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Before You Begin Installation
Installing our vinyl decals can be challenging, which is why we highly recommend that you read this installation support guide and watch our installation video's prior to installing your new decals. If you have someone that can assist you, an extra set of hands can be very helpful for large decal installations.
Vinyl Decal Construction
Our decals are constructed in three layers: (1) the release liner, (2) the vinyl material, and (3) the premask.
The release liner is a white (or blue if you ordered white vinyl) silicone-coated paper that protects the adhesive side of the vinyl material during production, shipping, and installation. This liner will be removed, either in whole or in part, during the installation and discarded.
The vinyl material is sandwiched between the release liner and premask and has a specially formulated clear, solvent-based adhesive coated on the back of the material – in other words, your actual decal.
The premask is a clear vinyl material with a medium-tack adhesive coating designed to adhere to the vinyl material and keep the design together in one piece during installation. Once the decal is installed (and you have allowed enough dry time if you used the wet method) you will remove and discard the premask.
It is important that you understand the environmental factors that can effect the decals during installation. This includes the installation location, air temperature, substrate temperature, humidity level, wind, and substrate cleanliness.
Although we recommend installing your decals in an enclosed environment, such as a garage, we understand that's not always feasible. If you are performing the installation outside, you want to choose a location that is out of direct sunlight and free from airborne contaminants (ie. under a tree that sheds leaves/cotton, or in the middle of a dirt field).
The ideal air temperature and substrate temperature is between 50°F and 90°F. Temperatures above 90°F will cause the adhesive to become incredibly tacky and can warp the premask, making installation difficult. Temperatures below 50°F will cause the adhesive to loose its adhesive properties, causing the decal to not adhere to the substrate.
The humidity level, combined with the air temperature, will determine the drying time for wet installation methods only (other installation methods are not effected by humidity). If the humidity is high, dry times will be longer.
We do not recommend installing your decals while it is windy. You will not only be exposing the adhesive side of the vinyl to the open air, but you will also be holding part of the decal with one hand and performing the installation with the other (unless you find someone to assist you).
The number one cause of decal failure is due to the substrate not being properly cleaned. Make sure you thoroughly clean the substrate with a non-residue, oil-free clear cleaner. We use ammonia-free glass cleaner to start. If there are stubborn spots, we will use a small amount of denatured alcohol (rubbing alcohol works too). Simply running your vehicle through a carwash is not sufficient. You will want to clean the substrate and the surrounding area by hand.
There are many ways to install vinyl decals, however we have three methods that we have tested and routinely use: the Wet Installation, Dry/Hinge Installation, and Free-Hand Installation. Determining which method to use will depend on your confidence/experience level, environmental conditions, and the substrate the decal will be installed on.
The wet installation typically takes the longest amount of time to complete, but provides you with the ability to reposition and reapply (to an extent) the decal during installation – making it perfect for beginners installing medium to large decals. We recommend using this method in temperatures between 70°F and warmer. The temperature, humidity, and amount of fluid that you use will determine the amount of dry time that is required.
The dry/hinge installation is the fastest method to install medium to large decals, but unlike the wet method, you only have one attempt to get it right. We recommend using this method in temperatures between 50°F and 90°F.
The free-hand installation is best suited for small decals (under 12") and involves peeling the release liner, and "eye-balling" the decal onto the substrate.