Surface Preparation

Surface preparation for vinyl lettering and full color printed decals.

It is critical to prepare a surface no matter what it is- metal, wood, plastic, glass, aluminum, painted substrates, etc-if you are using self-adhesive vinyl lettering, you will need to prep the surface. Don’t ever assume a surface is clean; even freshly painted surfaces need prep. When there is a new car or truck right out of the showroom you would assume it was clean… but NO there is probably wax and/or rain-x, a product to help shed water from glass (widely used on glass on all vehicles) and metal that will need to be removed.

Vinyl letters and graphics will adhere to most painted wood, painted metal, glass, fiberglass and plastic surfaces. The surface must be smooth. Painted surfaces must be completely cured before applying vinyl. Surfaces painted with oil based enamels work best. Latex can work, however we don’t recommend it. Some latex paints simply do not work; letters will fall off just days after installation. If you do use latex paint, use a semi gloss or egg shell for interior installations for best results. For the best application on a painted surface use enamel based paint. Vinyl letters will not adhere to rough surfaces such as raw wood, chipped/peeling paint, cloth, rubber, or canvas.

Preparing Surfaces for vinyl letter installation.

1. Always assume surface is dirty.
2. Clean surface with mild detergent using paper or cloth towels , 409, Windex or something similar.
3. For the final cleaning, use denatured alcohol or equivalent, it will completely clean the surface and evaporate rapidly, leaving a perfect surface for vinyl letter installation and decals.

Freshly painted surfaces need time to cure completely before applying self-adhesive vinyl. Enamel based paint should cure for 7 days so that it is completely dry; applying too soon can cause the letters to become unstuck and fall off. ( the curing process)

Note: Denatured alcohol will remove wax.