final product looks. Conformability may not be your problem, but improper adhe- sion, edge lift or misalignment could be. Proper technique is essential to ensure a result that you and your customer can get behind. If you know how to avoid com- mon pitfalls along the way, you will maximize your chances of getting your next wall job done right the first time. Here is where to start. DON'T ASSUME EVERY WALL IS THE SAME. The composition and condition of a wall make a difference re- garding the ideal graphic media for your application. For in- stance, if you are applying to a rough surface like brick, concrete or stucco, you may need a special film product like MPI 1405 Easy Apply RS, designed to adhere to textured wall surfaces in- doors and outdoors. You also may need to make repairs to the wall surface to fill any holes or nicks that could compromise the look of your graphic installation. Know what sort of wall surface you are working with, and be sure it is as smooth as possible before beginning your application. RESEARCH WALL COATINGS BEFORE INSTALLATION. The coating of a wall can significantly affect the ability of vinyl film to adhere to it. Flat or matte paints, for example, are more difficult for adhesives to stick to than semi-gloss or gloss paints. Low- or no-VOC paints are also notoriously difficult to work with, as are "easy clean" coatings and paints with migratory agents like chlorinated wax or silicone. Walls coated with these paints will require a more aggressive adhesive than others. Be sure you find out when surfaces were last painted and how long their coating needs to fully cure before attempting any graphic installation. CONSIDER YOUR ENVIRONMENT. Think about how the environment around your wall graphic might affect its lifetime performance. Will it be exposed to UV rays? Will there be humidity or other moisture ex- posure? Will there likely be chemical expo- sure or abrasion? All these factors can affect a graphic's longevity and should be accounted for when selecting films and adhesives, as well as overlaminates in certain applications. Regardless of product choice, before you in- stall your graphic, always apply test strips to ensure your graphic media performs as ex- pected. NEVER SKIP STEPS WHEN IT COMES TO PREP. Once a wall is deemed fit for adhesion, it should be cleaned. Wipe down walls with a 70/30 mix of isopropyl alcohol and water Molly Waters is the Senior Regional Technical Specialist for Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, North America. Molly has more than 22 years of industry experience and offers technical assistance to customers. She can be reached at '' Add dimension with a dynamic design for hotels, commercial spaces, retail areas, exhibi- tions and more with Avery Dennison's MPI 2600 Series Wall Film in the Crushed Stone texture. The thick film makes it easy to apply with excellent opacity, ensuring the underly- ing wall is complete concealed.

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