The first step to qualifying a wall graphic media is to analyze and identify the surface. This video doesn’t select specific media for you. I want to give you some tips on how to properly test a wall for media compatibility.

Since interior paints are available in many finishes, brands and bases, and these combinations of gloss levels, oils or latex and different brands are almost impossible to physically detect, it is very important to perform this simple compatibility test before starting your project.

Media Compatibility Testing

Be sure to clean your test area. Conditions should be typical of your planned installation. To start, hinge the sample along the top. Then, peel back about half of the liner. This helps you stay in control of the vinyl making wrinkles and stretching less likely.

Then, apply the sample completely. The reason I am taking such care with this simple application is that any stretch in the vinyl could give skewed test results.

If you have many media options, repeat the same steps with these additional samples. Likewise, use the same image and printer on all of your samples so that your test data is accurate. Be sure all to firmly apply all samples, free of tension.

Testing the Samples

Label your samples clearly for future reference and use the same image and printer on all samples so that your test data is accurate. Allow the adhesives to set for a minimum of 24 hours.

In this case, after 24 hours we can see that sample #1 is down very tight. Sample #2 has lifted in the corners and along the edges. Also, bubbles have formed here and the bottom edge has lifted a little.

On both samples the vinyl did not shrink. Shrinkage is detected by severe edge roll or an outline of adhesive around the edge of the graphics.

Clearly sample #1 will be our media of choice. There is no bubbling, all of the edges are down, and there is no shrinkage.

Remove about half of the sample carefully to see if the adhesive has made a chemical bond with the paint. If it has and large amounts of paint come off, this means that the paint was not properly cured. Now, cut this piece away completely.

Then, we will test the adhesion level of the paint to the wall by snapping the vinyl off the wall. The test we are doing now demonstrates that after 1-2 years, this media can be removed from this painted surface without extensive damage to the wall. In this case, the small amount of paint that came off the wall is an acceptable result.

Conducting a test like this takes a little time and patience from both you and your customer. However, finding a compatible product for your wall wrap is worth it!

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Ritchie Daize

Ritchie got his start 23 years ago working at a small sign shop weeding cut vinyl and building signs. When the shop got a contract for a large fleet, Ritchie became the lead applicator for the project. Soon after, he opened his own graphics installation company called RD Installations. Ritchie became a leading expert in wrap application and fleet graphics. In 2008, Ritchie sold RD Installations and began working for Arlon.

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Ritchie Daize

Ritchie got his start 23 years ago working at a small sign shop weeding cut vinyl and building signs. When the shop got a contract for a large fleet, Ritchie became the lead applicator for the project. Soon after, he opened his own graphics installation company called RD Installations. Ritchie became a leading expert in wrap application and fleet graphics. In 2008, Ritchie sold RD Installations and began working for Arlon.

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